Powell, Sarah (2022) Why Black people look blue in the moonlight: an examination of how Barry Jenkins film Moonlight (2016) reunites the image of Black people’s bodies with water. Journal of Academic Development and Education Student Edition (6). ISSN 2051-3593

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A recent study highlighted that 70 percent of African Americans could not swim (Diaz-Duran, 2017), with drowning rates being far higher in Black communities than in white. The origin of this alarming statistic can be traced back to the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and cemented itself during segregation which forcibly divorced the image of the back body and water. It is these historical events that have led to the above statistic and the subsequent stereotype that Black people cannot swim. I was surprised then when Barry Jenkins 2016 film Moonlight portrayed a Black child, Chiron, learning to swim without any implication of danger or risk of drowning. The film recaptures the image of Black people’s bodies with water and begins to unravel stereotypes that manifested themselves in America centuries ago. Moonlight demonstrates how on-screen representation is a critical factor in recognising these stereotypes, understanding where they come from and taking action to undo what centuries worth of oppression and segregation did to form them.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Moonlight, Water, Swimming, Homosexuality
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Keele Institute for Innovation and Teaching Excellence
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2022 13:40
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2022 13:50
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/10612

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