While sitting in the movie theater this past January, I watched as Moonlight began to borrow itself deep inside my heart. It clung to my lungs and wrapped around my rib cage. It crept into my brain stem and spread across my skull.
I was covered in it from head to toe. Unable to separate myself from it, we had become one. Suddenly and wholeheartedly.
After the commotion at the Oscars and Moonlight was finally given its well deserved title and prize, everything that I held inside burst through my tear ducts. It was as if every single marginalized person out there, the ones who were born with the words “I AM DIFFERENT” written on their forehead like a birthmark, were finally able to wipe away the permanent marker. The slate was wiped clean and they could finally write something else.
Because suddenly, through the shocked, ernest and tear stained faces of the Moonlight cast and crew, they, along with many baring witness, watched as the words that looked back at them in the mirror were clearly and miraculously, “YOU ARE SEEN”.
I’ve spent these 26 years of my life trying to understand what it means to have a white mother and a black father. What it means to be biracial. What it means to be black. And I have to say that it wasn’t until recently that I truly found myself able to embrace my blackness.
And maybe that’s because we don’t have to only be seen as victims of racism and police brutality or as images that take up space, or as bodies to be consumed, or darkness to be feared. Maybe it’s the mere fact that our stories are not only being told, but they’re being recognized as worthy and worthwhile.
It shouldn’t have to be said, but I’ll say it anyway. I’ll say it until my throat is raw and my voice is raspy.
We run just as fast as you (though some might argue). We laugh jus
t as loud as you (though some might argue). We smile just as bright as you. We love just as hard as you. Our burdens might not bear the same weight, but we matter just as much as you do.
I am part of the black community. Those are my people. You are my people. And I love every single one of you.
And if we’re getting technical here, I am not only just black, I am also a woman. But that’s a story for another day.