Riz Ahmed tells British Parliament that diversity in media could help fight extremism

On Thursday, March 2, actor Riz Ahmed delivered a speech to British Parliament about the need for broader representation in British television as a keynote speaker representing Channel 4’s diversity initiative. He argued that a lack of diversity could empower extremists like ISIS.

Sign up to get Gold Derby’s free newsletter
with experts’ latest predictions and breaking news

“Every time you see yourself reflected in the media it’s a message that you matter,” he said. “If we fail to represent, we are in danger of losing people to extremism … 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?”

Ahmed has risen to fame in recent years, and it’s not lost on him that many of those opportunities have come to him from American productions like “Nightcrawler,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Jason Bourne” and the HBO miniseries “The Night Of.” “It takes American remakes of British shows to cast someone like me,” he challenged. “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.'”

Ahmed was born in London and is of Pakistani descent. Last year he earned Golden Globe and SAG nominations for his performance as a young New Yorker accused of murder in “The Night Of.” And “Rogue One,” which boasts a multicultural cast, has grossed more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office.

Predict the Emmy nominees now; change them until July 13

Be sure to make your Emmy predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our Emmy odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on July 13. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums.

More News from GoldDerby