Barry Jenkins has perfectly brought to life James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk.

The film, set to be released Friday, follows a deeply-in-love couple, Tish and Fonny, as they prepare for the birth of their first child, all while Fonny is fighting to be released from prison after being wrongfully accused.


Despite being snubbed in a number of categories, including Best Picture, Beale Street earned noms for Original Score and Adapted Screenplay.

Jenkins completely captures the emotion of Baldwin’s work, specifically the film’s most intimate moment: when Tish and Fonny consummate their love for the first time.

In different hands, this scene may have been clumsy and exploitative, but, to us, Jenkins captured it the way Baldwin intended.

Jenkins and the film’s breakout stars, KiKi Layne and Stephan James, spoke to ESSENCE about what it was like to film the scene and how it all came together.

Check it out in the video above.

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