20 Years of Basement Bhangra / Summer Stage

THIS IS WHAT WENT DOWN AT SUMMER STAGE

After a 20 year run the legendary Basement Bhangra party that DJ Rekha curates and puts on comes to an end. To give it a proper farewell she threw a banger in Central Park with an insane line up of artists including Punjabi mcApache IndianMadame GandhiAnik KhanHorsepowarDj ShilpaDJ PetraSikh KnowledgeJaz Dhami & Malinder Tooray.

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Anik Khan at Rough Trade

You know we love the homie Anik Khan and were super stoked to see him perform at his first ever solo show (which sold out) earlier this week at Rough Trade. If you've seen him perform, you know he's gonna be a star. Here's some photos from that day... video coming soon. =) 

HYFN Well-being: Alyzeh Ashraff

I remember when I was younger and my mom would wear her shalwar kameez to the local grocery store, I would be mortified and get so embarrassed. Now when I see an aunty wearing a sari down the street my thoughts are, "Yeah aunty, you go aunty! Rock that sari!"

It's funny how we grow and evolve over time...

Being South Asian was something I would always push aside. In fact, after 9/11 the last thing I wanted to be known for was my brown identity- as a 10-year-old, I did not know any better. But as years have passed and as I have developed into my own being, I am constantly reminded of how proud I am to be a South Asian-Muslim.

 

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Within my South Asian community, I am known as “The Yogi.” I practice yoga, I teach yoga, I take photos of yoga instructors. I live and breath yoga 7 days a week. How ironic is it though that within my yoga community I only know a handful of yoga teachers that are Brown? Why is it that this practice that originated centuries ago in India is now dominated by White culture? Not only that, but fitness and yoga don't take any precedence in our brown culture. In fact, they have become so sexualized over the years that now it's only harder for members of my Muslim community to want to get involved without questioning whether or not what they are doing is appropriate. I often encounter girls on Instagram asking for advice on how to talk to their parents about wearing shorts while running or wearing yoga pants out in public- why should clothing or cultural standards limit us from being healthy?
 

The topics at hand are difficult and sensitive but also unavoidable. From shared stories amongst friends, there was a common theme of fear that we could not stray too far from our traditional path. You only know what you are exposed to, and as the children of immigrants, some of us were not exposed to a lot.


So when you get to a certain point and you realize, "I do not want to be a doctor or a lawyer anymore" or "I want to work out and have my body and mind look and feel a certain way " or “I should not feel ashamed to show my legs during my soccer match- I choose what I want to wear and how I will feel in it," opinions start to surface, and to me, it's a really exciting time.
 


Being a Pakistani-American Muslim-female is probably one of the scariest labels, but also one of the most exciting. Especially now in 2017, I look at that label and all I read is opportunity and change. How do we stay connected to our roots but also push the envelope- and how creative can we get while we are doing it?

I find the times that I am most honest with myself and my identity are when I am in a yoga studio or running outdoors- moving with my breath. It's my way of connecting with myself and understanding what I want and who I want to be. My goal is to pave a path for future generations and show them that the road they take is their choice and they shouldn't fear what their community will think. I believe that exploring your physicality can help you get to know yourself, your true being. If you do things with confidence, and the good and passion of your own heart, then why would you ever have any shame?

HYFN SOUND-WAVES 003 feat. Dash o' House by MANCUB

The electronic beats of house music keep Mancub aka Amar Jacob energized when he isn’t working his advertising day job in Dublin, Ireland. His hometown of Madras, now known as Chennai, has become one of the biggest cultural, economic, and educational centers in South India. While there might not be a big scene for house, this is where he “educated himself in the language of sounds.” He has spent hours listening to countless psychedelic tracks to get you pumped for the next party with that perfect mix. His HYFN as "Indian- Ad·man - DJ - Traveller- Globalized Villager".

 

Listen to more of Mancub's mixes on here on his SOUNDCLOUD page. 

HYFN Well-being: Zain Shauk of Dream Harvest

Growing up on the coast in Southern California usually means you're surrounded by water, hiking trails and amazing produce at your finger tips! Zain Shauk and I grew up in the same area and I know what he means when he says wellness is just a part of your environment out there and therefore a part of your lifestyle. Zain packed his bags and moved from California to Houston and continued to implement his healthy lifestyle on new soil. His farming company, Dream Harvest, produces fresh, local produce with actually a little less soil and a little more innovation. Read more about it below! 

Tell us what you do and why is it so important to you?

I run an organic vertical farm in Texas called Dream Harvest that is super efficient, local and sustainable. I’m excited about it because we have the potential to really affect people’s health by producing better food in a smarter way that could have a big impact on the planet.

We use wind energy, no pesticides and all around we are super green. One of the coolest things about our farm is that we use 1% of the water that a typical farm uses, which is great in terms of efficiency.  
 

What is hydroponic farming?

Hydroponic farming means that the plant is not growing in soil, it’s growing in water and nutrients. We recycle water, so we're extremely efficient, and we grow in an indoor, controlled space, so we don't need any pesticides. We also grow vertically, so it's like farms stacked on farms. And the best part is that it allows us to grow a lot of food locally. Currently we can grow 35 times the produce of an outdoor farm and it gets from our farm to the store within hours of harvest.

How does hydroponic farming affect the nutrients within the produce grown?

Our produce ends up being more nutritious since the plants are growing in the right conditions with the right nutrients. With hydroponic methods, the plants turn out to be fuller in flavor and overall healthier. It’s fresher when you eat it- the fresher the plant, the better it tastes and the more nutrients is holds.

Why innovate in this direction? What is it that excites you most about the space you work in?

I think it’s really exciting to be changing the way farming works. Agriculture is such an old industry and there haven’t been many huge leaps in the technology of how it works. Most farmers are stuck in their old inefficient ways - running farms using lots of pesticides and fertilizers outdoors. There are benefits to growing under the sun and it can be done really well and beautifully, but there’s also many issues to deal with when you grow on a large scale, like runoff and pesticides. And that’s before you think about water use. Agriculture accounts for 80% of U.S. water use. Think about that. Every single day people eat food. If we can change the way people grow food then I see a lot of potential in our business and our mission.

Walk us through your relationship with food and fitness. At what point did it become important for you?

I have always been into health and fitness since early on in high school. I grew up in Santa Monica near the beach and a bunch of trails so health was always a part of our lifestyle just through our environment. My hometown hosts the largest Farmer’s Market in all of Los Angeles (and arguably the best!) which my family and I would often visit on a weekly basis for years. So from early on I was exposed to fresh produce from local farmers.

I was also into sports throughout my life. Played soccer, football, and then joined a bhangra team in college.

What role do you think wellness and healthy eating play within the South Asian Community?

Unfortunately, within the South Asian community health and wellness is not a priority. I actually wrote an article for the Houston Chronicle a few years ago about how South Asian diets are causing harm for our culture. There’s a disturbingly high rate of people with Heart Disease and Diabetes within South Asian groups. We grow up eating really heavy foods with refined starches and few vegetables and few fruits. White rice and white bread are staples in our diet and they have little fiber content or benefits to our nutrition.

I think we’re starting to come around to healthier eating and activity, but the shift has been slow. Still, few people use good grains in their food, and if you go to a South Asian restaurant you probably wouldn’t find brown rice as an option. And I also think that physical fitness is a challenge for a lot of us. It’s not really a part of our culture for some reason. I think if you just look at collegiate sports, that’s probably the best indicator. How many South Asians are really breaking through? I’m hopeful though. I think the fitness wave in the U.S. is starting to catch on.

What are some ways we can overcome nutrition related problems you see in the South Asian community?

Heart disease and diabetes are real problems in South Asian communities - I’m not a doctor but from what I know there’s a lot reasons for that including genetics, diet and activities (or lack thereof).

It’s frustrating that these are real problems - I feel like it’s so obvious to eat better and be more active. I can’t explain why this hasn’t caught on in our communities. When I talk to people in our community about my career path in vertical farming - they’re not really that excited from a health perspective - people are more interested in having pakoras versus kale.

All I know is that I need to continue to talk about it so that diet gets the right attention it deserves. You shouldn’t look at this stuff and think that it’s cute, you should actually eat it.  

What’s your HYFN?

Pakistani - American - Muslim - writer - dancer - farmer - business guy - nerd - board game enthusiast - news junkie - beach house lover - Quran reciter - Prius driver

Learn more about Dream Harvest Farming Company on their website here and check out their Instagram here.

See Zain’s Article about South Asian Diets in the Houston Chronicle here.

Images courtesy of Dream Harvest. 

HYFN SOUND-WAVES feat. Resist by ZEEMUFFIN

 
 

Our second release of SOUND-WAVES is a playlist curated by Zainab Hasnain aka Zeemuffin. She's a DJ, a social media wiz at The Verge and a photographer.

Listen to the exclusive playlist with sounds of strong women, old-school hits, and some current BLM anthems.

Learn about about her goal of this playlist below.

 
 

Can you describe your process of how you made the playlist?

I thought back on the protests that I've been to and the artists who have inserted themselves into the political conversation today without fear through their music. People like Solange and Vince Staples immediately came to mind for present day. From there I was able to see who influenced these artists and studied the revolutions from as early as the protests against the Vietnam war up to the civil rights movement. Each revolution has its rallying cries, the songs that define them. I looked and searched for those. 

Why the title Resist?

To me resist is a stronger word than "fight". Resist the urge for violence, resist with peace, resist with knowledge, resist with the right strategies. Resist to me encompasses our generations sentiment to the hate, inequality and injustices of our time. 

What was your intention behind this playlist?

To take listeners on a journey of the songs that define the resistance: and that resistance isn't just one movement. It's women's rights, it's BLM, it's the right to be accepted as a refugee, as a minority. I tried to hit all of those touch points: it's almost like a music history lesson on our country's continued resistance against our societies mishaps. 

Who did you want to inspire?

Anyone and everyone who has ever felt marginalized. 

What's your HYFN?

Pakistani-American-Explorer-Social Media Wiz-Writer-Creative

Follow Zainab on Instagram to see what she's up to.