This incredible speech really sends a message about what we are missing on TV and in theatre. I laughed and felt an immediate moment of “I know that feeling” when he mentioned, his family shouting “ASIAN” whenever there was an Asian person on the telly. What’s significant about this, is my family did and do the exact same. A sad universal experience amongst non -whites. Riz is the voice we need for the Asian community, to really pave the way for more young Asian actors, to not give up hope. If you ask many Black and Asian individuals whether they enjoy theatre or even those who are passionate about acting why they won’t pursue it. The reason will not only be “my family wouldn’t allow it” but also “there are no roles for me”. Just to retract, why a lot of families of colour do not support art is not just because it may not be lucrative but they are aware of the hardship behind it. With any other career you already know you have to work 10 times harder than your white counterparts to be taken seriously, but in a career path where you are not even represented it’s just not feasible. I have spoken about the problem not just being inclusion but also the fact that the stories about people of colour are just not being picked up, Riz details this beautifully here by saying we can connect, cry and go through an emotional rollercoaster on stories about fish or bunnies but not with people of varying cultures. He describes diversity incredibly, by stating that what it really means is simply a little bit of salt or spice to sprinkle on top of the core. Riz says it’s time to stop living in the past, period drama (particularly in Britain) although interesting to some just don’t represent our culture, in fact they never have because people of colour have always been around. Where are the stories of soldiers of colour in Britain who were forced into war and lost their lives, for people who did not want them.
“Culture is a place where you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes and a one size shoe shop just doesn’t make any sense”