Riz Ahmed warns lack of diversity on TV will drive young to IsisPersonally, I saw both of those movies, along with Nightcrawler in which he plays some kind of pseud0-Chicano, and this guy made zero impression on me. I had forgotten he existed.
Ahmed, known for his roles in Four Lions and the the Star Wars prequel Rogue One,
said the lack of diverse voices and stories onscreen led people from minority backgrounds to “switch off and retreat to fringe narratives, to bubbles online and sometimes even off to Syria”.I, Riz Ahmed, am almost as asymmetrically funny-looking as Adam Driver is, and we were both on Girls.
Delivering Channel 4’s annual diversity lecture in Parliament, Ahmed said that in the light of the rise in racial and religious hate crimes post-Brexit, TV had a pivotal role to play in ensuring different communities felt heard, and valued, in British society.
“In the mind of the Isis recruit, he’s the next James Bond right? Have you seen some of those Isis propaganda videos, they are cut like action movies. Where is the counter narrative? Where are we telling these kids they can be heroes in our stories, that they valued?”
Yet he gets to play Darth Vader Jr. in Star Wars movies, while I’m stuck playing Bodhi Rook.
Like Idris Elba, who delivered the lecture last year, Ahmed used the platform to criticise the fact he still had to go to the US to land major parts.Trust me, I really wanted to spend my entire life doing Coronation Street and appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and living in a fourth floor walk-up flat. But instead I had to go to Hollywood to be in a Star Wars movie.
“It takes American remakes of British shows to cast someone like me,” he said. “We end up going to America to find work. I meet with producers and directors here and they say ‘we don’t have anything for you, all our stories are set in Cornwall in the 1600s’.”That bastard Shakespeare.
Ahmed said British television still perceived diversity as a “frill or an added extra” and that if it is not addressed immediately, it would create more divisions across the country.Immediately!
… He added: “If we don’t step up and tell a representative story … we are going to start losing British teenagers to the story that the next chapter in their lives is written with Isis in Syria.” …Look how Daniel Day-Lewis gets all the good roles.
Ahmed called on the government to act, particularly to overturn the unconscious bias in hiring that was preventing talented people from black, Asian and minority backgrounds rising up the ranks. He said public money should be tied to representation targets for broadcasters to break the cycle of top jobs going mainly to white men.
But his dad was Poet Laureate of England and his mom’s dad owned a big movie studio.
Then I could star in Lincoln 2.