Earlier this month, “The Night Of” actor Riz Ahmed penned a stirring essay for the book “The Good Immigrant,” about living as a British-Pakistani man and getting hassled by security at airports. An excerpt of his letter was published on The Guardian where he compared being stereotyped when he was traveling to auditing for roles. It’s an unfortunate experience that he took as source of inspiration for his music he makes with Himanshu Suri, also known as Heems.
Known as the Swet Shop Boys, the rap duo just released the music video for their single, “T5.” The song is about being racially profiled at airports and shows Riz and Heems being searched by TSA and border control officers at JFK’s Terminal 5. Check out The Fader-produced video below.
Among one of the most powerful points in Ahmed’s essay was when he recalled starting his acting career and having his first film, Michael Winterbottom’s “The Road to Guantánamo,” honored at a film festival. That moment later became bittersweet after he was attacked by a British intelligence officer at an airport.
“When it won a prestigious award at the Berlin Film Festival, we were euphoric. For those who saw it, the inmates went from orange jumpsuits to human beings,” he explained. “But airport security did not get the memo. Returning to the glamour of Luton Airport after our festival win, ironically named British intelligence officers frogmarched me to an unmarked room where they insulted, threatened, and then attacked me.”
While things might have change a bit for the actor after landing his “big job,” many others still face the same scrutiny and the duo use their voice to touch on these important topics.
The Swet Shop Boys released their first EP “Swet Shop” in 2014 and their new album “Cashmere,” which features “T5,” will be released October 14. The duo is expected to go on a six-city tour at the beginning of November where they will perform in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and London, among other cities.
Ahmed was last seen in HBO’s miniseries “The Night Of” and Benedict Andrews’s “Una” starring Rooney Mara. He’ll next be seen as Bodhi Rook in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”