Having just come off his first Met Gala run, where he walked the infamous red carpet alongside Raf Simons in a decadent leather Calvin Klein look (he's the current face of the brand) and took bathroom selfies alongside the likes of Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, and Frank Ocean, it's safe to say that Ashton Sanders' post-Moonlight career has been doing just fine. But that's not to say that the young star is done basking in the glory the movie has left on the world just yet.
Last night, at the MTV Movie & TV Awards in Los Angeles, CA, Ashton Sanders, along with his costar Jharrel Jerome, were awarded the golden popcorn trophy for "Best Kiss" based on the sensual scene the two actors shared on the beach in the Academy Award-winning film. The win is historic for a number of reasons, including the obvious fact that it was the only same-sex kiss nominated in its category, as well as being one of only two kisses that were shared between people of color.
Though neither Sanders nor Jerome is actually gay, the two actors were sure to dedicate their win to the community whose visibility was impacted the most by the film's historic run. After taking the stage to accept their award, Jerome began, "On a real note, 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." He continued, "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. 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."
Sanders quickly followed suit, taking the spotlight off of himself and turning it towards the larger community. "This award is bigger than Jharrel and I. This represents more than a kiss. This is for those who feel like the others, the misfits. This represents us."
The moment was really sweet, and everyone in the audience seemed to be genuinely moved. Though it's only a matter of time until Moonlight Mania dies down for good, it's moments like these that prove that the hype is far from being undeserving.