Barry Jenkins recently opened up about experiencing racism following the success of his award-winning film, Moonlight.
During a Q&A at the Toronto International Film Festival, where Jenkins premiered his latest movie, If Beale Street Could Talk, the Academy Award winner revealed that he had encountered racism while campaigning for Moonlight.
Via Vulture, Jenkins said that as he was leaving the Academy’s Governor Awards and heading to an after-party, a valet told him that his driver had called him a racial slur.
“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,” Jenkins said. “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—-r.’ And then he smiled and said, ‘Oh, and he’s probably going to get nominated for Best Director.’ ”
The director added that the moment occurred while “I’m wearing a $5,000 suit,” explaining that if something like that could happen to him, it’s likely happening to others.
“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?”