Riz Ahmed has explained why he prefers to use the term “representation”, rather than “diversity”, when discussing inclusivity in the media.
The ‘Venom’ actor, who made history in 2017 when he was the first Muslim and first South-Asian to win an Emmy for acting, broke down the issue during an appearance on ‘The Daily Show’.
“I don’t like to talk about ‘diversity’,” he explained. “I feel like it sounds like an added extra. It sounds like the fries, not the burger, you know? It sounds like something on the side - you’ve got your main thing going on, and yeah, you sprinkle a little bit of diversity on top of that.”
Riz continued: “That’s not what it’s about for me. It’s about representation. And representation is absolutely fundamental in terms of what we expect from our culture, and from our politics.
“We all want to feel represented, we all want to feel seen and heard and valued.”
His speech was then met with applause from the audience, while host Trevor Noah told him he’d done a “great job” of explaining himself.
Riz bagged two Emmy nominations in 2017, for his guest appearance in ‘Girls’ and leading role in the crime drama ‘The Night Of’, the latter of which he won, beating stiff competition from Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert De Niro and Ewan McGregor.
In addition to his acting and activism, Riz has made a name for himself under the rap moniker Riz MC, even winning an MTV Video Music Award for his involvement in the reworked ‘Hamilton’ song ‘Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)’.