Thursday, June 27, 2019

Riz Ahmed Reveals He Missed Star Wars Celebration Because He Was Stopped By Airport Security

By: Dominic Jones

If you've ever attended a Star Wars Celebration, Comic Con, or similar event, you know that guest cancellations happen at almost every single one. Usually it's because of work commitments or for unexpected personal reasons.  However, for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story star Riz Ahmed, who had to cancel his appearrance at last April's Star Wars Celebration Chicago, the reason was very different and one that everyone should be outraged about.

Ahmed appeared at CAA's annual Amplify event, which focuses on diversity in the entertainment industry, and revealed that he missed Celebration because, and not for the first time in his life, he was prevented from getting on his flight and submitted to questioning by airport security.  Per The Hollywood Reporter,

"Ahmed discussed how for 15 years he's been consistently stopped, searched and interviews at airports because of his race, and just last month, was headed to a Star Wars convention in Chicago when Homeland Security stopped him from boarding the plane."

The actor, who played Bodhi Rook in the 2016 film, spoke about the need for action in the face of racial profiling and the rise of Islamophobia in Donald Trump's America, saying,

"[Comedian and Amplify event host Hasan Minaj] can win a Peabody, I can win an Emmy, Ibtihaj Muhammad can go to the Olympics, but some of these obstacles are systemic and we can’t really face them alone, we need your help. I’m basically here to ask for your help, because it’s really scary to be a Muslim right now, super scary. I’ve often wondered, is this going to be the year when they round us up, if this is going to be the year they put Trump’s registry into action. If this is going to be the year they ship us all off."

This isn't the first time Ahmed has spoken about his experiences at airports.  In a 2017 appearance on The Tonight Show, he told the story of "The Ahmed 3" whom he met at an airport when called for a secondary search at a US airport,

During the convention, the Star Wars Celebration social media posted that Ahmed had to cancel his appearance "due to circumstances beyond his control".  Yeah, you can say that again.

Obviously, it sucks that Ahmed wasn't able to attend the convention and fans of his were robbed of the chance to meet him.  More importantly, however, it speaks to something chilling that has been going on for far too long in our society.  Every single day people are treated with suspicion when they have done wrong, but it's assumed they did because of the colour of their skin or because of their religion.  Because if this happening to a guy a who had a starring role in the biggest movie of the year two years ago, and whose face was all over posters and magazines all over the world, and whose character you buy as an action figure, then you know it is happening to people everywhere.

Star Wars has always been a story that celebrates and promotes inclusivity, where people of all backgrounds come together to work towards the greater good, and where love and courage triumph over hate and fear.  Perhaps no movie in the franchise embodies these ideas better than Rogue One.  And while Star Wars fandom is far from perfect and needs a lot of work, just ask Ahmed Best and Kelly Marie Tran, it's important that fans remember the messages and the lessons of the films and apply them to their lives.

Follow The Star Wars Underworld on Twitter @TheSWU for more updates about this story and other breaking Star Wars news.


Mad said...

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