What “Moonlight’s” Mahershala Ali said about being Muslim during his SAG Awards acceptance speech will bring a tear to your eye

Last nights’ Screen Actors Guild Awards was a plethora of moving and passionate speeches, but it’s what Moonlight star Mahershala Ali said while picking up the award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role that has brought a tear to our eyes.

We’ve been totally in love with Mahershala Ali for AGES now, but the actor completely stole our hearts with his performance in Moonlight. And while we’re pretty gutted that he botched his audition for Game of Thrones, we couldn’t be happier that the 42-year-old actor his getting recognition for his talent, because Moonlight is just extra special.


Now Mahershala Ali has given a profound and moving speech at the SAG Awards about his faith and the persecution, and you need to watch it.

Picking up the award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, Ali opened up about what he’d learned making Moonlight and how that fed into the current socio-political climate.

“I think what I have learned from working on Moonlight, you see what happens when you persecute people, and they fold into themselves, he said. "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 he mattered, that he was okay. And accept him. I hope that we do a better job of that.

Getting emotional, Ali said that we get too wrapped up in the minutiae of what makes us different and that it’s holding us back, noting that there were two options: either engaging with and celebrating our differences or going to war.

He then recounted a personal story about his relationship with his mother.

“My mother is an ordained minister, Ali said. “I’m a Muslim. She didn't do backflips when I called her and told her I converted 17 years ago. But I tell you now, we put things to the side and I was able to see her. She is able to see me. We love each other. The love has grown. The [other] stuff is minutiae; it's not that important."

Watch Mahershala Ali’s moving and powerful speech below.

Ali’s speech follows along the lines of the likes of Taraji P. Henson, who spoke about unity, and Viola Davis, who said that it was time that inclusiveness was seen as the norm.

We couldn’t be more in awe of Mahershala Ali’s beautiful and poignant speech, and we’re so glad that his talent (and Moonlight) is getting the recognition it deserves.