Whiteness fears black creativity. Camilla Long’s ‘Moonlight’ review exposes that.
Josh
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Gaze. Prisms. Such a crucial discussion. Thanking you for using your pen as the pick to begin cracking ‘code’. ‘What’ we see is so infused with ‘how’ we see, based on our navigations thru social constructs. You offer a gate-keeping piece here. Beckoning more…and more…intersectionally sophisticated gate keepers as fierce critics from film to museum curation. The beauty of MOONLIGHT is that it pours out and past the aim of art: it transcends itself to haunt one’s every sense. I was and remain rearranged. As an absurdist woman of color, the awe I hold for Jenkin’s choices morphs into affirmation. As a fellow scribe, McCraney’s ‘telling’ is humbling. I stand in full agreement with and in further affirmation of your astute exploration of ‘gaze’ — with all of the consequences of myopic consciousness. Some may indeed “fear” non-normative creativity. Creativity is one issue. Excellence is another. Excellence defies expectation. How I dig having my mind blown. Some, nonetheless, choose — or maybe it is not even their conscious choice — to respond aghast, defensive, suspicious, or bitter.

Ever delicately, I continue, as I fear subjecting your piece to even an allusion of dismissiveness. Another’s dismissive, narrow viewing led to your valued critique. Your point counts too much and is not nearly made enough. Still, and in full reverence for what I champion reading here, MOONLIGHT is such a gift that it is practically insulated from those too biased to receive it. Even the opening of an Oscar envelope, in error, could not dim LIGHT. Those too mired in the abyss of ism ubiquity actually merit my compassion. Their loss runs too deep. At least in this particular instance which is the failure to grasp Jenkin’s masterpiece. I have been moved by art — for however we might qualify that unique touch from aesthetic pursuits. MOONLIGHT arrested me and I am far from alone. No one whom I know ‘saw’ it; we all ‘experienced’ it. C. Long cannot touch how I was touched. Just can’t. For all of Chiron’s abuses endured, he kept something precious. Architecturally, he protected his gay body behind the building of muscle. Existentially, he protected the memory of his most intimate ‘touch’ with a vulnerability so raw, it would remain too visceral in the hands of the average director — directors whom Long may be more comfortable ‘affirming’. But no, here, it is so. Is. And articulated flawlessly, filmed expertly, devastating an audience up for inspiration. Detractors? They demean only themselves as MOONLIGHT’s glow blinds them. Frankly, the higher compliment to MOONLIGHT is that the work is beyond them or their capacity. I will follow Chiron’s lead as it is a summation of my reception of this tour de force de fragility: “You’ re the only man that’s ever touched me…the only one. I haven’t really touched anyone since.”

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