The rising star talks new film, 'City of Tiny Lights,' & being one half of hip-hop duo Swet Shop Boys.
As part of transatlantic duo Swet Shop Boys, he’s released an album of Run The Jewels-level hip-hop called ‘Cashmere’. And speaking at Channel 4’s annual diversity lecture in Parliament on March 2, he addressed MPs about the huge importance of representation in the media, telling them, “People are looking for the message that they belong, that they are part of something, that they are seen and heard and that despite – or perhaps because of – their experience, they are valued. They want to feel represented.”
Put more simply, last year on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Riz Ahmed said of himself: “This is what British looks like.” New London film noir City Of Tiny Lights chimes with that message – in it, he plays the chain-smoking, bourbon-blooded spook Tommy Akhtar, trawling north-west London’s seedy hotels, clubs, and the Islamic Youth League for leads on a missing-person case. It’s a nuanced role for a nuanced actor, but that’s nothing new – as he says himself, “I’ve always been picky”.
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