Culture doesn’t change without pioneers. These 6 South Asian Instagrammers are each altering what it means to be Desi, what it means to be first and second generation, what it means to be a millennial and what those things look like together - adjusting stereotypes everyday and broadening the scope of the spaces we exist in.
@Kohinoorgasm An artist, activist, and a person who is herself in all the right ways, Kohinoorgasm is changing the game for brown girls everywhere. Her self-described pop music preaches radical self-love and speaks to the various facets of her identity. She bridges East and West in the best way - rarely do we see a hand covered in a black-lace glove in a mudra, just inches away from a belt choker necklace. In changing the game with her art, her boldness, and her often unshaven armpits, she conducts activist acts both in big ways, and in the way she lives every day. Expect photos of her beautiful friends, links to her rad music, and everything in between.
@_salvinc For the optimist and poet in you, Salvin Chalal needs to be on your feed. Speaking out against mass incarceration, xenophobia, and hate crimes he writes groundbreaking poems. He also organizes and creates poetry workshops for young individuals and writers. Involved with some of the sickest communities of spoken word artists and people of color, Chalal regularly shares poetry by other dope artists. His feed is perfect for binging, and you could spend hours reading the fantastic work he posts.
@fariha_roisin Fariha Róisín, writer and self-described "Zayn Malik scholar", has a feed that is a break from the normal IG. She features many thought provoking and sometimes satirical quotes from movies, pop culture, poems and more, working to explore what it's like to be a modern Muslim woman. Her honesty about the challenges of this, and her relationship with faith, race, and art is refreshing. When so many feeds feel fake-curated and over-filtered, her feed remains candid, often asking the hard questions we sometimes like to omit from our thinking.
@alvinabokhari A South Asian model among other things, Alvina Bokhari has been featured in campaigns for brands like Carhartt Whipp. Her style is clean-cut, her skin is fresh and glossy and she tends to rock straight long black locks. She adorns herself in chain chokers, berets, and street wear T-shirts. Catch yourself in a moment of jealousy on her feed - she’s often at cool NYC parties, in sick fits, and with henna on her long fingers.
@dothead_divinity Khusboo Gulati is an artist in various regards, but creates kick-ass illustrations on IG in working to redefine what it means to be a POC woman. In one of her works, which shows hands covered in henna controlling thunder in the sky as if they were God, she makes the claim in her art that brown women are some of the most powerful, divine individuals to exist. She preaches South Asians for BLM, and is most known for her “Brown and Lovely” poster aka her kitschy take on the infamous ‘Fair & Lovely’. Her selfies include a yellow bhindi, septum piercing and purple lipstick - mixing identity in the best way.
@vivekshraya Vivek Shraya is everything the world doesn’t want her to be - and proud of it. As a writer, among other things, she stands up for trans & POC rights and has now started in other mediums - like music - to continue to be an active organizer. Her children’s book, The Boy & The Bindi, brings up issues of gender and race identity for kids; she is pioneering engagement in and discussion around topics traditionally seen as taboo in South Asian communities. Her catchphrase, “even this ___ is white,” tries to point out how much whiteness occupies our world. She serves looks all over her feed in fulls red lips and is definitely another influencer changing the game.
These 6 Instagrammers smash barriers and make bridges in so many ways – working for change in big and little ways. In 2016, being yourself and standing up for that, if you are POC, queer, a woman, or marginalized is activism and real power. All of these individuals occupy social media in their own way, working to create positive spaces (online and IRL), build community, or just publish really cool pictures online. What's so dope is that regardless of what their content is about, it goes beyond the likes and hash tags – which is where their voices become so salient to real change.