Liberty City own Barry Jenkins Brings the Oscar to Liberty City
When film director Barry Jenkins and playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney took the stage to accept the best adapted screenplay Oscar for their movie, Moonlight, they let the world know where they rose up from. “Thank God for my mother who proved to me through her struggles, and the struggles that Naomi Harris portrayed for all of you, that we can really be here and be somebody,” McCraney. “Two boys from Liberty City up here on this stage here representing the 305.”
At that moment, I was so fucking proud to also be a Liberty City native son. And when Moonlight won the Academy Award for best Oscar, I shed tears. We are not Bal Harbour. We are not Aventura. We are not Miami Beach. We are none of those glitzy tourist traps you see on travel brochures and national television broadcasts. But Liberty City is proud community of hard-working, talented people just like Jenkins and McCraney.
Briana Rollins went from starring on the Miami Northwestern High track team to winning an Olympic gold medal last year. Just a few weeks ago, Devonta Freeman, a kid from the Pork n’ Bean projects starred for the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl. Another native, Keon Hardemon, could have just been another public defender. Instead, he’s one of the youngest politicians to serve as chairman of the Miami City Commission.
Being from Liberty City taught me to fight for what I believe in, even if it means taking the battle all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The first independent music label, Luke Records, started out on Northwest 54th street and 12th avenue. Seeing Jenkins and McCraney conquer the Academy Awards, an institution that has faced valid criticisms for not recognizing black films, proves that people from Liberty City can do anything they set their sights on.
Many outsiders in the rap game claim Miami. But none of them can ever claim Liberty City because they never lived it.
It made me so happy to be from the most forgotten place in Miami where the voices of the suffering often goes unheard. Last night on national television, kids from Liberty City saw for themselves that their dreams can come true.
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