A storyteller’s life is fueled by imagination wrapped in the realities of the human experience and then sharing their re-imaginings with the world.

The 89th Academy Awards helped share the essence of that Sunday night as we saw real stories filled with truth and emotion grace the screens. Fending off a year that stampeded Hollywood with #OscarsSoWhite, an attack on the academy’s lack of diversity, this year’s Oscars turned the tables and highlighted the brilliance of films Moonlight, Fences and Hidden Figures.  History was made in several ways but there were also a few “wow” moments that we still don’t understand.

Below, we highlight a few ear-grabbing quotes and heart hitting reactions from the night:

Janelle Monae, from left, Katherine Johnson, Taraji P. Henson, and Octavia Spencer
Janelle Monae, from left, Katherine Johnson, Taraji P. Henson, and Octavia Spencer

Performance by actor in supporting role Male: Mahershala Ali for Moonlight

This marked Ali’s first nomination and win! The actor also made history as the first Muslim to win an Oscar. He was nearly in tears when he stepped up to receive his well-deserved honor.

“My grandma would want me to button up.” Teachers, professors, one thing that they consistently told me is that “It’s not about you. It’s about these characters. You’re in service to these stories and characters.”

Performance by actor in supporting role Female: Viola Davis for Fences 

“There’s one place where all the people with the greatest people gather – and that’s the graveyard. I want to exhume the stories of the people who dreamed. Big. And never saw those dreams come to fruition. People who fell in love. And lost. I became an artist (and thank God I did) because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.”


Best Adapted Screenplay – Tarell McCraney and Barry Jenkins for Moonlight  based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue 

This marked the first nomination and win for the duo!

“Be in love with the process, not the results.” – Barry Jenkins

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We still do not understand how Denzel Washington lost “Best Actor” to Casey Affleck.

It was a sure surprise that once again the brilliance of Denzel Washington went without a trophy for his adaptation, direction and lead acting in the award-winning screenplay Fences, from the August Wilson play of the same name.  Washington was snubbed and the Oscar went to actor Casey Affleck for Manchester By The Sea. Spike Lee, who directed the legendary star in Malcolm X, where he was also snubbed of an Oscar, couldn’t let that pass without expressing his true feelings about the scenario.

Speak Spike!

The result left “Uncle Denzel” in tears. And we totally understand, we shed a few as well.

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The most notable moment of the night came during the announcement of the Best Picture. 

TrevanteRhodes Oscar








But in the end… Moonlight won it baby!

As we watched and celebrated alongside Mahershala, Viola and the entire cast of Moonlight, a line from Chicago artist, theMIND’s  album Summercamp, was on mental replay:  “we’re bigger than they told us we were.”

Indeed. #boom Repost @ivonnah

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