Moonlight: The Mask of Masculinity

Trevante Rhodes

I finally did it…

I finally saw Moonlight!


The independent film written and directed by Barry Jenkins is an outstanding story that takes viewers through three stages of a young black man’s life while growing up poor in Miami. You may be surprised to know that Moonlight was produced by Brad Pitt. The film also features the gorgeous Janelle Monáe as Teresa and Mahershala Ali as Juan. You may recognize Mahershala Ali from House of Cards and Luke Cage.

Moonlight is broken up into three parts…

We are first introduced to the main character, Chiron, during his childhood where he is known by the name “Little” by his peers. In the second part of the film, we are taken through Chiron’s teenage years. In part three, Chiron is known by the name “Black” and we are able to fully see how his childhood shaped him as a man.


Chiron, played by Trevante Rhodes (as an adult), struggles with issues relating to family, friends, and sexuality through his journey of self discovery. This film is a huge step forward in progressing the social climate of ideas relating to sexuality and masculinity–especially in black culture.

Photo taken as I was leaving Charles Theater in Baltimore, MD

When I first walked into the theater, I was surprised to see how diverse the audience was. The crowd was filled with older Caucasian couples who seemed to really enjoy the film…judging from the sound of applause that filled the theater during the end credits. I absolutely LOVE the fact that this story is reaching people from all walks of life.

The idea of masculinity is so fragile and this film does a great job at painting the picture of what so many young men experience in trying to live up to the rigid concept of what it means to be a man. Just as Chiron discovered, I also found out from a young age that I didn’t completely fit into the mold of masculinity. It almost felt like some sort of secret boys club that I was never invited into.

As a young gay boy, if you don’t fit into a certain “mold” then you can always rely on a peer or even a parent to remind you that being you may not be good enough for the shallow social standards that have already been set as being “acceptable.” Like Black (Chiron as an adult), so many men adapt and learn to put on a “mask” of masculinity that almost acts as a piece of armor protecting us for being ridiculed as a result of representing anything outside that narrow lane.

My Moonlight ticket

The story of Moonlight is such a realistic depiction of what many young men go through from childhood to

adulthood. Regardless of your sexuality, this is a film that anyone can relate to. Although there were many issues tackled throughout the film, Moonlight is ultimately a love story. We all love a good love story, right?

I went to Charles Theater in Baltimore to view the film, but be sure to check out the link below to view a list of theaters where you can check out Moonlight in a city near you.


Can we talk about how gorgeous Trevante Rhodes is!?

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