Moonlight won Best Picture at last year’s Oscar Awards. The moment was outshined by a snafu when it was mistakenly announced that La La Land had won in the category. After moments of confusion and uproar, those who worked on the film were unable to revel at the moment on stage. Director Barry Jenkins did not have time to deliver the speech he had prepared in the hope of winning the accolade.
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.”
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.