The MTV Movie & TV Awards aren’t typically known for their trailblazing social messages so much as for butts-in-faces and steamy heteronormative make-outs, but this year’s show broke the mould. The May 7 ceremony, which did away with gender categories and included TV for the first time ever, proved to be full of inspiring displays of unity and inclusion, exemplified by what was arguably the evening’s most important moment: Moonlight breakout stars Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome’s win for Best Kiss.
Beating out fan faves like La La Land’s Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling (I mean, don’t tell me people wouldn’t have wanted a re-do of Gosling’s last famous makeout sesh on the MTV stage), Jerome and Sanders didn’t recreate their beautiful kiss, but instead delivered a powerful speech about what the win means to them, dedicating the Golden Popcorn to “the others, the misfits.”
— MTV News (@MTVNews) May 8, 2017
“On a real note, I think it is safe to say that it is OK for us young performers—especially us minority performers—to step out of the box,” Jerome said. “I think it is OK to step out of the box and do whatever it takes to tell the story and do whatever it takes to make a change. And so this award is for that—for us artists who are out there who need to step out of the box to do whatever it takes to get people to wake up.”
“This award is bigger than Jharrel and I,” Sanders said. “This represents more than a kiss. This is for those who feel like the others, the misfits; this represents us.”
And while we can’t ignore the tone-deaf jokes Allison Williams made about race, the same-sex win for Best Kiss was just one of many powerful moments from a night that included Billions actor Asia Kate Dillon—the first openly non-binary actor to play a non-binary character on network TV—presenting the Best Actor trophy to Emma Watson and a badass speech from Taraji P. Henson, who accepted the Best Fight Against The System award (this year’s woke version of the traditional Best Fight award) on behalf of Hidden Figures. “The message of the movie is togetherness,” said Henson. “I hate the separateness. I hate that it’s man versus woman, black versus white, gay versus straight. Whatever. We’re all humans, right?” Right, indeed.
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