Dustin Lance Black responds to Tarell Alvin McCraney saying the Oscar-winning ‘Milk’ writer inspired him


Tarell Alvin McCraney at the 2017 Academy Awards and Dustin Lance Black at the 2009 Academy Awards.

In accepting his award (along with director Barry Jenkins) for best adapted screenplay for "Moonlight" on Sunday night, Tarell Alvin McCraney paid homage to another gay Oscar winner whose triumph inspired him the way he hoped his would inspire others.

"I remember sitting back somewhere watching Dustin Lance Black accept for ‘Milk’ and thinking maybe one day that can be me," he said backstage, Oscar in hand. "And here I am."

Black, who nabbed his Academy Award in 2009 for original screenplay and wrote the LGBTQ rights miniseries "When We Rise" premiering tonight on ABC, responded Monday in a statement exclusively to The Times:

"’Moonlight’s’ wins sent a message of inspiration and hope to so many last night, including me. I welled up every time it was honored. Every acknowledgement it received inspired me to work harder and to do better. So, if in some small way I helped encourage Tarell along his magnificent journey to create this masterpiece, well, that’s the compliment of a lifetime."

The film, about a poor black boy growing up in the projects of Miami grappling with his sexuality, is the first LGBTQ tale to win the best picture Oscar. McCraney hopes its success will encourage Hollywood to tell more stories like it, he continued backstage.

"The hope that we have today about telling stories is that those people, the ones who we’re leaning on to make those stories, were watching and found a platform that they saw they could stand on," he said. "I hope that the storytellers up here and their proud journey can imprint on someone out there watching that they too can stand here too, and also tell their stories daringly and as intimately as possible."

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times) (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times) (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times) (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times) (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

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