by Ibtasam Elmaliki
After the possibility of a sequel to the film Call Me By Your Name was announced in spring of 2018, a Tumblr post showing frustration for the lack of representation for Moonlight blew up. The viral post received over seventeen thousand reposts and likes and eventually reached other social media platforms. The creator of the post has kept a low profile on Twitter and is now able to laugh at how viral her post went and discuss briefly why she was so frustrated at the time.
The moment Call Me By Your Name was officially released in November 2017 it reached peak success. The all-white cast delivered a considerable performance of this love story, where the young main character, played by Timothée Chalamet, discovers the depth of his sexuality over the course of a summer in Italy.
The film’s aesthetic and soundtrack quickly won over viewers. The hype has yet to die down with fans still adorning their Twitter headers with “Elio.” The open atmosphere of the film celebrates this gay love story rather than demonizing it. After the film’s massive popularity, Chalamet has received offers for roles after roles in upcoming projects.
Conversely, Moonlight, the 2017 Academy Award winner for Best Picture, has arguably faced challenges gaining traction among domestic audiences. Moonlight is far from a mystical gay love story and takes on issues such as racism, homophobia, drug abuse, and identity.
The film follows a young black male, Chiron, during three different segments of his life. A life that consisted of a drug-addicted mother, his hometown community and trying to find self-acceptance with his own sexuality. Ashton Sanders, who plays the protagonist, delivers an emotionally captivating performance and Mahershala Ali won the 2017 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
So one only wonders why a film such as Moonlight, with such meaningful themes and a phenomenal cast, did not receive the same amount of hype to Call Me By Your Name, a film criticized for its casting and portrayal of the relationship of a young boy and a grown man.
What the popular Tumblr post brought attention to was the obvious, the all-black cast. Black LGBTQ films don’t get enough recognition and attention, something that needs to change.
The creator of the viral Tumblr post, a social science student and film lover, choose to remain anonymous. When realizing how much attention her post got she was stunned. “I was shocked that so many agreed with me. It was very overwhelming, I actually had to delete it, but obviously, people took screenshots,” she says. Although taken back by the immediate reactions she received she doesn’t regret posting it. “I’m just glad I got to give a voice to those who couldn’t speak up about it.”
As a black young female herself she stresses the importance of black representation in cinema for real everyday issues that occur. “I think a movie like moonlight deserves recognition because its a reality for so many black men. It’s a story that doesn’t get to tell as much. It only blows you when the main characters are Caucasian,” she says. “So to see a film like this with an all-black cast is really refreshing.”