We All Needed Moonlight

“It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.
One ever feels his two-ness, — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.” -W.E.B DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk

I left the theatre last Saturday in stunned silence after witnessing the cinematic masterpiece of Moonlight.

It’s a true work of art with a great storyline and dynamic plot, but what ultimately stood out to me was the main character, Chiron.

A fatherless child.

A gay man.

A black man.

A drug dealer.

The character of Chiron was multifaceted, complex, and relentlessly unique.

I couldn’t shake those unreconciled strivings and warring ideals he was composed of and I thought to myself, “how amazing is it that this is depicted on the big screen.” I couldn’t help but think about how incredible it was that someone with so many complex identities was presented in theaters around the world.

Then I thought: Chiron isn’t just a complex character — he is a person. He’s an actual human being with a real story, and his identities aren’t just ingredients of a memorable story plot, they are the ingredients of a real person.

We exist as multifaceted beings — complex and relentlessly unique with no “single-issue story” as the great Audre Lorde once said.

We are walking and talking contradictions, with interwoven identities that are often at war, and we live our lives imperfectly.

It was amazing this was shown on the big screen.

Scratch that.

It was NECESSARY that this was shown on the big screen.

Because Chiron’s character is a reflection of life.

We need more Chirons in films simply because we are Chiron.

Lost.

Complex.

Multi-faceted.

Diverse — with many warring ideals in one body trying to keep from being torn asunder.