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Sunday, June 20, 2021

‘When you persecute people, they fold into themselves’: Mahershala Ali

"When we get caught up in the minutiae and the details that make us all different, I think there's two ways of saying that there's an opportunity to see the texture of that person, the characteristics that make them unique," Mahershala Ali said in his acceptance speech at SAG Awards 2017

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
June 7, 2021 8:15:56 am
Mahershala Ali, Mahershala Ali awards, Mahershala Ali motivational speech, Mahershala Ali Life Positive, Mahershala Ali Screen Actor's Guild Award, indian express newsIn his speech, Ali said it is crucial to embrace the details that make us all so different. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

In 2017, American actor Mahershala Ali delivered a powerful speech about acceptance and embracing differences when he won the Screen Actor’s Guild Award for his supporting role in the film Moonlight.

Ali said, “I was so grateful about having the opportunity to play a gentleman who saw a young man folding into himself as a result of the persecution of his community and taking that opportunity to uplift him and tell him that he mattered.”

In the movie, Ali plays the role of a drug-dealer at the height of the crack epidemic, who comes across as a withdrawn young boy, Chiron. Ali begins to spend time with Chiron and provides life lessons about acceptance and self-worth.

In his speech Ali said that it is crucial to embrace the details that make us all so different and we must take these opportunities to build a better, more acceptable and stronger society.

Ali, who himself faced persecution for converting to Islam in 2000, added a personal anecdote to his speech. “My mother is a (Christian) Minister, I’m a Muslim, she didn’t do back-flips when I called her to tell her that I converted 17 years ago. But I tell you now, we put things to the side, I’m able to see her, and she’s able to see me now, we love each other and the love is grown.”

Ali also went on to win the Oscar in 2017 for best supporting actor for his role in the film, making him the first Muslim to win an Academy Award.

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