‘Moonlight’ Director Barry Jenkins Recalls Being Called The N-Word By His Driver
Film director Barry Jenkins is opening up about a recent moment when he experienced racism. The Moonlight directer says the incident occurred at the Governor’s Awards in 2017, just weeks before Jenkins’ Moonlight would win the Oscar for Best Picture. According to Jenkins, his own drivers spewed hateful language towards him.
So I’m at this party and I was trying to get to my homeboy Justin Simien’s after-party for his show Dear White People. My driver, he had a hard time getting in and out of the valet, because if you pull up and your person’s not there, you’ve got to drive out and circle around.
“I come out and the valet person is just like, shocked. I’m like, ‘What’s up?’ He goes, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t get in the car with that dude.’ I’m like, ‘Why?’ He goes, ‘Oh, because when I was out here before, he looked all agitated, and I said to him, ‘What’s wrong?’ He goes, ‘Oh, you know, nothing, I’m just sitting around here waiting around to pick up this n—-.’ And then he smiled and said, ‘Oh, and he’s probably going to get nominated for Best Director.’ ‘ Subtext: But he’s still just a n—–.”
Jenkins revealed that this is something that black people, actors and regular people alike, experience every day.
“And this is when I’m wearing a $5,000 suit. I’ve just come from the Governor Awards,” he said. “So if it could happen to me with someone who’s driving me, a person in power, what the hell do you think happens to some dude working a shift at the factory? Or some dude walking to the bar?”
Jenkins obviously went on to do bigger and better things, despite being talked to in a disrespectful manner. It goes to show that no one is exempt from racism.