Indie film, ‘Kicks’, follows a young boy, Brandon, as he treks around his home in the Bay Area to retrieve a pair of stolen Air Jordans. Brandon encounters many people on his journey, including his uncle Marlon, played by Mahershala Ali. Marlon helps to spark the quest with some much needed wisdom on responsibility and consequence.
Ali had a standout performance in ‘Kicks’ and TheGrio had the pleasure of getting to chat with him about his character, the state of diversity in Hollywood, and the future of his career.
This interview was edited for clarity.
TheGrio: ‘Kicks’ was very much about growing up and trying to be an adult. Could you relate to the younger characters when you were their age?
Mahershala Ali: Yeah, because you have the element of trying to feel comfortable about how you look and feel, which is just very much a part of just adolescence and puberty and growing up. Connecting to girls, and feeling like you’re in pace with the other boys and their experiences. And then the whole bit about the rite of passage and the tests and challenges to your masculinity that often end up putting you in a situation where there’s the threat of violence, or things happening that are really violent and the trouble that goes along with that. So those are all things that I’ve seen and in some cases have definitely experienced to a certain degree.
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