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Moonlight Actors Ashton Sanders & Jharrel Jerome Win 'Best Kiss' at MTV Movie Awards

Moonlight

Evidence of Moonlight's immense cultural impact, the revolutionary queer film can officially add MTV Movie Award winner to its Oscar Award-winning legacy.

Related | Moonlight Revolution: The Black Queer Experience Comes of Age in America

During last night's event, actors Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome picked up the award for "Best Kiss," beating out fellow nominees Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Emma Watson and Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast), Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard (Empire), and Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick (Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates).

"I think it is safe to say that it is okay for us young performers, especially us minority performers, to step out of the box," Jerome said during their acceptance speech. "I think it is okay to step out of the box and do whatever it takes to tell the story, and do whatever it takes to make a change." 

Sanders underlined Jerome's statement, adding that their award is much bigger than them both. "This represents more than a kiss, it represents those who feel like the others, the misfits, this represents us," he said. 

Related | Gallery: Trevante Rhodes & Moonlight, In Focus

This is the fifth time a same-sex kiss has been awarded in the show's history. Previous winners include Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair (Cruel Intentions), Jason Biggs and Seann William Scott (American Pie 2), Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby), and Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain). 

While many responded to Moonlight's win last night with praise, others criticized how the MTV Movie Awards' "Best Kiss" has never been awarded to actors who identify as queer off-camera.

"Two Black gay men did not win best kiss," Francisco-Luis White wrote on Twitter. "Two cishet Black men won an award for playing gay." He continued, "Wake me up when we're beyond two Black cishet men playing gay being a brave and rewarded spectacle, when gay Black men get these roles." 

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