Barry Jenkins Talks ‘Beale Street,’ Unconditional Love, The Power Of Kiki Layne & More [EXCLUSIVE]

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Barry Jenkins is a devout chopped and screwed head. He’s made requests online about certain mixes and even included a chopped and screwed version of Jidenna‘s “Classic Man” in 2016’s Moonlight. In a way, chopped and screwed is its own muse for Jenkins, the Academy Award winning director who included elements of it in his latest film, If Beale Street Could Talk.

However, it’s more than just the music with Beale Street as Keisha Nicole chatted with the Academy Award winning director about the film, how Kiki Layne managed to snag the role for her very first film, who Jenkins relates to in the movie and how powerful the sight of unconditional love on film is.

On What Drew Him To Fonny:

“He’s an artist who wants to walk his own path, find his own way. I felt the same way growing up and I’m just so blessed that I can make these films and make this art. Tragically, in this film, he wasn’t able to do that. Sometimes you know, you’re born into a certain situation, you’re born into a certain place and then that place tells you who you have to be. Often times you want to figure out for yourself who it is you’re going to be. I think that, yeah, it wasn’t that he wasn’t part of his family, but his family wanted him to walk a certain path. And he said, that wasn’t the path for him.”

On The Film’s Belief In Unconditional Love:

“It’s two young black people depicted as soulmates. This idea of unconditional love is true because in the film, there’s also a teenage pregnancy. And you think it’s going to be met with shame or someone feeling a type of way but everyone in the family is like, ‘OK, cool. Now let’s figure out how we handle it.’ So yeah, unconditional love, sisterly love, brotherly love but also these soulmates. It was very important.”

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Watch the full interview with Jenkins up top as well as on YouTube.

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