Mahershala Ali Is Living The Stereotypical Black Man's Dream

Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Mahershala Ali has recently joined Michelle Obama, Harriet Tubman, the first Aunt Viv, Marshawn Lynch, and Mufasa from The Lion King as the only Black people with a 100 percent approval rating within the Black community. His recent stretch of standout performances in House of Cards, Luke Cage, Hidden Figures, and Moonlight has been nothing short of spectacular. He doesn't just steal scenes. He kidnaps and swallows them with a magnetism and subtle electricity dictating that when he's on screen it's as if there's nothing else on it.


He's also living the dream life of the stereotypical Black man.

This doesn't mean that Ali is a stereotypical Black man. (You could even say the opposite, that his existence and his work openly and directly defies stereotypes.) Just that he has managed to do literally everything on the stereotypical Black man's list of Shit I Really, Really, Really, Really Want To Do In This Life, Which, According To My Projected Life Expectancy, Might Only Be Like 47.5 Years. It's like a focus group comprised of no Black men came together to determine "What Black Men Want" and gave him everything on the list.


To wit, earlier this week it was revealed that Mahershala Ali was actually Prince Ali, a rapper down with the Hieroglyphics crew in the mid-2000s. Which means that, unlike other rapping-ass actors like Idris Elba and Nick Cannon, dude could actually spit. And nothing is more stereotypically Black male than having a budding rap career. It just so happens that Mahershala Ali was/is good at it.

We also know that he played college basketball. And not just "college basketball" the way Lil Romeo and the barber you go to who played one semester at CCAC-Allegheny did, but was actually a D1 scholarship player at St. Mary's University, the same school that produced Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova. Which means he'll bust your ass in hoops too. (Not my ass. I'll cross that nigga up. But your ass.)

He also recently became one of the models for Calvin Klein's new campaign. And there's nothing the stereotypical Black man wants more than for women to ogle him while he lays naked on leather couches. He's basically simultaneously sliding in a hundred thousand DMs without even sending a text!

So let's recap: He's an Oscar-winning actor, can rap for real (and had people paid him for it), can hoop for real (and got a full scholarship), has every Black woman on the internet circulating pics of him in his draws, and converted to Islam as an adult — which means he could be in Wu-Tang now if he wanted to too. This is pretty damn stereotypically Black. Good job!

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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Old Man Wu

They really shouldn't have killed Cottonmouth off.