I have never had a cinematic experience like Moonlight.
People throw around the term “breathtaking” when they see a beautiful piece of art or an attractive man or woman, but there were certain moments in Moonlight where I literally had to remind myself to breathe.
Moonlight, and for so many other Black, queer men, is my story. It’s a beautifully told story for me and by people that look like me. I have seen it three more times since that first viewing, and while I knew it deserved all of the awards and recognition, I never thought they would give a Black + LGBT film the recognition is so rightfully deserved.
So imagine my surprise, and excitement, when Moonlight was announced to have won Best Picture at the Oscars, but even that was wrapped up in some white mess.
So if you’re glass-half-empty, like me, you’re thinking that this is not a mistake. This was an intentional ploy to take the focus off of the masterpiece that is Moonlight, and more about the “mix up.”
Am I being crazy or maybe overly sensitive? Maybe. But that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.
And now, from internet headlines to magazine covers, Moonlight is forced to share its moment with white mediocrity. I can almost guarantee you that if Nah Nah Land would have won, there would be no shared headlines and currently no joint magazine covers.
One of the minor facets of this white supremacist structure that we live in is whiteness having the undesirable need to center its self in EVERYTHING. There is not one arena where if whiteness is not automatically the nucleus, whiteness is somewhere screaming “What about us!?”
“Why don’t we have a white history month?” & “Why is there a Black Girls Rock and not a white girls rock?” are extensions of whiteness needing to center its self in every way possible. Because if they prove that they’re the default, and everything else is the “other,” and by extension, less than, it’s a subtle way to reinforce whiteness as the rule, the goal, the supreme.
This Oscars Mistake, whether intentional or not, has given whiteness the opportunity to seat its self at the center of a table that wasn’t set for them and have no business at in the first place.
Moonlight winning best picture, and for other numerous awards it has garnered, is a historic moment for Black and LGBT films. This, hopefully, will open the door for more content for marginalized stories that go untold. I can’t wait to see what other masterpieces Black, queer people get the opportunity to present on a bigger stage following this.
But until then, white people, please know that everything isn’t about you, everything isn’t for you, and that’s okay. You literally have everything else.