Shahid Khan Buys the Jags

The NFL has its first minority owner and he happens to be a Pakistani-American. Shahid Khan, an Illinois businessman who owns the Flex-N-Gate Group, which makes automobile parts, is paying a reported $760 million to buy 100 percent of the Jacksonville Jaguars from Wayne Weaver. Yes, you’re going to see a brown man with a handlebar mustache giving high-fives in the owner’s box. How cool is that?

Khan, 61, came to America when he was 16, earned an engineering degree from the University of Illinois and fell in love with American football and a blonde named Ann Carlson. Over the years, Khan and his wife have given zillions to their alma mater.

Most recently, the couple made a $10 million donation for the Khan Annex to Huff Hall, home to the university’s college of Applied Health Sciences. “One of the great joys of my life is making money,” Khan said at the September dedication ceremony. “ … What makes it even better is to use it to make a difference.” [Florida Times-Union]


The big question hanging in the air in Jacksonville is whether Khan will keep the team in the city or try to move it to L.A. So far, Khan is saying all the right things, but will he be able to resist the hundreds of millions he could make by moving to a much larger market?

It will also be interesting to see whether Khan keeps a low profile or seeks the limelight. Will he be the type of owner who’s on the sidelines, chatting with players, and always ready to make comments to the media? Or will he stay in the background and let his coach and general manager run the show? If he enjoys being in the news, then you can bet that L.A. will be very tempting.

Q&A with Bikram Singh: “Bhangra… Keeps Me Sane”

If you’re a student of bhangra – you already know Bikram Singh from his work on the Where’s the Party Yaar soundtrack and his hit single, “American Jugni/Kawan.” But even the most fervent of bhangra aficionados may not know that in addition to breaking it down on stage, Singh has a second career – as an esquire. In celebration of his third full-length album, BIK I AM, which released on Thanksgiving Day, SM asked Singh a few questions.

How does your lawyering help your bhangra-ing and vice versa? There is a creative aspect and business aspect to music. Lawyering helps the business aspect of music. Bhangra helps relieve any stress lawyering may have caused over the week! It keeps me sane.

Explain to me how you balanced your music during law school. It required a lot of hard work. I often briefed my cases on the plane. Law school is not necessarily hard in terms of the content. It is the voluminous amount of material that you have to manage in a very limited amount of time. I had to become better at time management. Whatever time I had, I had to use it wisely. I also slept very little. Continue reading

Ear Blasting Beats for the Pyar

I love when “world music” actually fuses into transnational worldly sounds that blend together melodically and intensely. This week’s song does that. Today’s #MusicMonday is a DJ Rekha & Dave Sharma (of Sub Swara) remix original - “Pyar Baile.” Though the single has been making the rounds since last year, the remixes (there are four) dropped in an EP form on Itunes a couple of weeks ago, which you can download here.

The single features Zuzuka Poderosa & Meetu Chilana and samples “Pyar Karne Wale” from the Bollywood movie Shaan. Twitterverse shows that DJ Rekha spun this at the Brooklyn Bowl this past month. I’m really digging this kind of a sound and looking forward to hearing more of this new sound from DJ Rekha. In the meantime - I’ll be listening in to DJ Rekha’s weekly podcast “Bhangra and Beyond” for a leak of her next ear blasting tune.

Aziz wants you to give a spit

Aziz Ansari and his Parks and Recreation co-star Chris Pratt just released this PSA encouraging young people to get their cheeks swabbed for the bone marrow registry.

DoSomething.org’s Give a Spit campaign is specifically targeting young people between the ages of 18-24. The campaign and its partners Be The Match and DKMS “need inspired young people like you to take the lead and register more committed college-age donors, especially minority donors. You can save lives by running a “Give a Spit” drive on your campus. Just sign up and we’ll get you everything you need to run a drive.”

Plus, there are prizes: The drive that gets the most donors signed up wins $2,000 for a celebratory party and everyone who enters the registry through a Give a Spit drive is eligible for a $500 college scholarship.

Readers who are curious about what donating entails should check out Taz’s recent interview with two donors. You should also check Amit Gupta Needs You for a list of drives across the country.

(Via Gawker)

Learning How to Embrace Thanksgiving Turkey

As Thanksgiving 2011 winds down, I thought I’d share this fun piece the playwright Wajahat Ali wrote for Salon about how his family eventually came to embraced that “confounding bird,” the turkey:

Now, I don’t begrudge my parents their position toward turkey. It’s a confounding bird for most immigrants, who are generally more comfortable with the bleats of a goat or a lamb, the squawks of the simple-minded chicken. The turkey was an enigma: a heavy, feathered bird with its “gobbledygook” mutterings, freakish red wattle and vast supply of dry, juiceless meat.     “Do the Amreekans realize it is dry?” ask my still perplexed relatives living in Pakistan. “Where is the masala? The taste? The juices? Why do they eat this bird?”  

 

What did you serve this Thanksgiving? Did you desi-fy your turkey? (Aarti Sequeira has a recipe for tandoori turkey here.) I grew up in a vegetarian household, so no turkey for me, but we did have pumpkin raita and cranberry chutney on the table as a nod to the holiday.

The Undocumented Story of Minhaz Khan

I’ve been following closely the case of Minhaz Khan, a 24 year old undocumented Bangladeshi-American from the Inland Empire who, on Nov 4th, was required to put on an ankle bracelet and present a one way ticket to Bangladesh to the authorities. It had been 20 years since he’d been to Bangladesh and when his father was deported after being denied political asylum, he was murdered for his political affiliations in Bangladesh. DreamActivist.org had a petition out to support his case and his case garnered local media coverage. His case officer read  the coverage and removed the bracelet last week and Minhaz last Tuesday was granted a temporary stay.

Minhaz Kahn — the UC-Riverside alumnus who last week had to show immigration officers that he bought a one-way ticket back to his native Bangladesh — learned Tuesday that he doesn’t have to return home just yet. He will be able to stay in the country for another three months…[T]op federal counsel told a group of American Immigration Lawyers Association attorneys in a meeting last week that they will not automatically grant a stay for all other DREAM Act eligible immigrants who are awaiting deportation, says AILA attorney Leah Price. [SFWeekly]

 

I had the chance for a virtual sit-down with Minhaz right after the ankle bracelet was placed on him a couple of weeks ago. Here’s what he had to say.

When and why did your family come to the United States?

My family came in 1992 to flee danger. My dad left entrepreneurial success and political influence to work at gas stations and my mom left a teaching career and lost all significance her Master’s held, so to anyone who says immigrants come here to take anything from anyone is missing what many people have to leave behind for safety and the possibility of a better future.

Why wasn’t your father able to seek political asylum? What happened after he was deported?

I’m not completely sure why he wasn’t granted asylum. I never got to see the judge’s decision, but I think he missed an interview or something due to a lawyer not notifying him. After he was deported in 1997, he died (or in my whole-hearted belief, murdered) a couple of years later. Continue reading

Mad Junglee

I’m a day late for #MusicMonday, I know. But this one is too good to wait for another six days. The track comes from DJ Ben G, a mashup-remix-master that has just signed on to Rukus Avenue. The remix profiled in this video is a tribute to the one and only Shammi Kapoor in a song called, “Junglee.” The video art is the work of our talented friend MadGuru.

MadGuru found 8-bit inspiration for the video from the original film.

I wanted to do something quick, which seems next to impossible in animation, and fun too. I really enjoyed the story of the film and that along with the creative sounds in Ben G’s mix made me think of old 8 bit video games like Donkey Kong and Mario Brothers. It sounded like a mashup of the two and so I thought, why not approach the visuals in the same way. Watch the original film and you’ll recognize many references in the piece. [madguru]

 

Watch the original film Junglee here and see if you can spot the references. The 8-bit video game inspired animation reminds me a lot of Das Racist’s Who’s That? Brooown! video. And of late nights playing Mario Kart in college. Bollywood 8-bit video games, now there’s an idea. How about it, MadGuru?

 

Meet the MetroPCS Guys: Q & A with Ranjit & Chad

The MetroPCS Tech & Talk ads are a long-running series (two years in December) featuring desi characters named Ranjit and Chad expounding upon the evils of contracts and benefits of MetroPCS’s phone plans and features. The characters are not a little zany, dressing up in colonial-style wigs to declare wireless independence, playing an intense guitar-riff set off by fireworks and using “Holy shishkabob!” as a catch-phrase, to give a few examples.

As I noticed in retweets about the ads posted by the characters @ranjitmetropcs and @chadmetropcs, some people found the ads hilarious, declared themselves fans of the duo, and wanted to dress up like them for Halloween. Others writing for business and tech sites found the ads cringe-worthy, racist and/or in poor taste.

Continue reading

The Elastic View of Rules

Suketu Mehta, journalism professor and Maximum City author, landed an exclusive interview with Raj Rajaratnam and wrote a compelling article for Newsweek on the former hedge fund titan who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for insider trading. Rajaratnam, of Sri Lankan origin, has some choice words for the Indian-American associates who betrayed him. But some readers might have choice words for Mehta, who suggests that Rajaratnam is not too different from other South Asian immigrants.

The whole story speaks to the South Asian–American community: its pursuit of success and money at any cost; the differences between immigrants and the first generation; and the immigrants’ incomplete understanding of the rigor of the law in the U.S. [Daily Beast]


Just in case you have an incomplete understanding of what he means, here it is again later in the article.

The Rajaratnam case can be seen as a metaphor of the difference between immigrants from South Asia, who have a more elastic view of rules and a more keenly developed art of networking, and their children, the first generation, schooled to play by American rules. [Daily Beast]


Elastic view of rules? For a moment there, I thought he was referring to the rules of journalism.