Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged desi

Hip Hop Desis: South Asian Americans, Blackness, and a Global Race Consciousness

If the Asian American contribution to hip-hop has been largely invisible, South Asian American rap artists, here including those whose families came from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Fiji, have received a surprising amount of critical attention focused on re-conceptualizing race and the increasingly universal appeal of contemporary Black popular culture. On the heels of Ajay Nair and Murali Balaji’s 2009 study Desi Rap: Hip Hop and South Asian America comes Hip Hop Desis , an ethnographic analysis of a group of South Asian American rappers and the shared experience of those living in “racially marked bodies.”


Sometimes you stumble upon really small, obscure films that leave such an impact that you just want as many people to see it as possible. Desigirls by Ishita Srivastava is one such film. Filmed as a graduate thesis project at New York University, this twenty-minute documentary explores a refreshingly new topic—the South Asian lesbian community in New York City. I had the opportunity to watch the film and speak to the director afterward.

Stealing Nasreen

Stealing Nasreen is the excellent first novel written by Farzana Doctor. Not fitting into any typical genre, the work showcases a slice of desi life, and incorporates elements of mild satire and romance in telling the story of three demoralized souls, Nasreen, Shaffiq, and Salma. Nasreen is a grieving psychologist in need of personal counseling support, having recently lost both her mother to cancer and her lover to infidelity.

Desi Land: Teen Culture, Class, and Success in Silicon Valley

Desi Land, Shalini Shankar’s ethnographic exploration of Desi teenagers in Silicon Valley during the late 1990s, is a fascinating look at South Asian American youth culture at a pivotal moment in modern American history.  The setting of the book makes it particularly compelling: California during the dot-com boom, when a confluence of "model minorities" are populating an increasingly profitable and technologically advanced work force.