Film Forward

Aziz Ansari And Alan Yang Talk Diversity In Hollywood While Accepting A Peabody For 'Master Of None'

"Token White guy" is a catchy term.

When Netflix released Aziz Ansari's Master of None late last year, critics raved about the show's diversity in racial representation — it even tackled the issue head-on in one of its episodes — as much as what the show had to offer as a rom-com series. Last week, Ansari and co-creator and writer Alan Yang nabbed the prestigious Peabody Award for Master of None, and in their acceptance speeches, Ansari and Yang both addressed Hollywood's ongoing problem with diversity. 

"George Foster Peabody was a very progressive, forward-thinking man," Yang told the audience in his speech. "He was also born in 1852. So if you told him that someday an award would be given in his name to an Asian man and an Indian man for creating a show that is magically beamed to people's computers and phones whenever they want, he definitely would have been very confused and terrified."

Ansari then thanked Netflix and Universal for giving he and Yang a space to tell their stories. He said:

I think they really seem to get what diversity really is. It's 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." And that's what it is.  


He also couldn't resist taking a swipe at other award shows (ahem, the Academy Awards) for their failure to honor work that deserves recognition. "Thank you to the Peabodys, it really is a special honor, because, let's be honest, so many award shows fuck up!" Ansari said. "They don't give people awards that should probably get awards. And the Peabody is great because it seems like you guys actually watched all our shit, and decided it was good! There was no schmoozing, no weird-ass dinners. And I think all being honored here really appreciate that. Thank you."


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.