Riz Ahmed Makes History by Winning Emmy
By Riaz Haq

Emmy award wins this year by British-Pakistani Rizwan Ahmed and Indian-American Aziz Ansari make the duo the first South Asian men to win the prestigious television academy award. It's the equivalent of Oscars given each year by the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA).

Rizwan Ahmed, an actor, rapper and activist also known as Riz MC, won his Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for HBO’s The Night of. The show tackles issues of racism and Islamophobia in the United States.

Riz has seen a meteoric rise starting with films like 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist', ‘Four Lions,’ ‘The Road to Guantanamo’ and, more recently, the Star Wars Anthology film ‘Rogue One’. In April 2017, Ahmed was featured on the cover of Time magazine as one of its 100 most influential people in the world.
Riz was born in London in 1982 to British Pakistani parents who had migrated from Karachi in the 1970s. He is a great grandson of Sir Shah Muhammad Sulaiman, the first British Indian to become the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court during the British Raj. He is a graduate of Oxford University with a degree in PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics). He later studied acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
“It’s always strange reaping the rewards of a story that’s based on real world suffering,” Riz said in his acceptance speech at the Emmy's award ceremony. “But if this show has shown a light on some of the prejudice in our society, Islamophobia, some of the injustice in our justice system, then maybe that’s something.”
Besides Riz Ahmed and Aziz Ansari, the Emmy Awards show also featured Pakistani-American Kumail Nanjiani, the star of "The Big Sick", on the red carpet.
Although Riz has begun “inching towards the Promised Land,” he still gets stopped and searched before boarding a plane every time he flies to the US, he wrote. One person’s win does not fix “a systemic issue of inclusion,” Ahmed told the Washington Post backstage after the Emmys. “I think that’s something that happens slowly over time.”




Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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