Thursday, February 09, 2017

Moonlight and the need black men have for love

As the movie ended I realized I was unable to stand.  I didn't want to leave, but I couldn't move even if I had wanted to.  It was almost like I was afraid something would spill out of me if I tried to get up.  The last few moments of dialogue in Moonlight hit me very hard, it was personal.  When I was the same age as the character on that screen I was just as lost and lonely as he was.  I had struggled as long as he had with what to feel and who to tell I was feeling it.  No I'm not gay, and neither is Moonlight a 'gay' movie.  For me Moonlight displayed all of the hopelessness and loneliness I felt growing up as a young black man in America knowing nothing more than what white people said was reality.  Growing up in the ruins of other black peoples lives as if that was the normal.  Washed over by the broken dreams and bitter thoughts of the adults who didn't have the courage, or cruelty to tell their children that they were niggers living in a white man's world.  A white man who was a savage beast so cold that neither man, woman, or child was safe.  I can only imagine they wanted us to have what ever joy we could create out of our ignorance until it was our turn to die.

My mother died a few months after I was born and sometime later my father remarried.  My limited confused memories were not of domestic tranquility during that time and sure enough confirmation came in the form of a long ride from D.C. to Pittsburgh early one morning.  What does it mean when surviving childhood requires you to emotionally murder your father? Moonlight is not gay.  Moonlight is another black horror story.  A murder mystery where we all know who did it, but nobody wants to testify.  I have been accused of being gay.  Once while in high school I was not sufficiently lustful of the young women from our neighboring Catholic school and was challenged by a classmate.  Not only did I not really understand what he was asking me I didn't understand why I was supposed to hunt girls like rabbits.  I had no one to explain to me the male mentality of sexual conquest.  Later on after acquiring my first girlfriend I was given the only sex education I ever received from my aunt who raised me.  One night after coming home from my girlfriends house my aunt burst into my room and yelled at me that I better not get that girl pregnant.  Oddly enough with this being my only sex ed lesson, it was more than she told me about being black in Amerikkka.

I have tried to do better with my children, but I am also aware that I too have failed to tell the whole truth.  For my money Moonlight was the opportunity to see black men struggling with all of the complex feelings and desires of being human in a world that sees you as not much more than a piece of meat.  I would like to see more films where we don't have to be two dimensional cardboard cutouts waiting to exhale.

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