As a keynote speaker at this year’s South by Southwest, Jenkins got the opportunity to share the speech he had written. According to Deadline, during his talk, Jenkins shared stories of his upbringing that helped develop him into a filmmaker. A decade ago, Jenkins premiered his first feature film Medicine for Melancholy at SXSW. The moment of “the birth of Barry Jenkins, the filmmaker” came full circle, and the acclaimed director also decided to share what he was unable to when he won an Oscar.
“Tarell and I are Chiron. We are that boy. And when you watch Moonlight, you don’t assume a boy who grew up how and where we did would grow up and make a piece of art that wins an Academy Award — certainly don’t think he would grow up to win Best Picture. I’ve said that a lot and what I’ve had to admit is that I placed those limitations on myself. I denied myself that dream — not you, not anyone else — me. And so, to anyone watching this who sees themselves in us, let this be a symbol, a reflection that leads you to love yourself. Because doing so may be the difference between dreaming at all and somehow, through the Academy’s grace, realizing dreams you never allowed yourself to have.”