For the first time since their surprise Best Picture win, Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney returned to Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood together yesterday. The “Moonlight” co-writers were in their hometown to celebrate the renaming of a local street to Moonlight Way, being greeted by hundreds to mark the occasion.
“There’s nothing special about me,” Jenkins told the crowd gathered in front of the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center. “I’m just an average brown boy from Liberty City who worked really hard. I hope it shows that you could do this, too.”
The two shared the Academy Award for co-writing “Moonlight,” whose Best Picture win was among the most shocking moments in Oscar history. “I can only echo Barry, as usual,” said McCraney. “I can only add that the only thing unique you can bring is you. If you bring your full self, it will be special.”
Though the two grew up within a few blocks of each other, they didn’t know each other as children. McCraney’s unproduced play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” served as the basis of the script they wrote together, which is set in Liberty City.