Riz Ahmed climbs Asian power list – but can’t topple Sadiq Khan

The actors Riz Ahmed and Dev Patel are the biggest climbers on the new list of the most influential Asian people in Britain, which is topped by Sadiq Khan for a second successive year after he took on Donald Trump and Uber.

The mayor of London beat the cabinet ministers Sajid Javid and Priti Patel to the top of the power list, published on Thursday, which features 101 names. But it is notable for a shift away from dominance by male entrepreneurs and industrialists, and towards increasing representation from other fields, including the arts.

Ahmed, who last month won an Emmy award for his performance in the HBO drama The Night Of, is the highest non-politician on the list at fourth place.

The star of Four Lions and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has spoken about being racially profiled in airports and, in March, warned that the failure to champion diversity on TV was alienating young people from minority backgrounds, driving them towards extremism and into the arms of Isis.

Only Patel, who this year was nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actor in the film Lion, rose more places than Ahmed, up 61 spots to 21st position.

Shailesh Solanki, executive editor of the GG2 Power List, said: “There’s always been a big debate about [recognition of people from minority backgrounds in] the creative industries. We’ve had the issue of ‘all-white’ Oscars, and many actors talk about having to go to the US to make it and then come back.

“Riz Ahmed has been very outspoken and vociferous about issues of diversity, but it’s important to recognise that [the success of the people on the list] builds on the efforts of previous generations [of actors] like Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar.”

Solanki said progress had been made in the proportion of women on the list (25%), although he acknowledged that more needed to be done.

The highest new entry, female or male, was Gina Miller (number 26), who won a Brexit legal challenge against the UK government. Earlier this week, Miller, who was born in British Guiana (now Guyana) to parents of Indian descent, was named as the country’s most influential black person.

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