• Saturday, July 13, 2024

Entertainment

What comes after conversations about representation is a sense of freedom: Riz Ahmed

On the work front, Ahmed will next be seen in Relay, Hamlet, and The Phoenician Scheme.

Riz Ahmed (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Mohnish Singh

Riz Ahmed, British actor, rapper, and activist, has long been at the forefront of conversations about representation in the entertainment industry. With his insightful commentary and award-winning performances, Ahmed has highlighted the importance of diversity on screen more often than not.

However, he believes that the ultimate goal goes beyond representation—it’s about achieving a sense of freedom to simply be oneself, without the burden of stereotypes or the pressure to represent an entire community.

“I think what comes after conversations about representation is a sense of freedom to just be you—a freedom to transcend any of these labels. For me, now, it’s about moving past representing and presenting yourself. It’s a beautiful struggle and a deep sense of meaning to have your work tied to something bigger. If we’re purely thinking about the cultural impact and sociopolitical relevance of what we do, then we are disconnecting from ourselves,” he tells a publication.

The actor further adds, “The great irony with acting is that it allows you to defy all boundaries and any sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’. If you’re really captivated by the story, you will find yourself in it, even though you have nothing to do with that character or share no similarities or life experiences. And so, it’s ironic that to get to that point, you have to deal with labels of identity, conversations about representation, and people who are underrepresented.

“I guess what I’m thinking about more and more is not, ‘What does my community need from me? What do I wish existed in the culture?’ But ‘What do I need from me? Where do I want to explore this sense of freedom’?”

On the work front, Ahmed will next be seen in Relay, Hamlet, and The Phoenician Scheme.

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