‘Moonlight’ Director Barry Jenkins Reveals Someone Called Him N-Word Right Before He Won His Oscar

speaks onstage during the 2018 Essence Festival presented by Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 6, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

‘Moonlight’ Director Barry Jenkins Reveals Someone Called Him N-Word Right Before He Won His Oscar

“If it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody.”

Published September 11, 2018

There are shocking new stories of racism against African-Americans hitting the web on a daily basis.

Most recently, Oscar-award winning director Barry Jenkins shared how what should have been one of the most memorable moments of his life was clouded by racism.

While premiering his new film If Beale Street Could Talk at the Toronto International Film Festival, Jenkins revealed how he was called the N-word by his driver while attending a party during the height of Moonlight's success. Vulture offered a full transcript of Jenkins' remarks.

"I come out and the valet person is just like, shocked. I’m like, “What’s up?” He’s goes, “Oh, you shouldn’t get in the car with that dude.” I’m like, “Why?” He goes, “Oh, because when I was out here before, he looked all agitated, and I said to him, ‘What’s wrong?’ He goes, ‘Oh, you know, nothing, I’m just sitting around here waiting around to pick up this n****r.’ And then he smiled and said, ‘Oh, and he’s probably going to get nominated for Best Director.’” Subtext: But he’s still just a n****r."

Not stopping there, Jenkins reflected on how similar experiences happen to other African-Americans despite their achievements. 

"And this is when I’m wearing a $5,000 suit. I’ve just come from the Governor Awards. So if it could happen to me with someone who’s driving me, a person in power, what the hell do you think happens to some dude working a shift at the factory? Or some dude walking to the bar?"

Despite the offensive remark, the Oscar Award-winning director remained inspired and hoped to encourage others to share their experiences.

" [he] literally said, “This dude is probably going to be nominated for Best Director.” And then he called me that s**t right before. So if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone and we’ve got to tell these damn stories."

Written by BET Staff

(Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)


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