“Who is you, Chiron?”
Identity crisis – it’s a big thing in so many areas of life and sexuality is just one of those curiosities that takes a long time to figure out, to the point where it can take all three phases of childhood, youth, and manhood to figure out. That’s the case in this movie where really for the first time in a long time (maybe ever) a story that follows the self-discovery of a Black Queer man from childhood to adulthood in an honest manner is brought to light. Being that I am not a Black Queer man, at the end of the day, I’m still a Black man, and to see Black boys & men being portrayed in a light where no one’s getting shot, but it’s a space where you see them in their most vulnerable states, it allows Black men to be seen as human – not criminals, not thugs or super athletes and womanizers, but as human beings with real emotions and not as a monolith. I had a gay friend growing up, but I didn’t know what gay was (my mom did), but he was still my friend. I don’t know if he knew at that point when we were in elementary school, but he was different.
Chiron was different and he knew he was when he was a child. All it takes is someone to bring you to that point where you don’t have to be ashamed about it. The way how the movie, vividly through strength of cinematography more than dialogue, guided the audience through his tumultuous relationship with his mother, the brief presence of a father figure (especially how that affected his character), and the constant nightmare that haunted him through getting through to accepting his true self, while trying to mask it with overbearing masculinity that would make him appear normal to others. All he was searching for was a release and love. The 3 actors that portrayed Chiron were instrumental in bringing to life the thoughts, feelings, and actions of so many Black queers that finally have something tangible to attach themselves to. They are definitely lost in the shuffle when it comes to representation, and there isn’t enough portrayal of Black people in a light where it’s not destructive. More stories to let the rest of the world know that within our struggles, there are still similar human issues that we encounter, but are ignored for more glamorous and sensationalized visuals. That’s not us.
The words that truly matter won’t come from your regular critics that tend to be White men & women. They will have to come from the Black LGBTQ community, because this is more so for them. Even though I can celebrate the achievements of this film, I know that I am not in the place to have total validity of opinion because that’s how I identify. It hits home deeper for those that do, but I am beaming with joy that they have this story to connect with and help the conversation push through a little bit more. It’s great that the movie is getting the positive reception across the board. Pay attention, Hollywood. Black film isn’t subjected to slavery, crime and Madea. We do other things, so push those alternative narratives forward. The people don’t lie. It’s a must see, so get out and see it. But for now, this is my opinion, this is my review
That’s My Word & It STiXX