Actor/Writer Ramy Youssef on His Show, Black Muslims, Protests and More

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Jul 01, 2020

When Ramy Youssef’s Hulu comedy “Ramy” debuted last year, the series put the battles of first-generation Egyptian Americans on display by showing his character navigate his spiritual journey while living in a politically-divided New Jersey neighborhood. Following season two, which dropped this past May and includes Mahershala Ali as Sheikh Ali, Youssef spoke with Deadline in a recent interview about protests, addressing anti-Blackness and the relationship between first-generations and their immigrant parents.

Read more highlights from the interview below:

On anti-Blackness in Muslim communities:

"I think there’s…this element of looking at anti-Blackness, even in communities of diversity. It’s like, this is a Muslim community, a community that’s been maligned in many different ways, but they have anti-Blackness, too. I think looking at that, and really analyzing that, we can’t simplify the conversation, and just make it this binary of black-and-white, literally. There’s a lot of work to do, and that’s something that we do address on the show this season."

On airing peaceful protests, before a flurry of real protests:

"Yeah, it’s crazy. It’s been a crazy thing that all these protests are breaking out, and then some of the key imagery that really starts off the season is protests. We obviously had no idea that would happen [in real life]. We even have a joke about this Sheikh mentioning white people in Minnesota that we never, ever could have imagined would have resonance. So, it’s definitely been a couple of strange instances of synchronicity that no one could have expected."

On giving voice to immigrant parents: 

"I feel like the mother is very similar to Ramy, where she’s just saying what she wants to say and doing what she wants to do. So, writing for [that dynamic between] mother and son is really exciting for me. Just as a first-generation immigrant kid, I think so much of our lives, we really think about what our parents gave up, and what our parents are going through. So, to be able to highlight the parents, in the way that we do on this show, is really important to me."

To read the complete interview, check out Deadline.