Sure, we still have months before this year is over. But we’re ready to go ahead and pronounce 2016 the year of Aziz Ansari. It all started when he released last year’s mold-breaking book, Modern Romance. Then, along came Master of None, Ansari’s funny-serious show exploring issues like racial inequality, millennial wanderlust and generational differences.
This year, he’s using his platform to become one of our most important social critics. While accepting a Peabody Award for his work on Master of None, Ansari addressed the lack of diversity in Hollywood.
“[Diversity] is not, ‘Hey, let’s give this white protagonist a brown friend!’ No. It’s, ‘Let’s have a show where there’s a token white guy.’”
Writing for The New York Times, Ansari also took on hostile rhetoric against Muslim families—like his.
“Being Muslim American already carries a decent amount of baggage. In our culture, when people think ‘Muslim,’ the picture in their heads is not usually of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or the kid who left the boy band One Direction.”