Representation in popular culture is a complex issue that has been rightfully brought to the forefront of discussion these days, with many actors and other media figures weighing in. The latest of these is Aziz Ansari, whose new show, Master of None, hits Netflix on Nov. 6.
At EW Fest on Saturday, Ansari spoke about the difficulties that many minority actors and actresses face on a panel entitled “Indians on TV.” He used the example of accent work, as many Indian actors are required to feign an exaggerated accent in order to book work.
“Should I do an accent? Should I not do the accent? That’s a thing that a lot of minority actors grapple with,” Ansari said.
Incidentally, he and his Master of None costar Ravi Patel have auditioned for some of the same jobs, and because Patel was willing to do an accent, they occasionally had very different outcomes.
“I once was asked to audition for Transformers with Michael Bay. And it was a role for a call-center guy who does an accent. And I was like, ‘No, I’m not doing it,’ ” Ansari recalled. “Ravi was like, ‘I’ll do it!’ And Ravi did it, and he probably made decent money being the call-center guy.”
Still, Ansari admits that a job is a job, and at the end of the day, sometimes you have to bite the bullet and do what you have to do to pay your rent.
“I understand,” he said. “You have to work and some people don’t think it’s a problem. You do it.”
It is exciting to see a star as talented and culturally engaged as Ansari have such success in his field, but it is still so discouraging to see so many talented minority actors pushed to the side by Hollywood. Hopefully with the outspoken efforts of Ansari and those like him, things can start to change.
(Via Entertainment Weekly)