A lifetime of traveling in brown skin and with a Muslim name have taught Riz Ahmed to expect the indignity of being racially profiled. At borders and airports, immigration officers see a potential terrorist where there's an actor. For years, casting directors did much the same, typecasting him as a jihadi or a cab driver or some other racial stereotype. The Pakistani-British actor and rapper detailed, and connected, those experiences in a recent essay, published on The Guardian and excerpted from a forthcoming anthology. This sort of sociopolitical reflection through the lens of identity exists in much of Riz's work elsewhere. It's a significant thread in the music he makes with Himanshu Suri, b.k.a. Heems, as the rap duo Swet Shop Boys. "T5," a recent single from their forthcoming Cashmere LP, is a pulsing meditation on airports as centers of socially sanctioned racism. The video for the song, premiering here today and produced by The FADER, puts Riz and Heems at the mercy of TSA and...
Fader Magazine / Rawiya Kameir