It is with great pleasure that I invite everyone to join me in; I dare say, stanning Rizwan Ahmed, a British artist and Primetime Emmy Award winner. Why now? You still got time to jump on this train before he is nominated for Golden Globes and/or Academy Award for his lead acting performance in Sound of Metal. Ahmed has already won the 2021 Gotham Award for his performance, generating significant Oscars buzz.
Personally, I have been a fan of Ahmed’s for a few years now. He stole each scene he was in for me in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Shortly after, I came across his 2016 essay from The Good Immigrant, which was published by The Guardian. In it, Ahmed eloquently writes about being pigeonholed into playing terrorists as a Brown man. The issue of representation on the silver screen appears to have been particularly close to Ahmed’s heart, as he also spoke to the British parliament back in 2017 about the dangers of gatekeeping non-white, and particularly British Muslim, people from the popular media in the country.
In 2020, Ahmed also created something unique and deserving of our attention: The Long Goodbye, his second album released on his own record label Mongrel Records. The Long Goodbye is about a painful breakup, which we all can relate to, right? What’s unique about this is that the breakup that inspired Ahmed so much is a breakup between him and his home country. The album poignantly lays out Ahmed’s emotions following the Brexit and being a second-generation immigrant in a country where grievances about immigration played a significant role in the invocation of Article 50. The Long Goodbye is an important piece of art that gives us a perspective of realizing the extent of deep-rooted xenophobia and racism of your home country as a British-Pakistani man.
Any interview with Ahmed that you may stumble upon (I am particularly a fan of the 2018 New York Times Carvell Wallace’s profile) will depict him as a thoughtful and endlessly creative person who is rightfully concerned about the state of the world and is willing to do something about it by doing what he does best – making art, be it a film or a music album. This level of thoughtfulness that seems apparent in everything Ahmed comes out with makes him a star to watch out for, especially as his Left Handed Films studio has recently inked a deal with Amazon.
And let’s face it, the man is also ridiculously good-looking.
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