Ashton Sanders & Jharrel Jerome
Ashton Sanders & Jharrel Jerome

“Moonlight” star Jharrel Jerome (19) says he and costar, Ashton Sanders, didn’t do the traditional thing and “kiss” after their ‘Best Kiss’ win at the MTV Movie Awards because he’s not the character he portrayed.

Jharrel, who identifies as straight told Vibe:

Jerome, who was raised in the Bronx and is of Dominican descent, initially grappled with connecting to his character. As someone not from Miami, and more, who identifies as “straight,” Jerome was tasked with finding other portals to Kevin’s heart. The nuance and duplicity of his on-screen persona, it turns out, is something the 19-year-old is far too acquainted with as a black Latino from the inner-city, coming up in a less familiar world of performing arts. Vibe

TMZ caught up with Jharrel at LAX Monday on the heels of his big win where he told them his victory proves things are headed in the right direction when it comes to LGBT issues since they won by majority vote.

Watch clip here: Jharrel Jerome

Jharrel says the movie kiss was so powerful … it should stand alone.

Bright future ahead for both men.  Congrats on the win!

Tags: Moonlight, Jharrel Jerome, Ashton Sanders, Best Kiss, MTV Movie Awards, MMA’s