Today is July 6 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “do you realize ease is a threat to progress?” When you are working on translating dreams into reality it is easy to want the easy route. It is normal to look at someone and say that it easy for them to navigate the chaos. During our struggles, when we are at our weakest, ask why it must be so hard. Those that have navigated the chaos understand that ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. As the adage goes, ‘if it was easy everyone would do it.’ It is at our lowest points, when we see no other path around the obstacle, and when it looks like our only option to quit, that is when you need to ask yourself today’s question.
During the 2017 NAACP Image Awards Denzel Washington received the award for the category of Most Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for his performance in Fences. In his acceptance speech Washington said:
“Without commitment you'll never start, but more importantly without consistency you'll never finish. It's not easy. So, keep working. Keep striving. Never give up. Fall down seven times, get up eight. Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. So, keep moving, keep growing, keep learning.”
To illustrate his point Washington mentioned several African American actors and actresses that overcame hardships as they navigated the chaos of their careers. “If it were easy, there'd be no Kerry Washington. If it were easy, there'd be no Taraji Henson. If it were easy, there'd be no Octavia Spencer. But not only that, if it were easy there'd be no Viola Davis. If it were easy, there'd be no Mykelti T. Williamson. No Stephen McKinley Henderson. No Russell Hornsby. If it were easy, there'd be no Denzel Washington.”
He reminded people to never give up on their dreams and highlighted filmmaker Barry Jenkins who made many short films before he got the opportunity to make Moonlight that won the Academy award for best picture in 2017.
Jenkins debuted on the screen with his 2003 short My Josephine, but his first breakout film was Medicine for Melancholy, a low-budget independent feature, produced with Strike Anywhere films and released in 2008. The movie stars Wyatt Cenac and Tracey Heggins. The film was well received by critics. It would be eight years before Jenkins would create Moonlight.
After the success of his previous film, Jenkins wrote an epic for Focus Features about "Stevie Wonder and time travel" and an adaptation of the James Baldwin novel If Beale Street Could Talk, neither of which initially entered production. He later worked as a carpenter and co-founded Strike Anywhere, an advertising company. In 2011, he wrote and directed Remigration, a sci-fi short film about gentrification. Jenkins became a writer for HBO's The Leftovers, about which he said, "I didn't get to do much." In 2012, he received a United States Artists Fellowship grant.
Jenkins directed and co-wrote, with Tarell Alvin McCraney, the 2016 drama Moonlight, his first feature film in eight years. The film was shot in Miami and premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in September 2016 to vast critical acclaim and awards buzz.
A.O. Scott of The New York Times wrote: "Moonlight dwells on the dignity, beauty and terrible vulnerability of black bodies, on the existential and physical matter of black lives." Variety wrote: "Barry Jenkins' vital portrait of a South Florida youth revisits the character at three stages in his life, offering rich insights into the contemporary African-American experience." David Sims of The Atlantic wrote: "Like all great films, Moonlight is both specific and sweeping. It’s a story about identity—an intelligent, challenging work."
The film won dozens of accolades, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture – Drama and the Academy Award for Best Picture at the 89th Academy Awards. Jenkins and McCraney also won Best Adapted Screenplay. Overall, the film received eight Oscar nominations, including Best Director.
Washington realized that ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. Do you?