In Moonlight, Black Boys Look Blue

I’m not surprised AT ALL that Moonlight has taken the Oscars for Best Picture, and probably would have rioted in the streets had it not. But that’s not why I’m writing this. I’m writing this because after I saw Moonlight by myself one night, I went home and googled it, desperate to find the screenplay and find out what drove the writer to produce such an amazing work of moving poetry, how this unproduced script became such a masterpiece on the big screen, how the writer originally considered that only theatre would suit his work, only to see that the other elements available in film would go such a long way in bringing his words to life.

Then I read the screenplay in one sitting, eyes nearly swollen shut from the tears.

“At some point, you’ve got to decide for yourself who you’re gonna be. You can’t let nobody make that decision for you.”

The harsh beauty of inner city Miami, the heartbreaking reality of occupying such a violent place when you’re so vulnerable for just being yourself, the demonization of the other in which we all take part one way or another, sometimes by just being silent. Moonlight  broke me because it was so unrelentingly true. When I read the short blurb about the movie while deciding whether or not to watch it, I was afraid that it might be yet another exploitation of the  oppressed voices we choose to ignore. Instead, I felt like there was an exhale from my soul when the end credits started to roll.

For what is art, if not our protection? What good is it if not shelter us in its embrace? If not to introduce us to the world by saying “here, there is also this, and it is real and beautiful”?

I just wanted to say out loud that Moonlight was a heartbreaking, shattering, undeniable declaration of being, an ocean of real and undeniable existence and I feel lucky to have experienced it first hand.

“It’s probably under the moonlight that we see that black boys can be blue, can be sad and sullen and intimate,” he said. “It’s under starlight that we see them differently, or that we get the chance to.”

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