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AN ONLINE PUBLICATION BY THE INDO-CARIBBEAN CANADIAN ASSOCIATION
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A Conversation with Brian Benni: Bravo's Rising Star Gets Candid On Representation, Finding Love & Family Karma

Written by Felicia Gopi

If you’re sleeping on Family Karma, it’s time to wake up. The show, which just wrapped its third season, is a global sensation that boasts a lineup of stars who are all of Indian descent navigating family, friendship and of course, love. Among the cast is possibly one of the fastest-rising stars in the Bravoverse - Brian Benni. Brian’s charm, humour and banter with his parents have easily made him one of the most relatable people I’ve seen on television in a long time. Did I mention he’s also Indo-Caribbean? 

 

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Brian to chat more with him about his identity, his parents’ love story, Family Karma and some of his budding Bravo friendships …and you know, he spilled some serious chai. ...Read More

Reshmi Chetram on Dance, Family, and Connecting to Culture

Written by Rebecca Dass

“The word Kathak is derived from the Sanskrit word, Katha, which means story. [I’m] a storyteller by trade and by soul.”

Reshmi Chetram, 35,  is an Indian Classical dance educator, Reflexology practitioner, cultural philanthropist and mother of two. Growing up as an Indo-Caribbean Canadian, she considers herself lucky to have been fully immersed in her cultural identity and community engagement from a young age.

 

Reshmi was introduced to dance through her late mother; Deviekha Chetram, who was the owner of Tarana Dance School. Together with her sister, the late Geeta Leo, the pair came from Guyana, in the 80's. Since then, they have planted roots for many fellow immigrant families and emerging artists to preserve Indo Caribbean music, dance and culture. ...Read More

Divide and Conquer: An Ongoing Legacy of Colonialism in the Indo-Caribbean Diaspora

Written by Dev Ramsawakh

I first wrote about the colonial tactic of “Divide and Rule” and the ways it was deployed in the Caribbean, specifically in Trinidad and Tobago, in 2017 as part of an assignment for a class taught by Arnold Itwaru on Caribbean Societies. Even then, scholars from communities impacted by colonialism have been writing about this tactic for decades, if not longer; it’s hardly a new concept. 

 

That first essay was a historical review of the political and economic strategies that were used to create a racial divide to keep African and Indian communities distracted by their distrust and displaced anger at each other—simultaneously erasing the Indigenous peoples who originally tended to the land—instead of uniting against their common oppressor. In this essay however, I argue that our Indo-Caribbean diasporic community has unwittingly continued this tradition that keeps us divided from each other. ...Read More

Beauty Trends Can Be Problematic: Here Are 6 Brown Girl Friendly Influencers That Actually Look Like Us

Written by Felicia Gopi

Trying out new beauty trends can be fun and exciting, especially in the TikTok and Instagram Reels era where it seems like a new trend pops up before I can even master the one from the day before. TikTok hacks can speed up your glam time dramatically, and sometimes, they can leave you with a bit of a mess to clean up. Nevertheless, I love trying out new beauty trends, but I’m often left wondering, “are these really brown girl friendly?” I’m looking at you vanilla girls. 

Recently, I read an article on Byrdie by Ariane Resnick about how problematic the Clean Girl aesthetic is, in that it perpetuates a very white-centric standard of beauty. Resnick really nails the issue when she writes that it, “worsens the already too prevalent problems in our culture of not valuing women of color, those who earn lower wages, and anyone else who doesn't have the look of a skinny, white, unblemished ingenue.” (source: Ariane Resnick via Byrdie.com) 

 

It validated exactly how I was feeling and made me question further, how much the beauty industry, the social media industry and influencers overall really think about us when producing products, trends and content. More often than not, they don’t. Inclusivity is an afterthought at best in corporate boardrooms or zoom meetings, algorithms are constantly pushing white influencers to the forefront of our feeds and some of those influencers just don’t seem to get us. ...Read More

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Ayesha Khan: A Political Staffer Who Shares with Us Her Views on Religion, Art & Community

Written by Rebecca Dass

Ayesha Khan, 27, is an Indo-Guyanese political staffer born and raised in Toronto. In her past, she used to be a bit of an actress and model before turning to the world of politics. She completed her undergraduate degree at York University in Environmental Studies, with a stream in Politics, and is now currently pursuing a Masters in Public Policy, Administration & Law. 

 

She first joined the Indo-Caribbean Canadian Association (ICCA) in 2021, and currently holds the title as one of the Vice Chairs of ICCA. At first, the historical content that ICCA shared on social media really spoke to her, and keeping Indo-Caribbean history alive was one of her drivers to join.

 

“We’re a culture that has suffered displacement,” she says. “Our methods of story-keeping and record keeping have been damaged over the years, but this is almost like the youth, the younger generation is trying to reclaim that and going back and tracing the footsteps of our ancestors, and I think that act is so powerful.” ...Read More 

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A Time for Reflection, Celebration, and Family Karma: A Letter from the Editor

Written by Felicia Gopi

I’d like to think of March as a dynamic time of year. It’s a tipping point where as Canadians, we brace ourselves for those last ditch winter storms, but at the same time, we hold onto hope that it’s a time for more sunlight and temperatures above zero. There’s something about the onset of Spring that personally makes me feel lighter and more inspired. 

 

For this issue we really wanted to explore that inspiration that comes at a time of year that is so significant to our community with both Holi and Ramadan being observed this month. However, as I write this letter I also feel incredibly troubled by the ongoing attacks on our religious places of worship here in Canada. 


Following a series of attacks on Hindu Mandirs across Australia, the UK and now Canada concern has been growing among the Indian community and Indian diaspora about what this means for our safety. I was saddened to hear about the hateful messages that were spray painted and vandalism that took place at Ram Mandir last month, which is owned, led and operated by Indo-Caribbean members of the community. We, just like everybody else, deserve to feel safe. ...Read More