For my end-of-semester project in Black Fiction Now, I created a little website about the 2016 film Moonlight. I named it Moonlight In The Spotlight, and you can find it here.
Naturally, much of the site deals with race, not sexual orientation. But since I do spend a bit of time talking about how revolutionary it is for a film about the lifetime of a black gay man to win Best Picture at the Oscars, I wanted to include it as part of this month’s series of Pride posts. So that’s what I’ll be talking about today!
I still want to write a review of Moonlight one of these days (although who even knows when that will be, since I’m perpetually behind on my reviews), so I don’t want to go into a ton of detail about my feelings about the movie here. I’m mostly going to focus on the project itself!
My classmates and I were permitted to either write about a book/movie we studied and discussed in class, or come up with our own topic. I chose the latter and, in fact, approached the professor with my idea before the semester was even half over! I was just THAT excited to create some sort of project about this movie I love so much.
As I wrote on one of the website’s pages, this project combined all three of my majors: English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women’s, & Sexuality Studies. (Oh right, I don’t think I ever mentioned that I added another major? I should probably talk more about that some other time.)
I love love love Moonlight and was thrilled when it won Best Picture, but at the same time I was and still am incredibly frustrated by the overall response of the media to the film’s big win. Coverage of Moonlight at the Oscars invariably featured La La Land just as as much, if not even more than, the film that actually won that night.
So, yeah. Basically this project consists of academic ranting. (I literally apologize for it on one of the final pages of the website!) There are pages introducing the project, describing why Moonlight matters, enumerating Moonlight‘s firsts at the Oscars, and rebutting the racist and homophobic ideas expressed in the coverage (and even criticism) the film received.
I’m happy for Moonlight because A) it is a truly stunning movie and B) there are still very few mainstream movies featuring either black or gay protagonists.
However, I’m deeply disappointed that so many people prioritized La La Land – a movie about straight white people that follows the same old boy-meets-girl plot we’ve all seen 470,000 times – over a movie that necessitated far more bravery and perseverance to make.
I hope you poke around my website and like what you see! I’d love it if you gave me feedback, too, if you’re feeling up to it – although it would probably be easiest if you did that in the comments of this post and not on the site itself, since it’s tied to a different WordPress account and I’d have to juggle two different log-ins. (I can be very lazy, didn’t you know?) Thank you!