Congrats, Brother Barry Jenkins #Oscars

My Brothers of Alpha:

It was a fantastic night of many things.

It was a night of historical firsts as Brother Barry Jenkins [Iota Delta ’99] became the first African American to score nominations for best director, best picture, and best writing adapted screenplay in the same year. The film’s co-editor, Joi McMillon, becamethe first African American to earn a nomination for achievement in film editing. Mahershala Ali, who played a sympathetic drug dealer mentoring a bullied young man in the film, “Moonlight,” is the first Muslim actor to win best supporting actor. And Viola Davis,who won best supporting actress, became the second black woman to win an Emmy, an Oscar, and a Tony for acting.

It was also a night of twists and turns. Brother Jenkins and Mr. Tarell Alvin McCraney, who wrote the play that became “Moonlight” and co-wrote the screenplay, won the Oscar for best writing adapted screenplay. And although Brother Jenkins lost the award forbest director, the biggest award of the night, the Oscar for best picture, went to “Moonlight” despite some confusion at the time.

To some, this win is a direct response to the #OscarsSoWhite controversy of years past, but regardless of the issues that have brought us here, “Moonlight” is a powerful movie with a message all black men, especially Alpha men, should discuss and use as a conversationstarter in our communities. Brother Jenkins and his team did a fantastic job weaving a story of sexuality, drug abuse, mass incarceration, and school violence, ultimately asking the question: What is the nature and meaning of manhood?

Brothers, if you haven’t watched this movie, please take the time to do so. Do me a favor, send congratulations to Brother Jenkins on Twitter @BandryBarry,letting him know that his brothers in Alpha stand beside him as his star shines.

Onward and Upward Always,

Everett B. Ward, Ph.D.
General President