whitening Jain Music

Vidhi and I have gotten into this song since it’s so catchy. The artist is French and a quarter Malagasy. But she looks straight up “Caucasian” to the extent that she has to emphasize her exotic background (probably also to insulate herself against claims of cultural appropriation – the Twitter handle “Jain Music” belongs to her).

Image result for jain the artist

In an increasingly diverse world we are reverting to crude racial categories to sort people out. We know what a “white person” looks like, we have a feel for what a brown person is so on and so forth. Europe is going to revert to a more “American” style of classification where if one passes as white one will be accepted as such.

Justin Trudeau recently called out a heckler as racist since she used the term “Quebecois de souche” (Quebecer of Pure Blood). Now off-hand Trudeau is only a quarter French (though he is married to a Francophone) but I don’t think the lady was referring to him for some reason.

Western Asians maybe “Western” but they are also ineffably something else. The “Where are you from” Question is an alienating one..

Britain right now is undergoing a fetish for period dramas; there is a convincing argument that BAME actors simply do not have a role in such pieces. How can we transport Indian or Black aristocrats unless an entirely fictitious storyline is invented for them, which makes the suspension of disbelief all the more difficult.

As a final aside I saw Priyanka Chopra referred to as a “Holly-Bolly” actress. Now she may have burnished her post-Quantico career with an attendance at the Royal Wedding and engagement to Nick Jonas but in a way it’s startling just how “oil & water” Bollywood and Hollywood are. The main influences on Bollywood come by way of storyline adaptation of Western cinema and importing Western cinematographers (for instance Kapoor & Sons since 1921 had some Hollywood crew).

British Asians notably cannot make it in Bollywood (Katrina Kaif is not really a British Asian since her Asian ancestry is dubious; half of the Caribbean claim Kashmiri ancestors) because they lack the language skills and cultural mannerisms of a true born Desi.. This is especially acute in Tehran where Iranians from abroad will be scented out even before they’ve opened their mouth because there is something ineffably Western about them so the issue as always is mired in shades of grey.. Diasporas, migrations have a cost on the soul it seems and that existential angst is playing itself out in the discourse of affluent visible communities in the West..

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5 years ago

“Diasporas, migrations have a cost on the soul it seems and that existential angst is playing itself out in the discourse of affluent visible communities in the West..”

– this is pure gold. Very well said sir, something that others (like me) would struggle to convey in sentences ten times as long. Bravo!

British Asians notably cannot make it in Bollywood because they lack the language skills and cultural mannerisms of a true born Desi.. ”

In the brave new de-racinated world of Bollywood’s future, I reckon there might be space for actors of all ethnicities and races. Like the IPL experiment shows, Indian audiences aren’t averse to international form and content with sufficiently desi packaging.

5 years ago


You are one of those who say they are not too smart, point out my wife is smarter than me.

My opinion is Confidence.

cheers sereno/sbarrkum

5 years ago

No worries, glad to give back for all the quality content you’ve been putting out!

Since you’re London based, do you know if there any lectures or debates or forums IRL for such discussions as had on here? I’m thinking of the intelligence squared debates, for example

5 years ago

Ah sweet! Cambridge is really pretty, many a punt have I enjoyed on its canals, trying to maintain my balance with beer (s) in hand.

If you could link me to any such events, I’d be much obliged! And London BP meetup does sound great!

Razib Khan
5 years ago

who cares her ethnicity? she seems fit. that is all.

5 years ago

MIA. Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam.

The only very South South Asian who became big.
I could argue thats because she lived in the UK, and council flats.

I saw her at Summer Stage, Central Park, NY and Mermaid Parade, Coney Island, NY around 2005 (I think) just as she was becoming well known. Free concerts. I was living with some budding artists (all below 25, I was 46) many blocks away from middle of Williamsburg. I was paying USD 500 to have a basement room with attached toilet. It was great. I was earning enough to save (to be back in SL), and every other evening bring bottles of wine/beer to share with all.

One (or two) of the housemates said there is this Sri Lankan woman who is going to be at the Mermaid Parade and Summer Stage (and Knitting Factory). Also gave me a page from the Village Voice. So ended at both. Somehow did not do Knitting Factory. Maybe because there was an entrance fee.

When I saw her on Summer Stage, as a backdrop she had palm trees and tiger/s. Of course my camera battery had to die.


5 years ago

“British Asians notably cannot make it in Bollywood”

I wouldn;t say that. If you look in the music scene in the 90s early 2000s India’s pop industry was totally dominated by Brits asians-Brits wannabe. It only after Honey Singh broke through that it has subsided. But still they have their influence. I dont know why they haven’t succeeded more given our fetish-ization of white skin and punjabi. I would bet that a Brit-asian still has a better chance than “woke” american counter parts. Its just a matter of time when some british born relative of a producer gets launched in a movie.

Brown Pundits