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#BlindianProject The meeting Place for black x south asian cULtures.

HOW IT ALL STARTED:

In 2017, as Batambuze and his family pack their bags for a holiday, a news headline titled, "African Victims of Racism in India Share Their Stories," pops onto his phone. Al-Jazeera reports that angry mobs across the country are roaming the streets — looking to harm Africans. The following day, Batambuze and his Black x Indian mixed-race family will board a plane into the eyewall of the hurricane.

These mob beatings confirm a deep-rooted anti-Black sentiment within the South Asian community. To fight the negativity, Batambuze extends a call to action to other Blindian couples and creates the #BlindianProject to normalize Black x South Asian relationships.

Today, the #BlindianProject is a globally crowdsourced art-based project, & podcast redefining Black x South Asian relationships through first-person storytelling, compelling visuals, music, and art. Learn more @BlindianProject.

""When we first got married, aunties always made a point of mentioning other Black x South Asian couples they knew. It took 10-years to meet another person/couple that shared similar experiences. The #BlindianProject is a platform to share our stories - Jonah Batambuze

As we stood on the tube platform, tears slowly ran down my now wife’s cheek. “What’s the matter?” I asked, confused at what had caused her to suddenly become emotional.

“I can’t be with you,” she replied.

This was the moment that I realised the guilt that consumed her for being in a relationship with a Black man. And how it had presented an emotional albatross for her. As a Black man, I was the antithesis of all her culture had taught her to seek in a partner. I represented a betrayal to her family, her culture and all that she felt it was her duty to manifest. Alas, sometimes cultural expectations can often be void of rationale but they can carry more weight than logic itself. Read Managing The Guilt Of a Blindian Relationship.

Black x South Asian relationships are far from conventional. For those unaware, meeting the parents is often a predecessor to engagement and the opportunity to state one's intent of marriage. Listen to Jenova and Denzel share their experience of meeting each other's families. And, find out what happened when Denzel shows up to meet Jenova's parent's resume and cover letter in hand

“I met my fiancé Ben on Bumble, after moving to Pennsylvania for graduate school. I was testing the waters with dating apps and didn’t expect to actually meet someone I would want to have a relationship with. At the same time, my parents had started to look for guys for me from India. I became worried about them and told them I was talking to Ben before we even started a relationship. The way they treated me was so hurtful that I realized that my parents focus on family reputation, wealth status, career etc. wasn’t my main lens for viewing a partner. I decided to ask myself what I prioritize the most. Was it pleasing my parents/family and seeking their approval of me? Or, staying true to myself. Because I don’t fear interracial relationships, they do. I don’t fear another culture, they do. I don’t need to follow my family into fear. Once I decided to separate myself from that, I decided to move forward dating Ben and see if we are even complementary to each other. It was important to set healthy boundaries with them so I didn’t let them affect our relationship. After two-years together, we’re getting married later this year. The main thing I would share is to not let fear control us. Fear is inevitable, but sometimes we just have to do it scared. My fiancé and I are very different people and our backgrounds are polar opposites. Instead of letting the differences become a limiting factor in our relationship, we have decided to learn more about each other and allow it to build our character. It’s easy to stay in our comfort zone and only interact with people we are used to being around. We want to encourage people to build bridges between cultures, ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, religions, political affiliations, etc.”

Read more profiles like this on our Instagram profile.

Introducing the #BlindianProject podcast - Episode 0

The #BlindianProject podcast is brought to you by the #BlindianProject and hosted by Jonah Batambuze and co-hosts Nimal Jude and Arion Lawrence. It's a show that uses love to redefine relationships between Black x South Asian communities.

In our first episode, we provide the background behind the #BlindianProject. We explain the format of the show and what we hope you’ll learn by tuning in.

In episode 3, we sit down with Indian-Canadian journalist Dhruva Balram, to discuss antiBlackness within the South Asian community. Balram is culture writer well-known for publishing a series of articles on the subject. His work has been featured in, GQ, NPR, Dazed, Huck and other leading publications. After experiencing antiBlackness as a youngster, Balram found inspiration to investigate the issue further.

"Around 2015, I was spending time with my grandmother in India. She made a passing comment about how dark I'd gotten because I'd spent some time at the beaches. That's when I realized this behavior hadn't changed, and I set off on my journey that continues to this day."

Join us as we talk through the basis for antiBlackness in the South Asian community, and how we can help unlearn this complex issue. Topics discussed include; casteism, colonialism, colorism, Bollywood, the music scene, and much more. Follow us on social media @BlindianProject: Instagram Facebook Twitter

The #BlindianProject is a crowdsourced gallery, sharing the stories of Black x Indian couples from around the world. 2020 is our year. To participate tag your photos on social with the hashtag #BlindianProject — or email us on kampind@gmail.com.

Jonah Batambuze is a multidisciplinary creative with a focus on cultural design and community building. His work focuses on uplifting the underdog and connecting communities through online & offline activations. Batambuze co-founded KampInd in 2015, and his crowdsourced online campaigns have garnered media placements in BBC World News, ITV London, Metro U.K., BBC Radio London, The Times of India.

Created By
Jonah Batambuze
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