On March 27, 2022, Ariana DeBose made Oscar history by becoming the first openly queer Afro-Latina woman to win the Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. In honor of Pride Month, A.frame is revisiting DeBose's win and the moving words she shared onstage.
"You know what? Now you see why Anita says 'I want to be in America,'" DeBose said through tears, a nod to her character Anita in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story. "Because even in this weary world that we live in, dreams do come true and that's really a heartening thing right now."
After thanking her collaborators, including Spielberg and Rita Moreno, DeBose reflected on the journey that took her from "the backseat of a white Ford Focus" to the Dolby Stage.
"Imagine this girl in the backseat of a white Ford Focus," she said. "Look into her eyes, you see an openly queer woman of color, an Afro-Latina, who found her strength in life through art, and that’s what I believe what we're here to celebrate."
DeBose concluded her speech with a powerful message to the LGBTQ+ community. "To anybody who has ever questioned your identity — ever, ever, ever — or you find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this: There is indeed a place for us."
Watch the full speech below.
By Reyna Cervantes