"My mother is an ordained minister. I'm a Muslim," he said in his acceptance speech. "She didn’t do black flips when I told her I converted 17 years ago."
Still, Ali continued, "I’m able to see her. She’s able to see me. We love each other...and that stuff is minutia. It’s not that important."
The "Moonlight" actor accepted the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role.
In the critically-acclaimed film, Ali plays Juan, a drug dealer who mentors a young man who is bullied at school and whose mother is addicted to drugs.
In his acceptance speech, Ali said that he learned a lot from working on the film.
"When you're persecuted, [people] fold into themselves," he said.
Yet his character "saw a young man folding into himself as a result of the persecution from his community," and took "the opportunity to uplift him...to accept him. I hope we do a better job of that."