The Oscar-award winning movie, Moonlight, recently won the award for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards by not only shining light on a black boy struggling to embrace his queer masculinity, but by proving that their lives can be portrayed in good storytelling films of substance, too. The film excelled at pulling your heart strings because it was done with a factual storyline – one that’s too real to be ignored.
Two shades of a black boy fueled to despise the makings of himself because of his hood … this statement will only be impactful if you don’t allow the literal connotation associated with the “hood” term to stand at the forefront; instead, define it by whatever stops you from identifying and accepting who you truly are – family, friends, societal views, or even your own mentality.
Growing up gay in America can be extremely tough for any kid, especially in the black community where school remains an everyday fashion show. If you decide to wear your clothes just a tad bit too tight, have a switch in your walk just a little too much or show just an ounce of femininity in your gestures, you’ve automatically subjected yourself to the hate, rejection, and gossip of your classmates just 15 seconds after the first bell rings. Pointing out an apparent flamboyant nature tends to be the usual rebuttal here, but even the shy boy who has never been seen with a girl receives the same amount of raised eyebrows and ridicule after a while.
Most young black gay boys are forced to put on to fit in so they can remain a part of the “cool crew” and save themselves from the unwanted torture. They are taught at a young age that being soft is not within the descriptions of being a man and being called a faggot is the number one phrase used to shun them for it. They understand that the idea of two women sexually indulging into each other is sought to be an enticing and sexy fantasy fulfilled, but the idea of them acting in appearing in the same fashion with another man is disgusting. This societal view serves as the tactic behind their decision between two roles – have the guts to be themselves or agree to jump the boy that does.
The internal shade of the man who decided to be himself and took the beatings of every shade and fashion while looking into the eyes of his abusers. He tries to escape, but never truly reaches freedom. He alienates himself from love and rebuilds himself to mimic the image in favor of what the world wants to see because he could never be accepted as simply himself.
**The African American community is one of the most judgmental communities there is when it comes to LGBTQ+. When it comes to our black men, no matter what orientation/identity they possess, we must be supportive of them embracing who they truly are because there is nothing worth celebrating more than loving yourself. You can’t stand for #BLACKLIVESMATTER if you have to take a minute to pick and choose which ones you want to stand for and protect. It’s going to take more than one movie, more than one protest, and more than one blog post, but it’s inevitable that we must start somewhere to stop the condemnation of our gay black men!