At the 2017 Oscars, Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney gave an acceptance speech that spoke to all of the marginalized people whose stories they told through their movie Moonlight, in its depiction of Chiron, a young gay black boy growing up in the Miami projects. The pair won a well-deserved award for best original screenplay, and in doing so they showed the world that the stories of people of color and LGBTQ individuals must be told, and told thoughtfully and passionately and on an international stage.
After thanking his family and his peers, Jenkins told the audience:
During these forthcoming four years of Trump, in a political climate that may leave people of color or LGBTQ people feeling disenfranchised, attacked, or unseen, Jenkins used his moment on stage to help those people feel supported, feel less alone. The creation of Moonlight was a crucial moment of visibility for so many, and Jenkins speech continued to shine a light on those people whose existences are so rarely affirmed and recognized.
For his part, McCraney echoed the sentiment.
So often, an Oscars ceremony goes by without any people of color being rewarded for their extraordinary efforts and contributions. This year's ceremony was not perfect in its representation, but the celebration of Moonlight, and the words of its creators, hopefully provided some solace to those whose lives feel imperiled by our current administration.
We need more movies like Moonlight, more creators like the team behind it, more recognition for those creators, and more speeches that make those afraid for their livelihood right now feel less alone.