NEW YORK: British-Pakistani actor Rizwan ‘Riz’ Ahmed made history Sunday night by becoming the first male actor of Asian descent to win an Emmy award for acting.
According to media reports, Ahmed bagged Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series award for his portrayal of Nasir "Naz" Khan in HBO's eight-part production ‘The Night Of’, which follows the story of a young Pakistani college student who becomes embroiled in a complex New York City murder case with cultural and political overtones.
"I want to say it is always strange reaping the rewards of a story based on real world suffering," Ahmed said in his Emmys acceptance speech. "But if this show has shown a light on some of the prejudice in our societies, xenophobia, some of the injustice in our justice system, then maybe that is something."
The actor has been very vocal about how the representation of minorities can shift negative perspectives.
"In terms of US and the UK, I’m really proud to be a Londoner. I’m really proud to be from the UK. I’m also really aware that actors of color often have more opportunity in the US, but I think ultimately now we see that TV in particular is a global medium," he said in the Emmys press room after his win.
"People are streaming shows or watching them all around the world. Hopefully we’ll see a globalization of our storytelling," he added.
Before Ahmed, only one actor of Asian descent had ever won an acting Emmy: The Good Wife's Archie Panjabi, who won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2010.