Miami-Dade County

Liberty City street renamed Moonlight Way after Oscar-winning film

Backstage moments after 'Moonlight' wins best picture award

Natalie Piner — mom to Jaden Piner, one of the Miami stars of ‘Moonlight’ — accompanied her son to the Academy Awards. Here is a clip from backstage moments after the best picture award.
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Natalie Piner — mom to Jaden Piner, one of the Miami stars of ‘Moonlight’ — accompanied her son to the Academy Awards. Here is a clip from backstage moments after the best picture award.

When “Moonlight” shocked Hollywood with its Best Picture win in February, Liberty City shared a bit of the triumph. The fictional home of the movie and the real-life home of its creators, the embattled neighborhood earned a national second look as a source of creative brilliance.

On Tuesday, Miami-Dade County moved to make the celebrated film a permanent part of the Liberty City landscape by renaming a stretch of Northwest 22nd Avenue Moonlight Way.

'Moonlight' actors and Norland Middle School students Alex Hibbert and Jaden Piner attended the Miami Heat's game against the Philadelphia 76ers, where they hung out with DJ Irie and were given sneakers by Udonis Haslem.

“What this movie really did is depict how people grow up here in the inner city,” said Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, who grew up in Liberty City herself and sponsored the resolution renaming the six-block stretch of the avenue.

The selected segment of 22nd Avenue, between Northwest 61st Street and 66th Street, sits in front of the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, where the playwright behind “Moonlight,” Tarell Alvin McCraney, once studied.

“Moonlight” was based on McCraney’s “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” and part of the movie takes place inside the African Heritage center. Director Barry Jenkins also grew up in Liberty City, and told the Miami Herald earlier this year that “Moonlight” reflected a childhood where “life was very heavy, but it was still a beautiful, inspiring place.”

Passed unanimously, the resolution said the “Moonlight” movie “evidences the possible heights of success for students from underserved communities and dysfunctional family backgrounds, and exemplifies life’s possibilities when family members foster a love of reading and when neighbors and educators fight for all students and cultivate their talents …”

"Moonlight" writer Tarell Alvin McCraney's artistic roots go back to the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center in Liberty City. Center director Marshall Davis, Sr. talks about McCraney and the center, which has produced some notable talent over th

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