Kumail Nanjiani is an ambassador we need.
The 40 -year-old actor, writer, and proud nerd has been making audiences laugh for years in presents like “Silicon Valley, ” and he’s currently reaching a wider audience with his critically acclaimed film, “The Big Sick.”
During a segment of the 90 th Academy Awards, Nanjiani also offered a hilariously reassuring message to about why greater representation isn’t simply the right thing to do — it’s good business.
“There’s so many movies from different points of view that are making a ton of money, ” he said. “Don’t do it because it’s better for society and representation, even though it is. Do it because you’ll get rich. You’ll get that promotion, right? ”
It’s not about picking winners and losers. It’s about representation and diversity.
That’s what attained Nanjiani’s comment so refreshing: He managed to address the need for greater diversity in pop culture by cleverly pointing out that movies made by women and people of color — including “Black Panther, ” “Wonder Woman, ” and “Get Out” — have been huge makes over the past year.
Audiences, including the “straight white dudes” Nanjiani mentioned, are hungry for diverse tales and characters.
“Some of my favorite movies are by straight white dudes about straight white dudes, ” he said. ” Now, straight white dudes can watch movies starring me and you relate to that. It’s not that hard. I’ve done it my whole life.”
There’s nothing to fear about greater inclusion.
As with any social movement, there are those who continue to defy progression. Some critics are trying to tie the Oscars’ declining audience to an increased focus on social issues, but that deterioration has been happening for years. In an increasingly fractured media landscape, events like the Oscars merely aren’t the monolithic emblems of culture they once were, even if they’re still a big deal.
As Sarah Silverman said in her own segment of the video, “Some people, truly, in their hearts they are threatened, or they are scared. And there’s nothing to be scared of. It’s only equality.”
Nanjiani’s not afraid to speak out about the narratives and recognition that are sometimes overlooked.
Nanjiani, an immigrant from Pakistan, hasn’t merely had to grapple with his own identity in Hollywood. While critics lavished attention on him for his work in “The Big Sick”, he often procured himself forced to bring attention to his wife Emily V. Gordon, who co-wrote the movie. During the montage, he jokingly brought up another of his wife’s ideas 😛 TAGEND
“Emily, my spouse, had this idea where she wanted to start a website called ‘Muslims having fun, ‘ which is just, like, Muslims eating ice cream and riding roller coasters and laughing and having fun. Because she gets to see that, and the majority of members of America doesn’t.”
Audiences are speaking up with their billfolds and it turns out they love diversity.
Moviegoers are backing up what Nanjiani had to say about the monetary gains of greater representation in Hollywood. “Black Panther” has been so successful that it’s dedicating the latest “Star Wars” film a run for its fund. “Wonder Woman” was so beloved by fans and critics alike it helped pump life back into a fighting DC Comics film franchise. Meanwhile, “Get Out” turned the thriller genre on its head, making a huge amount of money and winning an Oscar for Jordan Peele’s original screenplay.
As Nanjiani so wisely explained, these aren’t threats to anyone, including “straight white guys.” They are exactly the kind of range audiences crave when they go to the movies for a compelling plot and characters they connect with.
Sometimes doing the right thing also happens to be very good for business.
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