Ramadan Mubarak! Ramadan Kareem! 🕋
We geek out and level up this week with the amazingly talented Osama Dorias and discuss the topic of representation of Muslims in Video Games🕹.
Osama is Lead Games Designer at Warner Brother Games Canada, authored the Independent Video Games programme at Dawson College (Qubec) , founded the Montreal Independent Games Awards and is President of the Muslim In Games Special Interest Group for the IGDA (International Games Developers Association).
Osama is also a prolific public speaker talking about Muslim Representation in Video Games at conferences around the world, most notably at the Games Developer Conference presenting a “How to Guide to Muslim Representation in Video Games”.
Personal journey into the world of video games
The ‘Good Muslim Vs Bad Muslim’ Trope
Parallels between the Film & TV and Games Industry
Well-Intentioned mistakes with representation and why being too afraid to try leads to poor representation
Bad guys in games: Zombies, Muslims and Nazis
Concept of 'Arabistan'
Is representation better in Indie Games? or Big Studio Games?
People of Colour in Play (organisation)
Muslim Representation in Graphic Novels
Osama’s Talk at the GDC “A How to Guide for Muslim Representation in Video Games”
Little Big Planet (2008)
Call of Duty Franchise (2007-)
Counter Strike (2000)
Terminator Salvation (2009)
Super Street Fighter IV (2010)
Tekken 7 (2015)
Deus Ex (2000)
Assassins Creed Franchise (2007-)
Spiderman (PS4 2018)
Good Pizza Great Pizza (2018)
MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries (2018)
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege: Year 5 Pass (2020)
After HOURS (2018)
It’s been a long time in the making but here we are with our Bollywood special.
We sit down (in our own homes) with the talented Mr Asim Burney, host and producer of the Khandaan podcast to talk about Muslim Representation in Bollywood.
· The Khandaan Podcast
· Who is Bollywood for?
· Sense of cultural betrayal – when did Bollywood start demonising Muslims?
· Perspectives on Bollywood from Muslims in the US, UK and Europe
· Are there any nuanced representations of Muslims
· Why don’t Muslim actors speak out?
· Shahrukh Khan’s article for New York Times, Outlook Turning Points: “Being a Khan”, 2013
· Aamir Khan’s statement on intolerance in India
o “I am alarmed, my wife suggested moving out of India” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/news/Aamir-Khan-on-intolerance-I-am-alarmed-my-wife-suggested-moving-out-of-India/articleshow/49897156.cms#
And here’s a full list of movies we cover in this episode:
· Kal Ho Na Ho (2003)
· Maine Pyar Kiya (1989)
· Delhi Belly (2011)
· Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)
· Sholay (1975)
· Darr (1993)
· Sarfarosh (1999)
· Border (1997)
· Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001)
· Andhadhun (2018) Positive Muslim Representation
· Gully Boy (2019) Positive Muslim Representation
· 24, True Lies, Jack Ryan
· Vada Chennai (2018)
· Trance (2020)
· Pakeezah (1972)
· Mughal-E-Azam (1960)
· Coolie (1983)
· Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya (1998)
· Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016)
· Dil Se (1998)
· Bharat (2019)
· Sultan (2016)
· Mr India (1987)
Hey hey Mary J ✊🏽
We’re back after a hiatus working on personal projects (both of us dabbling in a bit of writing on the forthcoming book, I Refuse To Condemn – edited by the talented Asim Qureshi) with a brand new episode. We’re chuffed to bits to be able to finally sit down (virtually) in this new socially isolated world with our guest Daniel York Loh. We discuss his start in the theatre, writing productions such as The Fu Manchu Complex which challenges the 'Yellow Peril' racist stereotype and talk through early years breaking into the film industry. We have an awesome wide ranging conversation that covers:
The Hounslow Art Collective and Parv Bancil’s influence on his career
The term ‘Ethnic Drag’, performing your ethnicity as opposed to acting
‘Chinese’ being a problematic term
Pan Asian Identities
The Oriental Stereotype and Orientalist white gaze
Founding BEATS and The ‘Living with the Lams’ controversy
Stereotypes of the ‘Model Minority’
Crazy Rich Asians being a significant yet problematic milestone
The Rep Sweats
And of course we end with the Question Time Guy
You can follow Daniel on Twitter at @danielfyork
Sup homeslice! ✊🏽
This episode we spend the day on set of Channel 4 comedy/drama Home Season 2 and have a chat with the wonderful Youssef Kerkour (who plays the lead, Sami) and Shibbir Ahmed (DIT on Home Season 1&2).
After spending the day behind the scenes, we have a conversation with Youssef and Shibbir in the warmth of Youssef’s trailer discussing the importance of being seen on screen, the challenges of authentically representing the refugee experience and what can be done to improve diversity on and off screen. We call each other habibi a lot.
Also No Spoiler Alert – we’re cool like that.
Exodus with Hassan Akkad
Follow Youssef @YoussefKerkour
Follow Shibbir @Shibbir1
And huge thanks to Ibrahim Al Jeffrey for his support on the day 🖖🏽 - follow him too @ibrahim_Al_Jeff
We’re back with Season 2!💥✊🏽
Did you miss us? We’re back with an amazing deep dive into Iranian cinema with the wonderful Dr. Zahra Khosroshahi, friend of the RizTest and scholar at the University of East Anglia. We talk about post revolutionary feminist representation in Iranian cinema, creativity with the backdrop of censorship and why Iranian Cinema is so much more than Persepolis.
Intro trailer: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)
Recommended feature films by Rakhshan Banietemad
Blue Veiled (1995)
The May Lady (1999)
Under the Skin of the City (2001)
The May Lady (2006)
Other Iranian directors mentioned by Zahra:
Must watch Diaspora Iranian films:
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Ana Lily Amirpour, 2014)
Under the Shadow (Babak Anvari, 2016)
Interview with Rakhshan Banietemad
Kay Armatage, Zahra Khosroshahi
Feminist Media Histories, Vol. 3 No. 1, Winter 2017; (pp. 140-155) DOI: 10.1525/fmh.2017.3.1.140
Iranian Film Festival (London)
A platform for watching Iranian films
Gholam (2017) is on Amazon to rent/buy
If interested in blogs/content about sustainability, check out:
Sadia and Shaf catch up on what has been going on in the world of representation, what we've been up to in the little break we've had and what we have planned in the coming weeks.
Bradford Literature Festival Controversy
Bradford in Our Own Words Event
Hussein Kesvani's book Follow Me, Akhi
Collaborations with Riz Ahmed at the CAA Amplify conference
Youssef Kerkour and Channel 4 show, Home
Francis Agnoli's write up on DC Universe animation, Young Justice
Future Podcast Guests
We meet with long time supporter and ally of the RizTest, Nina Bhagwat to discuss the nuances and importance of Off Screen Diversity. Nina is an accomplished TV professional having established, commissioned and championed a host of diversity initiatives. Nina is how Head of Diversity and Inclusion at the Warner Music Group and Chair of the Steering Committee at the Creative Industries Alliance. We double down on Off Screen diversity and how this shapes the narrative of what we see on screen.
Lenny Henry's speech on Milli Vanilli Diversity
Diamond UK Data Collection
Directors UK Reports:
Who’s Calling the Shots?
Adjusting the Colour Balance
Being ‘Acceptably Brown’ in the industry
Telling it like it is Vs earning cash to pay the bills
The BAME drain
Creative Industries Alliance
Isn't BBC Bodyguard shocking?!
Eid Mubarak! 🌙🎉
We link up with the hilarious Tez Ilyas who is currently living his best life co-starring in the second season of Man Like Mobeen (recommissioned for a third - boom!) and smashing it on all fronts. We drink tea, eat fruit and discuss Tez’s origin story, current projects and exciting projects on the horizon.
Sadia and Shaf also catch up after Eid for a long overdue news round up, discuss the absolute state of the new live-action Aladdin movie, Museums engaging with wider communities and biases in Artificial Intelligence.
Algorithms of Opression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (Safiya Umoja Noble)
Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms and Other Threats of Toxic Tech (Sara Wachter-boettch)
Talk to Me: Amazon, Google, Apple and the Race for Voice-Controlled AI (James Vlahos)
Friend of the show, Anisa Khalifa's write up of Aladdin: https://anisakhalifa.com/2019/05/27/film-review-the-new-aladdins-updated-casting-cant-resolve-its-flawed-foundations/
Tez’s childhood and education
Moving to London and first forays into Comedy
Man Like Mobeen and bromance with Guz Khan
“Muslim Comedian is not a genre of comedy”
Telling your story and staying true to your roots
White Fragility (I know right?)
How not to have a discussion about Brexit
The Tez O Clock Show and what the future beckons
This Ep is *next* level 💯
We are huge super-fans of our guest, Professor Evelyn Alsultany who is an Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
We speak to the good prof and delve deep into her experience researching Anti-Arab and Anti-Muslim representations in film and the media.
Professor Evelyn's background and childhood
The representations of Muslims Pre and Post 9/11
The illusions of a post-race society
Simplified complex representations, what this is and what it means
We dissect the below tropes:
- The Sympathetic Oppressed Muslim Woman
- The Demonised Muslim Man
- The Patriotic Arab/ Muslim Character
- The Nominal Muslim (The Acceptable Muslim)
The role of satire and comedy to highlight and magnify problematic themes
Dr Jack Shaheen - his work, his insights and his legacy
The Mena Arts Advocacy Group, Azita Ghanizada
Our workshop at the University of East Anglia
The Arabs and Muslims in the Media: Race and Representation after 9/11 (Critical Cultural Communication) - Professor Evelyn Alsultany
Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World - Edward Said
Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, and U.S. Interests in the Middle East since1945 (American Crossroads) - Melani Mcalister
Reel Bad Arabs - Dr Jack Shaheen
Films & Shows discussed:
London is Falling
Master of None
The Big Sick
It’s Ramadan 🌙 and this episode is ALL about the hit Hulu show Ramy, devised by and starring Ramy Youssef.
Shaf and Sadia are honoured to be joined by Sahar Jahani, one of the writers from the show who shares amazing behind the scenes insights into what goes into writing a show like Ramy and representing authentic Muslim experiences.
We discuss with Sahar:
The reception of the Ramy show so far
Who is the show for? (What the show is, and what it isn’t)
Sahar's career to date
The inner workings of the writer’s room and the process of how decisions are made and storylines are formed
Ramy’s story arc
The role of Muslim women in the show 🧕🏽
Telling authentic Muslim stories and tough storyline decisions
Working with comedians and keeping it real halal
We love hearing your feedback, so please get in touch on @theriztest or email in on email@example.com and leave us your thoughts!
This episode is sick.
Sadia and Shaf kick off by catching up about holidaying in Bosnia, Aziz Ansari's new live show and the problematic Fatwa podcast on BBC Sounds.
We are deeeelighted to introduce a Riz Test first - we have the honour of discussing film & #riztest pass Eaten by Lions with reviewer Rana (@rararana) but also writer/ director Jason Wingard (@jmbmedia) & star of the film Antonio Aakeel (@AntonioAakeel).
We discuss themes addressed in the film, the problems faced by actors when offered problematic roles & why representation should be easy.
https://www.eatenbylions.com/ - Go see it! It's genuinely hilarious and it passes the Riz Test
Get in touch on @theriztest or email in on firstname.lastname@example.org - we'd love to hear your feedback!
New episode who dis?
Sadia (@educ_research) and Shaf (@shaftag) are delighted to be joined by the super talented New York Times culture & NBA writer, hilarious Stand Up Comedian and former CBS journalist covering the Trump presidential campaign - Sopan Deb (@sopandeb).
This episode is all about representation of Muslims and minorities in comedy - we talk through Sopan's origin story, covering the Trump campaign, the intersection of politics and comedy, Brexit (I know, I know), his book, being authentic and telling your own story, how it's cool to be brown - and we talk through some of Sopan's biggest influences and inspirations.
We cover so much in this amazing chat, the shout outs are below:
· Guz Khan (@GuzKhanOfficial)
· Tez Ilyas (@tezilyas)
· Paul Chowdry @paulchowdhry
· Bilal Zafar (@Zafarcakes)
· Omar Hamdi (@Omar_Hamdi_Com)
· Hasan Minhaj (@hasanminhaj)
· Aziz Ansari (@azizansari)
· Russel Peters
· Ramy Yousef (@ramy)
· Aasif mandvi (@aasif)
· Dean Obeidallah (@DeanObeidallah)
· Maysoon Zayid (@maysoonzayid)
· Dave Merheje (@DaveMerheje)
· Mo amer (@realmoamer)
· Riz Ahmed (@rizmc)
· Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling)
Get in touch on @theriztest or email in on email@example.com - we'd love to hear your feedback!
P.s. Intro Music? Hasan Minhaj's Netflix Special
It's April and this episode we're all about Korean Dramas (KDrama)
We're so excited to present a collaboration with the KDrama experts - the amazing Dramas Over Flowers Podcast (@dramasoverflow). We're joined by talented Anisa (@anisakhalifa_) and Saya (@notnowsaya) in a fascinating discussion around representation of Muslims in Korean Dramas and Variety Shows.
In our many tangents we discuss everything from the history of migration in Korea to positive and negative representations of Muslims and minorities in KDrama (and everything in between).
The below are the shows we discuss in this episode:
Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers)
Scent of a Woman
Misaeng (Incomplete Life)
Two Days and One Night (Variety Show)
My Neighbour, Charles (Variety Show)
Hello Counsellor (Variety Show)
Man Who Dies to Live
It’s March! Sadia and Shaf kickoff the podcast with a news roundup; New Zealand, CBBC and the Living with the Lams controversy and the latest updates from the RizTest. We’re Joined by Naeem Ibn Farooq (@IFNaeem - we totally get his name wrong) with a deep dive into Muslim representation in the world of Anime.
Here’s a list of the Anime we discuss in this episode:
A Silent Voice
Grave of the Fire Flies
KiKi’s Delivery Service
Shoukoku no Altair
Introducing The RizTest. Founders Shaf (@shaftag) and Sadia (@educ_research) talk through how the project came about, what our goals are and what we've been up to over the last few months. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram on @theriztest. For reviews, enquiries and just to say hi, then hit us up on firstname.lastname@example.org. #riztest