Mahershala Ali may now be an Oscar-winning actor, but he is still adjusting to his newfound fame.
In a cover story for GQ, the 43-year-old opened up about how his life has dramatically changed since starring in Moonight. He says he went from being watched in department stores to being nationally adored practically overnight.
“When suddenly you go from being followed in Barneys to being fawned over, it will mess with your head,” Ali said.
For practically his whole life, Ali says his name and skin color have made him a target of racism.
“Walking down the street in Berkeley and some cops roll up on you and say straight up, ‘Give me your ID,’ and you’re like, ‘What the f—?’ ” he said.
The Luke Cage actor also recalled riding the subway and seeing people hide their jewelry with the assumption he would attempt to steal from them.
Ali has also said his name, which is actually the Hebrew name Mahershalalhashbaz, landed him on a terrorist watch list after the Sept. 11 attacks.