I know Mahershala Ali from House of Cards and he is so good in that show. However, the other night, i am glad i got to him for other reasons.
I have yet to see the movie, Moonlight and i was a little hesitant to see it for some reasons. However, after hearing actor, Mahershala Ali’s acceptance speech during the SAG Award and what he learned while doing the movie, I am intrigued and sold at the important message of the movie.
His speech was powerful and I wanted to share it on my space. I love when a man is so passionate and emotional about something that he believes in. And that fact that this man (Mahershala Ali)was him, with all the craziness that is going on in the world, was poignant and mind-blowing for all the right reasons. An African-American man of Muslim faith speaking about unity and togetherness and helping others not to fold into themselves as a result of the persecution of his community. Soul affirming the importance of acceptance of difference.
I think 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. Taking the opportunity to uplift him and to tell him he mattered, he was okay and accept him. I hope that we do a better job of that.
We kind of get caught up in the minutia and the details that make us all different, I think there’s two ways of seeing that. There’s an 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 is different than me and 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 yrs ago. But I tell you now, you put things to the side and I’m able to see her and she’s able to see me. We love each other. The love has grown. And that stuff is minutia. 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.
We should all be so honest and courageous with our words! And his final words, goodness knows we do need peace and blessings upon us all.