This GQ cover and interview came out exactly three years ago, and it would be an essential part of having a happy Friday even if it were just the photos alone. Mahershala Ali’s smile is a beacon. It lights him up and everything around him, and you will catch joy from every frame.

However, it is also a treat because his interview is — as Jessica noted at the time — “beautifully written, reflective, moving, and ultimately hopeful,” touching on subjects that have turned out to be deeply pertinent today in a sobering way. Like:

“I think African-Americans have a very convoluted relationship with patriotism,” he says. “The fact is, we essentially were the abused child. We still love the parent, but you can’t overlook the fact that we have a very convoluted relationship with the parent. I absolutely love this country, but like so many people have some real questions and concerns about how things have gone down over the years and where we’re at. And that’s from a place of love, because I want the country to be what it says it is on paper.”

[…] “I sincerely believe we have the capacity to actually make this country great,” he says. “There are enough people, there are enough believers out there, there are enough intelligent, empathetic souls out there that want good for the whole. I don’t know if it’ll happen in my lifetime, but I believe in time the pendulum will swing in the right direction.”

I hope we are on the cusp of doing right by his vision.