The student newspaper of the Ramaz Upper School

The Rampage

A Shinning Star in Moonlight: Jharrel Jerome

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Moonlight, written and directed by Barry Jenkins, is a movie drama of a journey of self-discovery. Based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tyell Alvin McCraney, Moonlight won Best Motion Picture at the Golden Globe Awards. It also achieved eight Oscar nominations at the eighty-ninth Academy Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay. Produced by Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner, and Jeremy Kleiner with film stars Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome, Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali, the movie is divided into three parts on the life of Chiron, an African American homosexual boy. The movie starts off with Chiron as a young boy (Alex Hibbert). It then moves on to show this boy as a teenager (Ashton Sanders) and, finally, Chiron as a grown man (Trevante Rhodes). This beautiful film portrays how what really matters is how one sees oneself, not the views and opinions of others.

Jharrel Jerome, starring as Kevin, is a character who helps Chiron with his identity. Jharrel is a sophomore at Ithaca College and flew to Miami to participate in the film. “Kevin is kind of this really cool, macho character. He built this identity of being such a king and ladies’ man, but he has this hidden identity where he is questioning his sexuality. But he comes from a world where being gay is not allowed,” he said. Now, Jharrel hasn’t always been interested in becoming an actor. Growing up in the Bronx, Jharrel decided he would want to be a doctor or lawyer, but his aunt thought that he should try acting, so Jerome decided to audition for performing arts high schools. In February 2011, Jerome found out that he got accepted to the drama department at LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts. “It was an intense audition. When I found out in February [2011] I got into the school, it was a crazy moment. We freaked out,” Jharrel said.

Jharrel performed in many of the LaGuardia High School productions. Agents and managers would go see his shows. Jerome caught the eyes of many of these agents. Most notably, he stood out when performing as the lead in the musical In the Heights and playing a role in The Laramie Project. At the end of those two shows, “I had different managers and agents trying to contact me, and it was amazing because it was the first time I felt adult-like in high school,” he said. On October 9, 2015, when he was in his freshman year of college, Jerome sent in an audition video for Moonlight. A week later, he found out he got the part. He took off twelve days from school to film his part of the movie. “The theater department at Ithaca is amazing. They were really open to having me go over there and miss classes. They were intense days. It’s a great script, and the character plays a pretty substantial role, so I got the chance to do a lot of things on and off camera,” he said. In the film, Kevin is trying to put on a different identity because in the community where he lives, he has a constant pressure to be a tough person. Jerome says that he can relate to Kevin’s character. “LaGuardia has a lot of people who aren’t from the Bronx or the hood per se, so trying to fit into another persona or trying to be someone else is something I did for a while before I realized it was time to set that away and be myself,” he said.

Besides acting, Jerome is also interested in rapping. He got to display his talent when he played Usnavi in In the Heights. Jerome is eager to show his talents both in films and on the mic. “I’ve been freestyling since I was eleven and writing since I was about fifteen. People really like it. I found my sound recently, and music is something that has always been in my life – it’s been my culture,” he said. Jerome had a very busy year when he shot his part of the film. He had a lot on his mind during his first film. “It challenged me personally. The day we shot was exactly two months after my grandfather passed, so the day was really heavy for me. I was there filming and looking up in my own moment, thinking that this is where he would want me,” he said.  This movie has inspired people both watching it and performing in it. A lot of people can relate to this film and learn a very valuable lesson; be yourself, and don’t be embarrassed about who you are.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • A Shinning Star in Moonlight: Jharrel Jerome

    Arts & Entertainment

    Baby Driver: An Unexpected Hit

  • A Shinning Star in Moonlight: Jharrel Jerome

    Arts & Entertainment

    Dunkirk Review

  • A Shinning Star in Moonlight: Jharrel Jerome

    Arts & Entertainment

    Battery Dance Festival

  • A Shinning Star in Moonlight: Jharrel Jerome

    Arts & Entertainment

    La La Land, Reviewed

  • A Shinning Star in Moonlight: Jharrel Jerome

    Arts & Entertainment

    Hidden Figures, Reviewed

  • A Shinning Star in Moonlight: Jharrel Jerome

    Arts & Entertainment

    Denial Reviewed

  • A Shinning Star in Moonlight: Jharrel Jerome

    Arts & Entertainment

    Nerve: Reviewed

  • A Shinning Star in Moonlight: Jharrel Jerome

    Arts & Entertainment

    Room: A Movie of Tragedy and Recuperation of the Human Spirit

  • A Shinning Star in Moonlight: Jharrel Jerome

    Arts & Entertainment

    Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (Dual Perspectives)

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Sisters Review

The student newspaper of the Ramaz Upper School