Riz Ahmed: I never expected I’d be able to have a career Riz Ahmed (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Oscar-nominee and Emmy-winner Riz Ahmed is probably the only actor who has been vocal about the toxic portrayals of Muslim characters in TV and films. A few months ago, he dressed down Hollywood and the wider film industry for portraying Muslim characters in bad light almost every time.
In June, the British actor launched a multi-layered initiative for Muslim representation in media, in partnership with the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, the Ford Foundation, and Pillars Fund. Powered by USC Annenberg’s new study on Muslim representation in media, the coalition created the Blueprint for Muslim Inclusion, as well as the Pillars Artist Fellowship.
Using research that he was directly involved in commissioning, Ahmed showed how Muslims, who make up almost a quarter of the world’s population, are either “invisible or villains” in cinema.
Talking to a publication, the Sound of Metal (2019) actor said that he is not trying to attack anyone personally by calling out “a collective blind spot”. “If you are going to say something, say it, I guess, right? I am not trying to attack anyone personally; it’s just about trying to call out a collective blind spot. So, am I worried it would have a knockback on my career? I dunno…”
He added, “You know, this is all just a bonus. I never expected I would be able to have a career. They have not noticed I have snuck in. They are going to throw me out any minute. It is probably that kind of thing. Nick all the sweets while you can. Trash the place. Tell them whatever you want. Maybe there is some of that going on.”
Riz Ahmed can be currently seen in Encounter which is out now on Amazon Prime.