#iambritishasian, but what does that mean?

So you’ve asked/found this question, by extension found this post, and now you’re looking for some answers? Well worry not, because you’re at the beginning of a journey, a journey to answer this very question. I don’t have the answers, but what I do have is the desire to discover them. And I want you to join me in the pursuit of these answers.

British Asians make up, in total, 6.9% of the total UK population (ONS, 2011). We’re a varied bunch of people, with different religions, and languages, but what joins us together is that we’re all British – not insofar as nationality matters, but it’s a start. Many of us have grown up in similar environments, have similar outlooks on life, and face similar problems – but is this really the case?

That’s what I’m looking to find out. I want to know exactly what it means to be ‘British Asian’. What does it actually mean? Has the idea of British Asian been lost? Can it be reclaimed? Is there a common British Asian culture or ‘scene’ that can it be restarted?

Of course all these questions suggest that the idea of ‘British Asian’ existed before, and still exists. While I am not ignorant to the work of the BBC Asian Network, and channels such as BritAsia TV and the various online (and offline) magazines and newspapers that target the South Asian communities in the UK, (wide generalisation alert) I feel like they simply present what a few people produce and label that as ‘British Asian.’ For me, they don’t really question exactly what it means to be British Asian. That’s what I’m going to do.

In order to do this, myself and my team are creating and sharing content in three interlinked sub-projects: our blog, our videos, and our podcasts.

#iambritishasian Blog

You’re already reading the first post on our blog, and there will be many, many more to follow. British Asians are a varied bunch of people, with different interests. As a result, our blog will have posts from various writers, on various topics; our main focus is to explore British Asian culture. The blog is also intended to be a platform in itself for British Asians to voice their opinions, get their work published, and essentially ‘get out there’. We’ll have posts from various writers, on various topics, and we’ll also be uploading recipes, articles and reviews of things that are relevant to us in every way possible, from beauty to film, from music to politics – whatever ‘ordinary’ British Asians think is relevant to British Asians, is what they’ll share on this blog.

If you would like to submit a piece to the blog, please email it to aasiyah.faryal@gmail.com with ‘#iambritishasian blog post submission’ in the subject line.

#iambritishasian Podcasts – Cinnamon

Every week, we’ll be uploading a new episode of each of our two podcast series to our Soundcloud page – one of the episodes will be a recording of our live show, and the other will be a pre-recorded episode.

Our live show, Cinnamon Sounds, is a one hour long music and culture show broadcast on Fuse FM, playing out primarily British Asian music of any and all genres, as well as new and upcoming music, mashups and throwbacks. On the show, you can also hear interviews with the music artists, and some surprises as well, so tune in!

Our pre-recorded show, Cinnamon Says, is a one hour long talk show, where we’ll be discussing issues that we face as British Asians, both internally and externally, with people who have an opinion on the topic, no matter what it is. The topics chosen may be current affairs, or may have been inspired by topics written about on the blog. Of course, there’ll be debate – what?! We’re an argumentative bunch!

You might hear something you want to say or respond to, and that’s the point! The best thing is, anyone and everyone can have their say, so if you would like to get involved, please email aasiyah.faryal@gmail.com with your name and location and include ‘#iambritishasian speaks and I have something to say!’ in the subject line.

#iambritishasian Videos

Every two weeks, we’ll be uploading a video onto our Youtube Channel. The premise of this aspect of #iambritishasian is simple enough: to interview and profile British Asians and people connected to the British Asian community.

The primary reason behind the videos is to explore the sense of identity that British Asians have (or don’t have), and their connection (or lack thereof) to their culture, in an entirely judgment-free way. The point is to ask questions, not to make accusations, in order to explore what ‘British Asian’ means to British Asians and those connected to the British Asian culture and community, if it means anything at all.

If you would like to be featured in our video series, please email aasiyah.faryal@gmail.com with your name and your location and include ‘#iambritishasian and I want to be profiled!’ in the subject line.

So, that’s #iambritishasian explained. It’s gonna be a fun ride, you’re gonna enjoy every second of it!

See you soon,

Aasiyah x

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