Mahershala Ali is tired of always being asked about diversity in Hollywood.
In an interview with Esquire U.K., the actor, who won Best Supporting Actor at the EE BAFTAs on Sunday night (10Feb19) for his role as the late jazz star Don Shirley in Green Book, bemoaned the fact that people always want to talk to black actors about issues related to the colour of their skin.
“It’s just that white actors are only asked about race if they’re doing a civil rights project,” he sighed, as he discussed inequality when it comes to discussing issues of diversity in Hollywood.
“In interviews like this, they talk about their process and life but black actors are always talking about diversity, where the culture’s at, where it’s going. We have to be professors of cultural studies where a white actor can just be an actor!”
The star, whose latest film centres on the relationship between a black jazz musician and his white driver, is the frontrunner for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar at the forthcoming Academy Awards. In 2018 he became the first Muslim actor to win an acting award at the Oscars, for film Moonlight.
His comments after the promotional tour for the film were marred when his co-star Viggo Mortensen was at the centre of a racism row after he used the n-word during a Q&A.
While making a point about the fact that the racial slur is no longer used as casually as it was in 1962, when Green Book is set, Viggo used the full word and was forced to issue an apology after he came under fire.
Mahershala also responded to the row, and was critical of his co-star, who he said had “apologised profusely” following the Q&A.
“However well-intended or intellectual the conversation may have been, it wasn’t appropriate for Viggo to say the n-word,” he said in a statement.
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