Aziz Ansari has never shied away from talking about the big issues. Even in comedic settings like his stand-up routines and Parks and Rec role as the eccentric Tom Haverford, he never fails to bring up his beefs with homophobia, sexism and racism. But as of recent, the lack of minorities in television and film has taken centre stage in his crusade for equality.
While promoting his new series that he writes, directs, produces and acts in, Master Of None, he’s dropped more than one truth bomb at how inaccurate–and unfair–Hollywood’s representation of minorities are. Check out our five favourite below.
On Hollywood’s “everyman”
“Even at a time when minorities account for almost 40 per cent of the American population, when Hollywood wants an “everyman,” what it really wants is a straight white guy. But a straight white guy is not every man. The “everyman” is everybody.” —From his New York Times essay, Aziz Ansari on Acting, Race and Hollywood.
On the existence of coloured people before 2015
“Sure, things are moving in the right direction with Empire and Fresh Off the Boat. But, as far as I know, black people and Asian people were around before the last TV season. And whatever progress toward diversity we are making, the percentage of minorities playing lead roles is still painfully low.” —From Aziz Ansari on Acting, Race and Hollywood.
On stereotypical white roles
“Eric [Wareheim] is my token white friend and we gave him a stereotypical white role—He’s a fully-rounded character”. —From his Jimmy Fallon appearance
On relating to coloured characters in TV and film
I think there’s this fear of, “White people won’t relate to it.” But they will. I watch white people all the time and I relate to what they’re doing. These are universal problems. People watch CGI characters all the time, I think they can handle people of different ethnicities. —From The Daily Beast
On CBS’s diversity problem
Stephen Colbert pointed out that with Aziz on, The Late Show was 50 percent not white. To which Aziz responded, “This is like an all-time high for CBS.”
Nicely done, Aziz.