Watch Riz Ahmed Speak To U.K. Parliament About The Importance Of Diversity On TV

“People are looking for the message that they belong, that they are part of something, and that they are valued.”


Riz Ahmed gave a speech in the House of Parliament in London yesterday in which he stressed the importance of giving black and minority ethnic actors a platform in a post-Brexit Britain. Ahmed gave Channel 4’s annual diversity lecture in which he warned that TV is alienating young people and could lead them, in severe cases, toward extremism.

“If we fail to represent, we are in danger of losing people to extremism,” The Guardian quotes him as having said, adding that young people who feel unrepresented could “switch off and retreat to fringe narratives, to bubbles online and sometimes even off to Syria. We are going to start losing British teenagers to the story that the next chapter in their lives is written with ISIS in Syria.”

Last year Ahmed starred in HBO's The Night Of, a U.S. remake of British series Criminal Justice. During his speech he said that working abroad should not be what it takes for British actors to get on TV.

"It takes American remakes of British shows to cast someone like me. 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’. People are looking for the message that they belong, that they are part of something, that they are seen and heard and that despite, or perhaps because of, their experience, they are valued. They want to feel represented. In that task we have failed."

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Check out a clip of Ahmed's speech above.

March 03, 2017
Watch Riz Ahmed Speak To U.K. Parliament About The Importance Of Diversity On TV