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HomeFeminismDisney and Diwali: The Magic of Illustration

Disney and Diwali: The Magic of Illustration

Like many 90s children, I used to be obsessive about Disney and the great thing about its animation. At 4 years outdated, I noticed my first transfer in theaters: The Lion King. I spent the subsequent 12 months watching the film on a regular basis and singing alongside to “Hakuna Matata.” Disney was a method to relate to my friends and bridge the hole between my two identities.I bear in mind being particularly keen on Jasmine and Pocahontas. Their brown pores and skin and black lengthy hair matched mine. After I wasn’t watching Disney films with my sisters, we watched Bollywood films of the Golden Period. Because the years handed, I prioritized balancing my ardour for Disney with the intersections of my identities. 

[Read Related: Indo Caribbean Actress Saheli Khan Lands Role as Young Anna in Disney’s Musical ‘Frozen’]

2022 was the primary time Diwali merchandise turned obtainable in massive retail shops. My city’s library even had a “Diwali” part within the Youngsters’s part. The world is lastly remodeling and Diwali is turning into “mainstream.” After years of advocacy and cultural consciousness, we’re lastly witnessing the illustration of our tradition, traditions and holidays. Upon listening to of JASHN Productions’ first-ever Diwali Dance Fest going down in Walt Disney World, I instantly started planning. My ardour for Disney had grown from films to theme park adventures. Diwali, the competition of lights mixed with Disney World magic was sure to be spectacular. And, oh boy (Mickey Mouse voice), did JASHN surpass all expectations. 

The primary occasion, held in Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs, was the primary Diwali parade. Dancers of the numerous dance studios carried out in 20 minute synchronized dances. Listening to Diwali introduced over the PA system had me close to tears. The vibration of the dhol beats throughout the Bollywood rhythms had the consumers engaged. The ocean of dancers adorning the colourful colours of Diwali slot in completely with the Florida solar.

[Read Related: Hannah Simone Sings on Disney Channel’s ‘Mira, Royal Detective!’]

The actual dream was seeing Mickey and Minnie Mouse on stage with “Diwali” unfold throughout. The Diwali Dance Fest included over 400 youth dancers from throughout america. These dancers, from 17 completely different dance faculties, specializing in quite a lot of completely different types of Indian and Indo-fusion dance, carried out in Animal Kingdom’s Discovering Nemo Theatre. Every dance led the viewers to completely different areas of India; the music ranged from classical and folks to Bollywood and hip hop.The hosts Nisha Mathur and Sway Bhatia represented the becoming a member of of each worlds. Mathur is understood for her SonyTV present, “Keys to Kismat” and Bhatia is the voice of character, Karishma on the very first Disney kids’s present Mira the Royal Detective. Worldwide singer and performer Raghav, ended the present along with his hit, Angel Eyes as a choose group of dancers carried out beside him. 

Listening to the Indian music I had grown up with, introduced me infinite pleasure to lastly witness such a degree of illustration, particularly in a spot so particular to me. Experiencing a Diwali celebration in essentially the most magical place on Earth with all generations was among the best elements. 

An after-party for performers and households, occurred following the showcase in The Lion King theater. I used to be dancing and singing to my favourite Bollywood hits after having fun with this Disney Spectacular. Disney has all the time been my comfortable place; Walt Disney World will without end be the place the place my best desires got here true. From having fun with a day at Animal Kingdom, in Indian apparel, with Minnie Mouse ears to dancing alongside to the songs that stuffed my dwelling. I’ve skilled a degree of illustration I by no means even knew attainable. I’ve lastly seen the hole bridged between my two identities. By no means have I been extra proud to be an Indian-American.

Subrina Singh holds a Bachelor’s Diploma in Asian & Asian American Research from Stony Brook College and a Grasp’s Diploma … Learn extra ›

Designers, creatives and co-founders of SANYFW Shipra Sharma and Hetal Patel on the opening evening of South Asian New York Trend Week. | Images by Ashna Patel

I’ve by no means thought of myself to be part of the style world right here in New York. Till just a few years in the past, I couldn’t even let you know what my model was. As we speak, it’s clear how a lot my garments are influenced by my time dwelling in India for six years as a young person. You’ll normally see me pair a sari shirt with a pair of pants, a khadi print skirt, or a gown that my household’s tailor again in Kolkata made of material my mom and I noticed and cherished within the retailer subsequent door.

My Indian heritage is an integral a part of my identification, so once I was requested if I might write about South Asian designers debuting their collections, how might I say no?

I first heard about South Asian New York Trend Week (SANYFW) final 12 months from a buddy who walked the runway for one of many designers. I’d heard concerning the notorious New York Trend Week after all, however based mostly on the title, I assumed this enterprise was to extend the illustration of South Asian designers, particularly as a result of trend is an trade with excessive boundaries to entry, making it particularly troublesome for BIPOC designers to interrupt via and showcase their expertise. 

[Read Related: Hand Embroidery: South Asia’s Not-so-Famous Contribution to Global Fashion]

I wasn’t far off the mark, in accordance with certainly one of this season’s designers, Sandeep Tupili, cofounder of the model Maison Tai

“I come from the South of India and rising up I by no means noticed garments like this on the runway,” he stated.  “Now, as a homosexual Indian designer, I’ve by no means actually been supported like this, in an area like this. This group is actually unbelievable.” 

Neighborhood is what I discovered within the days I ran round attending the varied SANYFW occasions, which occurred between September 9 and September 13, beginning with actress Richa Moorjani headlining for Raas, a up to date luxurious clothes model from India. I’m a journalist who studies on BIPOC influencers, I’m Indian, and I was an editor at Brown Lady Journal, so I knew plenty of faces within the room already once I walked into the press gathering, the primary occasion of the week. I used to be unprepared, although, for the quick heat from the individuals I simply met. Faces that lit up at any time when they noticed me, participating in conversations about illustration, and checking in to see how my day was going.

It’s that form of group that Shipra Sharma and Hetal Patel, cofounders of SANYFW, have been working so exhausting to domesticate this second time round, based mostly on studying classes from season one. 

“I actually need to see these designers create their very own community and create their very own connections as a result of we will present the platform, however for the designers to get to the subsequent degree, it’s concerning the individuals who get entangled with their manufacturers,” Sharma stated. “I’m truthfully so overwhelmed with pleasure as a result of 10 years in the past, I couldn’t even fathom having an area like we do as we speak the place they might do that.”

One other one of many designers I met was Sheel Svarini, who graduated school solely two years in the past and took this season’s SANYFW by storm when she debuted her assortment Svarini, which she describes as a “Bridgerton”-inspired play on Indo-Western clothes. When she walked out after the fashions displaying her designs on the multi-designer trend present on September 13, she was met with cheers, whistles, and a few standing ovations.

“I used to be designing my clothes as I watched the present final 12 months, so it’s actually a full-circle second for me,” she stated. “I didn’t research trend in any respect, I used to be learning engineering, and there’s no method I might have executed it with out the alternatives I’ve gotten right here.”

You could possibly really feel Sheel’s pleasure each time within the area—each time she noticed me, she, fairly actually, picked me off the ground in a hug. For Archie Agarwal, founding father of handmade high quality jewellery and equipment model Studio Kiyan, it was a faucet on the shoulder and an extended hug at any time when she noticed me.

“Areas like this are so important for the younger girls and boys on the market to see that they’ll be accepted for who they’re,” she stated. “I can solely think about what number of designers shall be right here within the subsequent few years, and it may very well be as a result of they noticed us on their social media.”

Maheen Haq, the designer behind Babougie, agrees. On the multi-designer shows occasion on September 11, she was one of many individuals requested to elucidate extra about her model, and he or she highlighted how grateful she was to the packed room of South Asians who confirmed up in assist.

“After I was younger rising up in Pakistan, I felt like I didn’t have plenty of choices as a result of I couldn’t discover garments in my measurement,” she stated. “Not many individuals, even as we speak, would settle for a model that prioritizes hand-blocking printing from Pakistan in order that simply reveals what sort of group Hetal and Shipra are attempting to construct.” 

[Read Related: 5 South Asian Sustainable Fashion Brands and Their Humble Beginnings]

In the meantime, Promiti Prosun of the model Chaa Latte, embodies the idea of group in her garments. Our interview was interspersed with revelations about our similarities—we’re each Bengali, we each stop our jobs in the course of the pandemic in 2021 and pivoted careers: me to journalism and her to trend.

“The area to be seen like this wasn’t there earlier than,” she stated. “My assortment is about group really, about feeling snug and accepted if you’re strolling into areas wearing your clothes.” 

It’s designer Madiha Dhanani, founder of brand name  Jamil by MD, who highlighted the distinctive aspect of SANYFW on their final evening of reveals: serving to individuals from the diaspora embrace each side of their identities.

“We preserve our worlds so separate, American and Indian, and it’s time we begin mixing our backgrounds collectively,” she stated. “That’s what makes SANYFW so vital. It’s creating the room for us to showcase the best way that trend is shifting ahead.” 

After Dhanani’s assortment debuted on the runway, excited conversations have been already breaking out about what subsequent 12 months’s SANYFW would maintain and the way a lot larger it may very well be, particularly given this 12 months’s recognition by retailers like Good Morning America, NBC Information, and Bloomberg.

As for me, I’ll eagerly be awaiting the possibility to satisfy extra inspirational South Asian designers and creatives subsequent September. It’s goes past the designers and garments for me, it’s about it’s about persevering with to assist the group that was fostered this 12 months.

Shriya Bhattacharya is the Youth Editor at Brown Lady Journal, main a staff of six writers to amplify younger South … Learn extra ›

Holi Celebrations

Holi is a Hindu competition that celebrates the approaching of spring and is noticed close to the tip of winter. It’s additionally known as the competition of colours or the competition of affection. Though my daughters and I are usually not Hindus, (we’re Sikhs) we nonetheless have a good time Holi. Our Holi celebrations all the time embody studying about this competition, making colourful artwork, taking part in with the colourful powders, and making some scrumptious, conventional sweets. That is all the time such an important event to debate the range of Indian tradition with my daughters. I take advantage of this chance to show them about inclusivity and respect for various cultures world wide. All throughout India, completely different states have a good time this competition in their very own significant methods.

[Read Related: Holi With Kids: Celebrating the Festival With Your Family ]

My first expertise celebrating this lovely competition was in college. My roommates, mates and worldwide college students put collectively a stunning day of Holi celebrations outdoors. We have been utterly lined in number of colours — pinks, purples, and blues. There was music, laughter, dancing, and an total joyous ambiance (together with bhang, which is actually a hashish milkshake). It was significantly heartwarming to see so many Indian college students coming collectively as a group, so removed from dwelling, to attach with such a beloved custom.

For these of us, introduced up in Canada, such celebrations have been superb alternatives to genuinely expertise the true spirit of Holi. Much like how it’s executed in India, everybody turned one – there have been no small teams or cliques doing their very own factor; class strains and caste programs, predominant throughout India, disappeared. Everybody joined collectively; our pores and skin tones hidden beneath the brilliant colors of the Holi powders. It certainly was an unforgettable time.

As a baby, I bought to expertise Holi solely via Indian Cinema. Bollywood movies like “Silsila,” “Darr,” and “Mohabbatein” stand out in my reminiscence. The actors are dressed utterly in white originally of the music, having fun with Holi celebrations, and are then painted from head to toe, in varied brilliant colors, by the tip of the music. Since then, I’ve realized that sure colors maintain which means and significance. Purple symbolizes love, fertility, and matrimony; blue represents the Lord Krishna; and inexperienced stands for brand new beginnings.

Now, as a mom, I don’t need my kids to expertise our tradition via a display screen. So we carry these Holi traditions into our dwelling in our personal artistic methods. We definitely are inclined to get artistic since round March there may be nonetheless ample snow on the bottom outdoors and a chill within the air!

The actions we’ve got enjoyable doing are:

  • Making rangoli designs utilizing colored powders (this is a useful web site we’ve used)
  • Making paper flowers to embellish the home with (like those right here)
  • Making tie-dye shirts (we’ve bought a equipment for this as a result of the ladies like it)
  • Baking a standard Indian snack, like gujiya (we bake them as a result of I get paranoid concerning the women being round scorching oil).

[Read Related: Mithai Memories from Holi to Eid and Diwali]

Among the books we get pleasure from studying are:

  • “Let’s Have fun Holi!” by Ajanta Chakraborty and Vivek Kumar (for 3 to seven-year-olds)
  • “Competition of Colours” by Surishtha Seghal and Kabir Seghal (for 2 to eight-year-olds)
  • “Why Do We Have fun Holi” by Anitha Rathod (for eight years outdated and above)

This 12 months, Holi falls on the identical date as Worldwide Ladies’s Day! To mix the 2 celebrations, my daughters and I plan on sketching South Asian females we glance as much as essentially the most, after which including brilliant colors utilizing several types of paint. For one more aspect of texture, we would add the paper flowers to those as properly. I’m pondering these are going to be frame-worthy items of artwork!

Taneet Grewal’s ardour for storytelling started on the age of six with many fictional/magical characters. This grew right into a love … Learn extra ›


Eid-ul-Fitr is a particular vacation that marks the tip of Ramadan — the month of fasting — for Muslims worldwide. Ramadan is a time of gratitude, non secular focus, forgiveness, celebrating group and serving to the needy. Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations mark the conclusion of the holy month of Ramadan.

[Read Related: Tips and Resources to Teach Your Children About Ramadan]

This Ramadan, Brown Lady Journal had the chance to attach with 5 well-liked immigrant mothers and focus on how they make Eid celebrations significant and memorable for his or her kids.

Rubab Bukhari is a busy mother of 5 based mostly in Calgary, Canada. She shared that Eid, for her household, is a day of gathering with family members and sharing a scrumptious meal collectively as an emblem for breaking quick. “Eid is well known as essentially the most joyous event the place we put up Eid decorations and change presents with everybody in the home. New garments are made for everybody; the ladies get enthusiastic about getting henna on their arms and the boys get extra enthusiastic about receiving their Eidi (presents/cash).” 

Whereas many household traditions are sometimes handed down from technology to technology, these mothers have added some newer customs to the Eid celebrations, giving the competition a private contact.

A printed writer, spoken phrase artist and dance health teacher, Nazhah Khawaja shares how she’s constructed new traditions along with her two kids and husband in Illinois, Chicago regardless of not being uncovered to the “Eid taste” herself whereas rising up. 

“My sister recommended adorning the home for Eid with the objective of getting the youngsters within the vacation temper,” she stated. Whatever the exhaustion that adopted because of adorning whereas fasting, Khawaja realized that her sister “was onto one thing.” She added that “children are very visible learners and interpreters — the visible show of decorations helps them to really feel the festivity extra. Eternally grateful to my sister for encouraging this custom that our household has embraced.”

One other new custom that she has embraced is celebrating Eid festivities along with her husband’s household who’re non-Muslim. Moreover, she insists on taking pictures throughout Eid-ul-Fitr to maintain reminiscences alive as a result of one by no means actually is aware of if the individuals within the pictures shall be there subsequent time round. She additionally consists of that the “Eid nap is a should — which suggests adults are dozing off whereas the youngsters are operating wild; ample heavenly chaos and exquisite noise.”

Passing down familial customs from her mom, Khawaja remembers a narrative she had instructed her of how as quickly because the daybreak of Eid arrived, the villagers in Pakistan walked down unpaved streets welcoming Eid with a tune: “Mubarak Eid Mubarak/ Mubarak Khair Mubarak/ Saheliyon Eid Mubarak!” Khawaja’s mom used to sing it each time. “Rising up, my siblings and I might sing this tune in our not-so-refined Urdu, giggle at each other, create our personal, typically goofy lyrics, and even dance foolish strikes,” she shared.

In the meantime, Bengali shemai, Kashmiri kheer and ma’amoul are the favourite Eid desserts in Janan’s family! She is the founder and CEO of the publishing firm, International Bookshelves Intl., a pharmacist by occupation and a mom of three younger women, based mostly in Louisville, Kentucky. They look ahead to dressing up their greatest for Eid prayers essentially the most.

“We like to create small present luggage for mates and handy out to babies on Eid day,” Janan shared. 

Likewise, Ursula Sarah Khan who’s a mother influencer and an accountant by commerce, stated that they fill their Eid-themed present luggage with all kinds of goodies like sweet, bubbles and pencils. On Eid-ul-Fitr, her eight-year-old son, Ibrahim, distributes these luggage amongst the boys after Eid prayers, whereas her five-year-old daughter, Eliyah, arms them to the ladies. 

In addition they bake Eid cookies collectively along with swapping their Ramadan decor with Eid decor, whereas nonetheless of their Eid pajamas of their Northern Virginia dwelling! 

Mixing older traditions with some newer ones, Sarah carries on her mom’s age-old custom of creating sheer khorma — a Pakistani dessert made with vermicelli, milk, dates and nuts — within the morning. 

[Read Related:6 Muslim Content Creators Share Their Favorite Eid Recipes ]

She additionally explains to her kids the significance of Zakat or charity, which is what her mom taught her: “I now take this similar method with my kids to make sure they’ve a deep understanding of the generosity Islam teaches.”

Talking of dwelling and household, Haffsa Rizwani — a Canadian, at the moment residing in Stockholm, Sweden, as a PhD candidate — stated: “Residing away from dwelling, Canada, the place my quick household resides, we’ve got a practice of touring from Stockholm to my aunt’s home in Oslo, Norway, each Eid. Particularly to mark the celebration as a household occasion for my kids.” Collectively along with her aunt, Haffsa’s daughter will get her henna executed and goes purchasing for bangles! She goes on to elucidate how Eid-ul-Fitr is a chance to not solely gown up, but additionally regain that morning ritual of chai and evenings with video games like carrom board; “a sport performed until my uncle wins.”

As Rizwani so eloquently places it, “Whereas my kids are nonetheless fairly small, my daughter is now of age to understand and perceive the which means of gratitude, blessings, and giving again. She now has the empathy to understand the inequalities and injustices on the earth. Ramadan is due to this fact a month of being grateful and making additional duas. Eid is a day of celebration with gratitude and blessings.”

What these mothers want for his or her kids to study from the spirit of Eid are the values of gratitude, generosity, compassion, togetherness and information. 

Rumki Chowdhury was born in Bangladesh, however grew up within the USA. She has additionally lived within the UK and … Learn extra ›



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