Ali took home the award on Sunday night for ‘Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role’ for the film Moonlight.
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“I think what I’ve learned from working on Moonlight is what happens when you persecute people,” he began. “They fold in on themselves and what I was so grateful in having the opportunity to play Juan, was playing a gentleman who saw a young man folding in to himself as a result of the persecution of his community and taking the opportunity to uplift him and tell him he mattered.”
“I hope we do a better job at that,” he said.
Fighting back tears, the expectant father proudly declared that he was a Muslim, recalling that is mother — an ordained minister — “didn’t do backflips” when he decided to convert.
“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 know, 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.”
He then thanked his cast mates, spreading peace and love as he reveled in the success of the night.
“I want to thank Tarell Alvin McCraney for his courage. I thank Barry Jenkins just for your insight, your brilliance and your direction and the collaboration, that opportunity I will always hold that close to me. I want to thank my fellow cast mates who 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.”
This is Ali’s first SAG Award win. Congrats!