Riz Ahmed Made a Powerful Statement at the 2022 Met Gala

When the dress code of the 2022 Met Gala—“Gilded Glamour,” to pair with the “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” exhibit at the Met’s Costume Institute—was announced in April, most attendees rushed to begin preparing sartorial agendas that relied heavily upon ruffles, glitz, and old-school panache.

This wasn’t the case for British-Pakistani actor and musician Riz Ahmed, who arrived at the event in a silk shirt and undershirt that he topped off with an understated Cartier necklace, saying, “This is an homage to the immigrant workers who kept the Gilded Age going.”

Ahmed’s nod to the reality of the Gilded Age—a time in American history when rapid economic growth benefited the wealthy few, while leading to rampant exploitation for the majority of immigrant workers—was a powerful evocation of the very real persecution that immigrants, and particularly immigrants of color, still face in the U.S. and elsewhere, with the effects of racist Gilded Age-era policies like the Chinese Exclusion Act still affecting how Asian immigrant groups are treated today.

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