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Ramy Youssef speaks out for disabled actors

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Comedian and actor Ramy Youssef challenged the misconception that actors with disabilities are harder to work on set than other talent. Referring to the treatment of Steve Way, his friend and ‘Ramy’ co-star who was born with muscular dystrophy, Youssef said the producers wondered how long Way could work per day and how well the audience would understand him. .

“A lot of A-List stars only have four takes in them, and productions are figuring out how to actually get around their demands and needs, and someone like Steve doesn’t even have that many demands or needs to be put on. in a position to succeed, ”he said during a speech at this year’s Media Access Awards, presented by Easterseals.

He was honored with the West Evan Summers Memorial Award from the Writers Guild of America for his work on “Ramy” during the event, which celebrated those who help create a more inclusive environment for professionals with disabilities in the film industries and television. Other industry professionals, both in front of and behind the camera, also received awards at the streaming awards show, hosted by Nyle DiMarco, on Thursday.

“The Walking Dead” star Lauren Ridloff received the SAG-AFTRA Harold Russell Award during the show. She offered her appreciation for the disabled actors who came before her, leading the charge and opening up the industry to better representation.

“This award is a reminder of the opportunities that have been presented to me because of those who have paved the way for me on Broadways and in Hollywood,” said the deaf actress. “Because of their talents and advocacy, I received an incredible platform that allows me to continue the work of reshaping the Deaf narrative.

Winners of the MAA Documentary First Prize for Netflix’s “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution”, directors Jim LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham shared the importance of representing people with disabilities in a meaningful and empowering way. “Our goal was to try to reframe what it might mean to be disabled and how people perceive being disabled, not only within the community, but outside,” LeBrecht said. .

The documentary follows LeBrecht’s formative experience at Camp Jened, a 1970s summer camp for disabled teens. It also explores the ways in which campers have been inspired to engage in the disability rights movement as activists.

“I would love to pay tribute to the amazing people I went to summer camp with,” said LeBrecht. “Their story and our legacy is something we both didn’t want to lose in history, but it was this place where many of us came together as a community and really found our true spirit of ‘in a way we’ve never had before. . “

Other winners include Netflix’s “Away”, casting director Leah Daniels-Butler and Danny J. Gomez, who won the Acting Christopher Reeve Fellowship.

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