30 Mosques 2011

This year the 30 Mosques guys–Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq–continued their annual Ramadan journey that started out in NYC in 2009 and expanded across the USA in 2010. The duo is celebrating Eid after wrapping up their 2011 Ramadan travels that took them to mosques and Muslims around the nation. If you’re celebrating too, I wish you and your family a joyous holiday. Eid Mubarak!

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

In their PBS interview with Hari Sreenivasan, Tariq described the 30 Mosques trip as an opportunity to see how people are living the religion of Islam. Ali highlighted a Muslim community in San Francisco called Ta’leef Collective that impressed him with its inclusive attitudes and “come as you are” philosophy. Continue reading

Young the Giant Rocks Out @ VMAs

Young the Giant’s lead singer Sameer Gadhia strutted down the catwalk and got the crowd going at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards tonight. The group performed “My Body.” Backstage before the show they talked about being the sole rock act to perform at this year’s award show. Watch their performance below.

Thanks for the tip Pravin Praveen!

Young the Giant canceled performances at Reading and Leeds festivals to make it to the VMAs. Gadhia explained why it was important for them to perform at tonight’s show in Los Angeles.

“We canceled Reading and Leeds [festivals] because of the VMAs,” frontman Gadhia shared. “I mean, we always watched them, ever since we were little … and we’re from Los Angeles, so we figured it would be a great opportunity. Hopefully people in the U.K. will forgive us. I know some people are already annoyed.” (MTV) Continue reading

Daydreaming With Danny Pudi

It’s summertime. That means no new episodes of Community featuring one of the best (and hottest) TV bromances to ever exist–Troy + Abed. But you can watch Danny Pudi, who plays the Abed half of that TV couple, in a cute and fun new music video from Raphael Saadiq. The video for “Day Dreams” from Saadiq’s Stone Rollin‘ album is directed by Arj Barker’s co-star from Flight of the Conchords, Bret McKenzie.

Previously: He’s Your Polish Dancer, Your Brown Actor for Hire Continue reading

Anjulie Remodeled

Remember Anjulie? The Guyanese-Canadian who’s 2009 single Boom prompted mutineer Amardeep to state, “I hear shades of Morcheeba and Esthero”? She just dropped a new single this week so I’m sharing for this week’s #MusicMonday (that’s right, I’m bringing it back…!) I can’t help but think she’s been Nikki Minaj-ed. Rihanna-ed. Lady Gaga-fied.

What do you think of the remodel? I gotta say, I was a big fan of “old” Anjulie with the song My Thrill being my favorite. But if her new album is reflective of this single, I dunno, I dunno… Continue reading

A Father Like This

As Ennis reported, there’s anarchy in the UK. I’ve been following twitter feeds coming out of England closely and though there is mixed feelings on the “insurrection” of the people, one thing is certain, everyone is fearful that the riots will come to their community. Last night, the rioters came to Birmingham.

Haroon, Abdul Musavir, 31, and Shazad Ali, 31, were mowed down as they stood on the pavement protecting their mosque and businesses in the community. Today, a 32-year-old man was being questioned on suspicion of murder.

The father said he was standing round the corner as the car mounted the pavement and knocked down the three young men. He said he acted instinctively and helped – without realising his boy was one of the trio who were fatally injured. Mr Jahan said: ‘The car came up on the pavement for God knows what reason and I was standing nearby. ‘I heard it happen and I turned round and I saw three people on the ground and my instinct to help and I started CPR and someone told me that one of them was my son.’ [dailymail]

Some moving words from Tariq Jahan, father to the 21 year old Haroon Jahan.

I’m not condoning the violence, but clearly the situation has reached a critical moment in the UK and the people believe things have got to change. Mass media is billing what is happening in the UK as a “race” riot or a “youth” insurgency – but the victims in this case were South Asian youth. The #UKRiots goes far deeper than that. Continue reading

Totally Pulled a “Nikki H.”

nikki_haley.jpgIt’s like Bhagat Singh Thind all over again. Are we White? Are we Brown? Are we Hindoos? Can I be white so that I can own property (as in Thind’s case)? Can I be White so that I can become electable as governor of South Carolina (as in Nikki Haley’s case)?

Haley — South Carolina’s first female and minority governor and the country’s second Indian-American governor — listed her race as “white” on her 2001 voter registration card… The state Democratic Party, which first obtained the public record, is calling Haley out on the matter and challenging whether her inconsistency on the card might have made her ineligible to voter under the state’s new Voter ID law. [postandcourier]

Oh Nimrata… As much as our politics and preference in alleged love affair diverged, I took a certain pride in knowing that we had our first South Asian American woman in governership. To marginalize yourself, when in leadership role, marginalizes the rest of us. Changing your name from Nimrata to Nikki is one thing, but changing your race? It’s skin. It’s blood. Unless you are Michael Jackson, it doesn’t rub off.

Now that I think about it, I think I have just the product for you, thanks to Sandeep Sood. This just may fit your need.

So Nikki, I’m going to give you the benefit of a doubt – like the 25% of South Asian Americans who marked themselves as White in the 1990 Census. This is your Public Service Announcement – No matter how great your dermatologist is or how much Fair & Lovely Inside you ingest, you are not White. You are a minority. A South Asian American. A woman of Indian heritage and Sikh parents.

And next time we hear someone Desi insist on their Whiteness, we can say, “She totally just pulled a Nikkie H.” Continue reading

Way To Go, Anika / A Speech for Libraries

This is a video of 14-year-old Anika Tabovaradan giving an impassioned speech about the need for libraries in Toronto. It is 2 a.m., she hates public speaking, she’s been waiting for four hours to talk, and a bunch of Toronto officials–including Mayor Rob Ford–are watching her. AND SHE IS AWESOME.

Way to go, Anika. You reminded me how much I love libraries, librarians, and community space.

(Here’s the related article in the Toronto Star, and a tip o’ the old hat to Romesh H, who pointed out the vid in the first place.) Continue reading

Sid Sriram: Killing Those Covers Softly

sid2.jpgSid Sriram sings some soulful covers. He sings his own songs too, like the smooth and mellow sunny single Limitless and Farther, Closer. But it was various twitternet raves about his latest cover, an emotional rendition of We All Try by Frank Ocean that first made me notice the singer. Sriram skillfully covers a range of artists from Adele to the Beatles. He seems to be getting great response on YouTube, where I noticed multiple marriage proposals alongside praise for his vocals in the comments for his videos.

Sriram was born in Chennai and moved to northern California as an infant. His musical training started in Carnatic music at a young age. He became interested in R&B vocals in junior high and currently attends Berklee College of Music, where he majors in music production engineering and vocal performance. The EP “Be Easy; The Acoustic Sessions” contains five acoustic arrangements of his original material.

This talented young vocalist replied to a few questions, and his answers are posted below. He continues to perform classical vocals as he pursues singing and songwriting in the contemporary urban/indie genre. An announcement for a vocal concert, a past performance in San Francisco, highlights his background from the classical tradition: Continue reading

Is Suzy Singh the Next MasterChef?


Have you seen the Gordon Ramsay-produced cooking show that takes 100 amateur and home chefs and attempts to turn one into a…MasterChef? I watched a few episodes recently and thanks to comments here and stories from the news tab, realized that Chef Suzy must be [Suzy Singh](http://www.suzysingh.com/), a neural engineer from Chicago. Singh, who participated in a brief Q&A posted below, made it into the 100 with a [signature dish](http://www.fox.com/masterchef/recipes/signature-dish/recipe-16) of Tandoori Cod en Papillote with Chai- and Saffron-infused Couscous, and she’s still a contender for the title of MasterChef on the show’s second US season now that the pool of 100 chefs has been whittled down to fewer than 10.

Singh is interesting to watch on MasterChef because she has skills, brings a real enthusiasm for cooking, and wears her heart on her sleeve, leaving no doubt as to how she’s feeling about her chances, her competition or the judges’ comments at any moment. Her style is also on display in videos which introduce viewers to the world’s largest holy kitchen at the Golden Temple and Kesar Da Dhaba in Amristar, Punjab.

Continue reading

She Got the Look: Khan v. Abercrombie & Fitch

On Monday, the EEOC supported Hani Khan by filing a federal lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch for violating her civil rights by discriminating against her on the basis of her religion. As a hijab-wearing teenager, Khan applied for a job with a Hollister Co. shop (owned by parent company A& F) in the San Mateo, California, Hillsdale Mall. The manager told her about the store’s “look policy”–which Khan describes as clothes that convey a fun, beachy vibe–and said at work she’d have to wear a head scarf in the company colors of white, navy or gray. Continue reading