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What about us?

Hi all,

It has been some months since my last post, and for that I can only apologise as I have been stuck in a writers block about things to blog about. That, and the fact I didn't have a laptop for around 2 weeks, also stopped me from writing. Suffice to say my new laptop is amazing and I don't know why it took me so long to replace my old one. So what is new? Well I am still looking for my dream job, and ways to leave home, so things aren't going the way I planned, but I remain hopeful at least. I got a date for an important surgery (not dying, just fixing old wounds) and I should hopefully be realising my dream of being able to ride a bike this Summer. So my list of achievements should be getting longer.

I have also been binge watching stuff as I find myself with more time. My recent binge was the second season of Dear White People (it's amazing and I would definitely recommend people to watch it). For those that haven't seen it, it is a show about the racial tensions that Black people go through and deal with on day-to-day basis. The show has a strong female lead, does not think twice about talking about issues that affect us in the present, and does this all with a satirical comedy flair that works for the narrative. I remember when the first season came out me and my friends were all excited to see something with a majority ethnic minority cast. I for one found it new and fresh, and love that more Black people are being seen in mainstream media. From the likes of Black Panther, which is the highest grossing superhero movie of all time (and rightly so as it is epic), to movies like Moonlight and Get Out which highlight even more minorities and put them in the spotlight. Things are looking up, but we are still a long way away from having total equality.

Whilst I am overjoyed at the way diversity is heading in the industry, I am at a loss to find any people of South Asian descent within this uprising. If we are talking about the ethnic minorities, then South Asians would make up the minority of the minority. There are only a handful of actors that have made it in Hollywood, and whilst they are making strides, we still have yet to see a full cast of South Asians heading a major Hollywood blockbuster. I often ask myself why is that so. We have talented actors, and whilst we do have Bollywood, which has a large following even outside the Asian community, these movies do not hit as hard as a Hollywood premiere. When looking into it further, how many Asian superheroes are there? The answer, hardly any, and hardly any that would warrant their own standalone movie as their characters are not fleshed out enough for large stories. The lack of appearance of Asians in media doesn't stop at just the movies. You will be hard pressed to find any in high fashion modelling and advertising outside of Asia as well. This to me is strange. South Asians make up over 1/8th of the worlds population, yet I do not see any in print media in the West.

Now there could me many reasons for this. One is that South Asian parents push their children to pursue careers in medicine, law, engineering and economics (and careers related to these). They value the high profile careers and place more emphasis on them than the arts. It certainly would be difficult to tell your parents you wanted to become an actor or a model as they would likely fear that you would be wasting your time. The second is the fact that the industry is fiercely competitive, and so those that do get to try may not ever get their big break. I for one think that there is both a lack of available people than the lack of roles for them to fill. We need to take more strides in giving people from different ethnic backgrounds more platforms to shine in media. Artists for comic books could include more Asian characters for diversity, fashion houses could be more daring and use Asian models in both runways and campaigns (like Cristian Siriano, who is breaking down barriers for a truly diverse model cast in his shows), Hollywood writers and producers could dream up more scripts for South Asian characters and so forth.

It would be nice to see a diverse media with representation for all to enjoy. I do think we have come far in terms of what we can gain access to and see today, but I think we can push further and beyond and include everyones voice. After all isn't media supposed to be for the people?



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