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Mahershala Ali calls for respect and understanding between those who are different

PoliticsSAG Awards

Mahershala Ali calls for respect and understanding between those who are different

 (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Mahershala Ali took home two prizes at the Screen Actors Guild Awards: for his supporting role in “Moonlight” as well as part of the cast of “Hidden Figures.” Ali gave an emotional acceptance speech after winning for male actor in a supporting role, and the political themes carried over backstage.

On being Muslim and black in American during this political moment:

This is not new to me. These things have existed before. It’s just as painful as it’s always been. It’s sad. It pains me, and I do identify with [the] struggle [that] Muslims are dealing with specifically.

It’s hurtful to see what’s happening to immigrants. It’s a challenging time. I think the positive thing is that as artists, as actors, we have an opportunity to make certain choices that shine light on situations that light needs to be shined on … so we can bring attention to situations that need some work and help start conversations and raise awareness because with awareness you can bring about change.

That’s the optimistic approach I would like to have.

On talking politics on stage at an awards show and the pressure of not alienating an audience who may disagree:

That’s when we have to have respect, when we don’t agree each other. You have to respect that that person’s different than you and just trust that I’ll understand one day.

It’s about how we approach each other. It’s just about giving people the respect you would appreciate having and seeing the other person as just as human as you. That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to treat people with the respect that I would like for myself. I’m not trying to fix nobody. I’m trying to work on my own stuff.

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