Mahershala Ali is an Academy Award winning American actor known for films like Moonlight, Hidden Figures, and Green Book. Despite his incredible talent and success, Ali has faced some backlash and hate from certain groups online.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the potential reasons why some people dislike or hate the acclaimed actor Mahershala Ali.
Criticism for Taking Roles
One of the main sources of criticism for Mahershala Ali has been his casting in certain high-profile roles that were previously played by white actors.
In 2019, it was announced that Ali would be playing Blade in an upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe film rebooting the character. Previously, Wesley Snipes had famously portrayed the vampire hunter Blade in a trilogy of films in the 1990s and 2000s.
Some fans of Snipes’ portrayal were upset about Ali taking over the iconic role, believing it should have gone to another African American actor more similar to Snipes.
Similarly, Ali received some backlash when he was cast as Cottonmouth in the Netflix series Luke Cage in 2016. In the original Marvel comics, Cottonmouth was depicted as a black villain.
When a light-skinned actor like Ali was chosen to play him in the live-action adaptation, some fans criticized the choice, believing a darker-skinned actor would have been more appropriate.
While Blade and Cottonmouth are two high-profile examples, Ali has faced this kind of criticism for other roles too throughout his career. Some people feel that lighter-skinned black actors get more opportunities in Hollywood at the expense of darker-skinned performers.
When Ali accepts roles that some fans feel should go to darker-skinned black actors, it produces resentment among those who feel colorism is at play.
Perceived Lack of “Blackness”
Connected to the criticism over his casting, Mahershala Ali also faces hatred from some who feel he lacks “blackness” in his identity and presentation.
Light Skin Privilege
As a light-skinned African American actor, some believe Ali benefits from colorism and light skin privilege in getting more roles and opportunities than darker skinned black actors. They resent him for accepting roles they feel should go to darker performers.
Lack of “Black” Roles
Others criticize Ali for not choosing more roles that highlight black identity or focus on black stories. Early in his career, he played characters that were not specifically written as black – something some fans took issue with.
There is also criticism of Ali for not embracing or displaying African American Vernacular English and speaking in a more “proper” or eloquent style. Some believe this makes him appear less authentic or connected to black culture and identity.
Perceived Lack of Activism
In the era of celebrity activism and stars using their platforms to promote social causes, Mahershala Ali also gets critiqued for not being vocal or visible enough as an activist.
Some believe Ali is too low-profile, private, and non-controversial in how he conducts himself publicly. They want to see him be more outspoken on issues impacting the black community.
Lack of Politics
Others criticize his apparent lack of political engagement and activism compared to other high-profile black celebrities and entertainers who are frequently advocating for various causes.
Focus on Acting
There is a sense from some that Ali is too focused on his acting career and professional success rather than using his celebrity status to be a prominent activist and thought leader when it comes to social change and black empowerment.
Controversial Personal Life
Mahershala Ali also generates some negativity and hatred for details related to his personal life off-screen that have caused controversy online.
Ali practices Ahmadiyya Islam, a relatively unorthodox branch of the faith frowned upon by mainstream Muslims. Ali being a visible adherent of this controversial religion has made him a target for hate from some Muslim groups.
He has been married four times, including multiple marriages that ended in divorce after only a year. This relationship history rubs some people the wrong way.
Ali has faced some backlash after it was reported he has two children with his first wife that he is estranged from and does not actively parent. This image of him as an absent father leads to hatred from some who disapprove of that parental choice.
Online Trolling and Spreading Hate
While Mahershala Ali’s talent and achievements are undeniable, he seems to become a focal point for hate among certain portions of the online public. There are entire communities on platforms like Reddit and YouTube dedicated to trolling and criticizing the acclaimed actor.
Once the hate and negativity gain momentum online, it takes on a life of its own and fuels further backlash from others who pile on. A lot of the most vocal hate seems to come from online trolls looking for attention and controversy rather than substantive critiques of Ali’s work or social impact.
Responses and Explanations
While there are certainly some people who strongly dislike Mahershala Ali and are very vocal in expressing that hate online, it is important to recognize that this negativity comes from a loud minority.
Most audiences and critics overwhelmingly praise Ali’s acting skills and recognize his impressive achievements. Here are some additional perspectives to consider when assessing why Ali elicits such strong hatred from some sectors.
Nuanced Discussion of Colorism Needed
The conversations around colorism, representation, and which actors get opportunities are certainly complex ones with reasonable arguments on all sides. However, these issues often get oversimplified online into blanket hatred toward any light-skinned black actors like Ali who achieve success.
Instead of hate, we need nuanced discussions recognizing the talents of artists like Ali while still advocating for greater representation and opportunities for darker-skinned performers as well.
Unfair Standards of Activism
While activism can be admirable, Mahershala Ali shouldn’t face unreasonable expectations to be a prominent activist just because of his race and profession.
He should have the freedom as an individual to focus on his craft and family life rather than be burdened with demands to be a spokesperson or politicized public figure if that is not his desire. Holding him to a higher standard creates unfair expectations.
Online Hate Not Justified
Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with Mahershala Ali’s career and life choices, the extremes of personalized online hatred, trolling, and bullying aimed at him should not be considered a justifiable response.
There are more constructive ways to debate representation in media or criticize an actor’s choices without resorting to online platforms being weaponized to spread hate.
His Work Stands for Itself
At the end of the day, Mahershala Ali’s incredible acting talent remains undisputed, having won Oscars and acclaim for an array of roles and performances.
The fact that he is so heavily targeted by online hate campaigns seems disproportionate to his actual work and impact on society. The vilification reflects more on those spreading the hate than on Ali himself. His impressive achievements as an actor stand for themselves.
In conclusion, Mahershala Ali faces hatred and criticism from some unfair expectations about activism, some legitimate concerns about representation and colorism in Hollywood, and online trolls exploiting controversy about his personal life.
However, most of this hate is an overreaction when considered against Ali’s undeniable talents. The debates around subjects like colorism and activism would be better served through constructive dialogues rather than resorting to online hate mobs targeting Ali.
His skills as an actor and unique personal choices do not warrant such disproportionate vilification. Ali’s accomplishments remain impressive and representative of black excellence despite the efforts of vocal detractors aiming to undermine or discredit him.
FAQs About Mahershala Ali Hate
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions related to why Mahershala Ali elicits hate from some online communities:
Why do some Marvel fans hate that Mahershala Ali is playing Blade?
Some hardcore Wesley Snipes as Blade fans feel protective over the character and think the role should have gone to another actor similar to Snipes, rather than Ali who they see as not “dark” enough. They think the new Blade film is disrespecting the original trilogy.
How did colorism complaints arise over his Luke Cage role?
When lighter-skinned Ali was cast as the villain Cottonmouth, some fans of the comic character were upset a darker-skinned actor didn’t get the role, as they felt the Netflix show failed to challenge colorism in its casting.
What activist causes do people want Mahershala Ali to be involved in?
Some critics feel Ali should lend his celebrity status to causes like Black Lives Matter, police reform, and empowering black communities. They want him to be more vocal about racism and social justice issues.
Why are some Muslims critical of Mahershala Ali’s Islamic faith?
Ali practices Ahmadiyya Islam, which is considered unorthodox by mainstream Muslims. Some oppose him being a public face of this minority movement and feel it promotes a “heretical” branch of Islam.
How has Mahershala Ali’s relationship history caused controversy?
Ali has been married four times, including short-lived marriages that ended in divorces quickly. He also has two kids with an ex-wife that he is reportedly estranged from, which rubs some people the wrong way.