back to top
TVAndMovies

Mahershala Ali Just Gave A Stunning Speech About The Effects Of Persecution

"We see what happens when you persecute people. They fold into themselves," the actor said while accepting his SAG Award.

Posted on

When he took the stage at the 2017 SAG Awards to accept his statue for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting role for his work in Moonlight, Mahershala Ali broke out an emotional speech about the cost of persecution and the power of support.

Advertisement

"And what I was so grateful about in having the opportunity to play Juan [in Moonlight], was playing a gentleman who saw a young man folding into himself as a result of the persecution of his community," he said.

"You know, we kind of get caught up in the minutiae and the details that make us all different," he continued. "I think there's two ways of seeing that. 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..."

He also brought up his own conversion to Islam, and his relationship with his mother, an ordained minister. "I tell you now, we put things to the side," he said. "And I’m able to see her, she’s able to see me. We love each other, the love has grown, and that stuff is minutiae, it’s not that important."

You can read his full speech here:

"What I've learned from working on Moonlight is we see what happens when you persecute people. They fold into themselves. 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 a result of the persecution of his community. And taking that opportunity to uplift him, and tell him that he mattered, and that he was OK. And accept him. And I hope that we do a better job of that.

You know, we kind of get caught up in the minutiae and the details that make us all different, I think there's two ways of seeing that. 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, and to say that that person's different than me and I don't like you, so let's battle.

My mother's 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. And I'm able to see her, she's able to see me. We love each other, the love has grown, and that stuff is minutiae, it's not that important.

I’m going to thank Tarell Alvin McCraney for his courage. I’m going to thank Barry Jenkins just for your insight, your brilliance, and your direction — and just the collaboration, that opportunity, I’ll always hold that close to me. I want to thank my fellow cast mates. Any one of those young men could be up here holding this, I’m telling you. It’s beautiful work. Plan B, A24, thank you. Peace and blessings be upon you."

And you can watch his speech here:

#Moonlight star Mahershala Ali with a deeply emotional and beautiful #SAGAwards speech about the pain of persecution

Promoted

Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss