Imagine living a life, a life trying to skew your personality in hopes to avoid becoming the bait— bait for homophobic folks to maltreat. Imagine searching for acceptance because folks like you aren’t deserving of such. Just, imagine. Imagine molding yourself in the likeness of those who’ve injured you because of your dissimilarities. Imagine fashioning yourself to embody the same sentiments that has forced you to loathe yourself. Just, imagine. Imagine neglecting your emotions because you associate feelings with femininity, and men shouldn’t feel because that’s feminine. Quit straining your mind, this is far too unfathomable to imagine. These experiences must be felt, they must be experienced, they can’t be imagined.
Moonlight is the first film to chronicle the experiences of Black queer men in the most accurate and plausible way. In the realm of cinema, we often see films where Black queer men are lucidly included to portray the jaded stereotypes that has been used to chain us. Moonlight is nothing like those films. Moonlight is about the horrors of being a Black queer man of the impoverished experience conforming to the jaded notions of toxic masculinity.
Growing up in a household with my beloved mother and sister, I wished for a Moonlight. Chiron’s tale is the reflection of countless muzzled Black queer men. So many of us falling on the intersection of Blackness and queerness endure the some horrid and unimaginable things. Most of us had to fight all throughout grade school because fighting was the only way to prevail, or to feel like we were prevailing. Some of us chased our tails, scavenging for enlightenment and a revelation. We sought after the reason as to why we were different and couldn’t tame ourselves. We were unaware of the fact that there is power in our experience and there is power in our existence.
Existing in spaces where hate permeates the atmosphere can cause one to conform or flee. Many of us queer men tend to conform, only because it’s unchallenging and grants physical security. Physical security is essential when you’re both Black and queer and are aware of the consequences. There’s no place for feminine and/or queer men in a patriarchal society. To society, we are the redheaded step children, not deserving of ample affection and admiration. Moonlight reminded us of our power and the power in sharing our stories. Moonlight has prompt us to unveil the ache and to heal and to love. On the wake of Moonlight’s deserving Oscar win, I just want to thank Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney and the cast of the film for this resilient and sincere motion picture.