Abstract

This article explores the ways the Academy Award-winning film Moonlight reveals and reflects a Black spatial imaginary that explicitly and inextricably links Blackness, queerness, and the outside. In sharpening focus on its central character's journey from bullied kid to alienated high school student to hardened twenty-something, Moonlight, I argue, repudiates many of the anti-Black premises that vitalize the project of white supremacy and the white spatial imaginary, particularly those that cast Black people as always already unfit or unworthy—of freedom, of intimacy, of pleasure, of life. Simultaneously, the film draws attention to and invites viewers to grapple with the ways that Blackness always already indexes a waywardness, a transience, a queerness, a “movement in excess” that is itself an instantiation and expression of refusal, a being in and for the outside.

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