Riz Ahmed spoke to the British government about representation, and he nailed it

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Riz Ahmed being perfectRiz Ahmed being perfect

Image: Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock

2016%2f09%2f16%2fc4%2fhttpsd2mhye01h4nj2n.cloudfront.netmediazgkymde1lza5.af8ecBy Proma Khosla2017-03-03 16:56:57 UTC

Don't you love when your fave isn't problematic? 

Riz Ahmed, the latest actor to be in literally everything, stopped by Britain's House of Commons on Thursday to speak to the Culture Minister about the importance of diversity in the media.

"Prominent successes can mask structural problems," Ahmed said in a speech peppered with film and TV references and hard facts about minority representation. "Obama was in the White House and you still needed the Black Lives Matter movement. I'm getting on a plane to L.A. to attend the Star Wars premiere, and I still get that second search before I board the plane."

Ahmed's speech pointed to the rise of hate crimes, which surged in the U.S. after Donald Trump's election and increased 326% in the U.K. since last year's Brexit. In his speech on diversity, Ahmed stressed the importance of minority individuals seeing themselves and their stories on screen and as part of a national narrative.

He zeroed in on British period dramas, which have become a staple of the nation's major networks and a surefire international export (Downton Abbey, The Crown, Victoria...you get it), but feature barely any people of color in front of or behind the camera.

Before he was in an international cinematic spotlight, Ahmed's work as a writer and rapper was full of sharp political and cultural observations. 

"I'm here to ask for your help," Ahmed told Parliament. "I'm here to ask for your help in finding a new national story that embraces and empowers as many of us as possible, rather than excluding us and alienating large sections of the population."

Watch the full speech below:

Topics: Entertainment, Movies, parliament, riz ahmed, UK, Video, Watercooler

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