Fans may know him as Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes on Netflix’ Luke Cage.” Fans, most recently, know him as the Oscar-winning actor on Moonlight. Fans may even know him as Prince Ali, back when he ran with the Hieroglyphics.
Regardless, new-age renaissance man Mahershala Ali is the latest guest to participate in Complex’ “Sneaker Shopping” series, joining Joe La Puma at Stadium Goods in New York City. While he does speak on growing up and having an appreciation for sneakers, he also delves into more serious topics including not wearing sneakers to auditions, being profiled while shopping for shoes, and more.
“It takes awhile you to be embedded in the culture and for people to recognize you and know who you are. In the course of being known, I’d experience people falling over themselves to help me, or continuing to be profiled in a way that would make me really angry,” Ali says. “As an African American, the way to combat some of that is to get famous. It’s not even that people think you’re a ‘celebrity,’ it’s just that they don’t have a reason to fear you. Like, ‘Oh, I know who you are.’ It was jarring for me, but I think that’s just the nature of the world we live in.”