Mahershala Ali Covers GQ Magazine
In the article, Ali discusses the role of race in America and how he learned from a young age that his blackness was something many people feared.
“When suddenly you go from being followed in Barneys to being fawned over, it will mess with your head,” he tells me, leaning over the table. He remembers being on subway trains and seeing people hide their rings from him: “those experiences that you have from age 10, when you start getting these little messages that you are something to be feared.” Even as a celebrity, he’s experienced how the script can always be flipped. “Walking down the street in Berkeley,” he says, “and some cops roll up on you and say straight up, ‘Give me your ID,’ and you’re like, ‘What the fu**?’ ”
Pretty sure most black men can relate to these experiences, sadly.
Ali also talks about his unusual name and how it’s often mistaken for a Muslim name. As we’ve previously reported, Mahershala is actually short for Mahershalalhashbaz, a Hebrew name from the Old Testament and a name that has caused Ali plenty of headaches at the airport.
“They would be like, ‘Yeah, your name matches the name of a terrorist,’ ” he told Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “I was like, ‘What terrorist is running around with a Hebrew first name and an Arabic last name? Who’s that guy?’ ”
SMH. See how we’re targeted?
Despite these experiences, the article’s portrayal of Ali is not of a bitter or angry man but a very hopeful one. We were particularly moved by this quote where he compares the Black American experience to growing up in an abusive household:
“I think African-Americans have a very convoluted relationship with patriotism,” he says. “The fact is, we essentially were the abused child. We still love the parent, but you can’t overlook the fact that we have a very convoluted relationship with the parent. I absolutely love this country, but like so many people have some real questions and concerns about how things have gone down over the years and where we’re at. And that’s from a place of love, because I want the country to be what it says it is on paper.”
When do you think the day will come when America IS the same place it claims to be on paper? Also, what’s your favorite Mahershala Ali role? We’re very partial to Remy round these parts.
Of course the best role of Mahershala’s life is being a new dad to his daughter Bari.
Hit the flip for a really precious picture of Mahershala swinging baby Bari in his arms