Last night, actor Mahershala Ali won the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight.” When he got up to receive the award, he gave an emotional speech that addressed persecution, the differences of texture and his Muslim faith in light of President Trump’s travel ban. Watch the speech below.
“I think what I’ve learned from working on ‘Moonlight’ is we see what happens when we persecute people. They fold into themselves,” said Ali. “And what I was so grateful about in having the opportunity to play Juan was playing a gentleman who saw a young man folding into himself as the result of the persecution of his community, and taking the opportunity to uplift him, and tell him that he mattered, and that he was okay, and accept him, and I hope that we do a better job of that.”
“When we get caught up in the minutiae, the details that make us all different, there’s two ways of seeing that,” he continued. “There’s the opportunity to see the texture of that person, the characteristics that make them unique, and then there’s the opportunity to go to war about it, say, ‘That person is different from me, I don’t like you, so let’s battle.’ My mother is an ordained minister, I’m a Muslim. She didn’t do backflips when I called her to tell her I converted 17 years ago. But I tell you now, we put things to the side, I’m able to see her, she’s able to see me, we love each other, the love has grown. That stuff is minutiae. It’s not that important.”
Ali is also nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and was nominated for a Golden Globe in the same category, but lost to Aaron Taylor-Johnson from Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals.” Aside from his performance in “Moonlight,” he’s best known for playing Remy Danton on “House of Cards” and most recently Cornell ‘Cottonmouth’ Stokes on “Luke Cage.”
“Moonlight” is currently in theaters nationwide.
— SAG Awards® (@SAGawards) January 30, 2017