'Moonlight' stars give uplifting speech at MTV awards show

Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome were awarded the award for best kiss.

— -- "Moonlight" broke new ground on its way to becoming this year's Oscar winner for best picture.

One of the film's most groundbreaking moments, the love scene between Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome, was recognized Sunday when the two stars were awarded the MTV Movie & TV Awards for best kiss.

Accepting the golden popcorn, the pair gave an uplifting speech about the significance of the award.

"I think it is safe to say that it is OK for us young performers, especially us minority performers, to step out the box...and do whatever it takes to tell the story and do whatever it takes to make a change," Jerome said at the podium beside his co-star.

"This award is for us artists who are out there who need to step out the box to do whatever it takes to get people to wake up," he said.

Sanders then added, "This award is bigger than Jharrel and I. This represents more than a kiss. This is for those who feel like the 'others,' the misfits. This represents us."

Other same-sex kisses that have been honored during the show's history include ones between Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair in "Cruel Intentions" and Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in "Brokeback Mountain."