Actor Ashton Sanders Speaks About Embracing Vulnerability with Phenom Selah Marley

At the 89th Academy Awards, “Moonlight” became both the first LGBTQ film and the first film with an all-black cast to win the venerable Best Picture of the year award. The victory in itself was a rally cry for marginalized groups everywhere, especially at a time like the present when social upheaval seems irremediable. It was also a glaring relief, following the previous year’s #OscarsSoWhite campaign. Directed by Barry Jenkins, the movie catalogs the life of a young black man, Chiron, in three crucial stages: exploring African American identity through each lens and the complexities of its virtues. Masculinity, and its perceived value, is at the core of this meditation. Ashton Sanders appears as the main character during his teenage years, struggling with questions of sexuality while dealing with his mother’s drug addiction. For a young actor at the start of his career—just 19 when filming began—the role was an enormous emotional task to take on.

The daughter of Lauryn Hill and Rohan Marley, barely-legal N.Y.U. freshman Selah Marley is one of fashion’s newest darlings. Between walking in Kanye West’s Yeezy show and studying astronomy, she creates self-reflective GarageBand tracks for her SoundCloud account. A few days after “Moonlight” took home its Oscar win, the two young minds connected to speak about the dualities of black identity and staying true to oneself.