'Moonlight' is a project that resonated with me more than anything else. I wouldn't have done 'Luke Cage' if they hadn't made time for 'Moonlight.'

Mahershala Ali

Mahershala Ali

Profession: Actor
Nationality: American

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The people that I admire have a wonderful balance of self-belief and humility.

In terms of pace, I think I just have to revisit my relationship with expectations. That has a little bit to do with comparing ourselves to other people and seeing other people's journey and seeing how they had a certain success at a certain age.

I always hope to be a better person tomorrow than today.

I was going to try to get into the creative writing program at Berkeley; it's just that the acting thing worked out.

What I think I learned from working on 'Moonlight' is you see what happens when you persecute people. They fold into themselves.

I know someone from growing up who is in jail right now for the rest of his life, but he was one of the sweetest people I ever knew.

I'm not shy about trying to find what truth there is in any genre, whether that be an action piece, a sci-fi piece, a small indie film, or a play. I'm open to it all.

My mom and stepdad were strict. I couldn't date; I couldn't go out. And I was a kid who was never good at just taking no for an answer. I needed to understand why. And sometimes they weren't interested in explaining.

To get to play someone who was in some capacity the King of Harlem, that meant something to me. Deep within my bones. I was inspired by the energy that I knew to be a real thing.

People do bad things, but that doesn't mean they don't have other colors or qualities.

I have to say goodbye to things in order to take on bigger things that I've always wanted to do.

It's still amazing, but when I was growing up, Harlem was the Mecca of black culture. I was so inspired by it, the aspirational feeling you'd get spending time there. Experiences that were really specific to that place.

I think that black people, to a degree, need to have a certain level of dexterity. If we want to be at the highest level of whatever our field is, we have to be able to navigate both worlds. We all just know that you gotta be able to put that suit on and have a conversation with people that don't look like you or your family.

I'd always wanted to do a Marvel project, and I'd always imagined getting to play one of the superheroes because it's such a hard thing to get. It's the parts that only go to a few people. The flip side of that is the antagonists are pretty awesome.