'Moonlight' actor and Muslim convert Mahershala Ali fights back tears in powerful speech at SAG Awards
Mahershala Ali receives SAG Award for Best Supporting Actor 2017 (Screen capture)

American actor Mahershala Ali won the Screen Actors' Guild (SAG) Award on Sunday night for Best Supporting Actor 2017 for his role in the film Moonlight.


Ali -- who also plays Remy Danton in the Netflix series House of Cards -- said, "What I learned from working on Moonlight is you see what happens in persecution. They fold into themselves. And 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."

He spoke about his conversion to Islam and how his mother -- an ordained minister -- "didn't do backflips" of joy when she found out her son had converted faiths.

"But we put things to the side and I was able to see her," he said. "She is able to see me. We love each other. The love has grown, and that stuff's minutiae. It's not that important."

Watch the video, embedded below: