Leadership

The speech Barry Jenkins of 'Moonlight' wanted to give offers a crucial career lesson

Barry Jenkins attends the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party.
Alberto E. Rodriguez | Getty Images
Barry Jenkins attends the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party.

Barry Jenkins, the young writer and director of the Oscar-winning 2016 film "Moonlight," has a lot to teach about how to work hard to achieve success. Unfortunately, thanks to a well-publicized mix up, he was unable to give a full acceptance speech upon receiving the prestigious Academy Award for Best Picture.

Jenkins recently shared the speech he had prepared with the Hollywood Reporter.

Here's the speech in full:

"Tarell [Alvin McCraney] and I are Chiron. We are that boy. And when you watch Moonlight, you don't assume a boy who grew up how and where we did would grow up and make a piece of art that wins an Academy Award. I've said that a lot, and what I've had to admit is that I placed those limitations on myself, I denied myself that dream. Not you, not anyone else — me.

"And so, to anyone watching this who sees themselves in us, let this be a symbol, a reflection that leads you to love yourself. Because doing so may be the difference between dreaming at all and, somehow through the Academy's grace, realizing dreams you never allowed yourself to have. Much love."

It underlines an inspirational message for everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances: Never limit your dreams.

"Moonlight," which also took home the Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay, tells the story of Chiron, a boy growing up gay and black in the rough Liberty City neighborhood of Miami. Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, author of the play "In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue," upon which the film is based, both also grew up there.

Tarell Alvin McCraney and Barry Jenkins
Frazer Harrison | Getty Images
Tarell Alvin McCraney and Barry Jenkins

Jenkins explains that, because of where he was from, he did not believe that he could realize his ambitions: "You don't assume a boy who grew up how and where we did would grow up and make a piece of art that wins an Academy Award."

But, Jenkins writes, he was selling himself short. "I placed those limitations on myself. I denied myself that dream. Not you, not anyone else — me."

The director, who catapulted to the top of his industry with only his second feature film, concludes with a call to action very similar to the one Richard Branson offered on his blog.

"To anyone watching this who sees themselves in us, let this be a symbol, a reflection that leads you to love yourself," he writes. "Because doing so may be the difference between dreaming at all and, somehow through the Academy's grace, realizing dreams you never allowed yourself to have."