Dear Mahershala Ali,
Salaam walaikum. Congratulations on your SAG Award and your Academy Award nomination. You were incredible in “Moonlight,” and “Hidden Figures” was out of this world (no pun intended)!
— Variety (@Variety) January 30, 2017
In your acceptance speech, you brilliantly connected the topic of persecution with examples from “Moonlight” and the real world today. You even included you and your mother’s relationship. In the movie, you play a wise and accepting character. Your mother, as you said, “didn’t do backflips” after you converted to Islam. Instead, she became a wise and accepting character.
That correlation between Juan and your mother is beautiful. What’s even more beautiful is the overall message of your speech. It’s important to push differences aside and come together. In this political climate, our communities have to come together more than ever.
When it comes to representation, there need to be more opportunities for Muslims and other minorities to portray characters with substance like the characters in “Moonlight” and “Hidden Figures.” Forget the stereotypes and the labels. Acting is about character, and you demonstrate that.
Thank you for putting yourself out there and making the world a better place. We hope to see you do more in television and film. Again, congratulations on your success and good luck at the Oscars!
Your fellow sisters,
Ahlam and the #MuslimGirlArmy