american indian actor

ASIAN ACTORS YOU NEED TO KNOW: Kalpen “Kal Penn” Suresh Modi
Ethnicity → Gujarati-Indian American
Breakout Role → Kumar Patel in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle 
Current/Upcoming Role(s) → Seth Wright in ABC’s Designated Survivor (Wednesdays @ 10/9 C)
Fun Fact → Kal Penn went back and forth from acting to work as the Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement during the Obama Administration from 2009-2011
Official Links → IMDB | Twitter | Instagram
Meet The Comedian Who Has A Problem With Apu
In the middle of talking to me about his upcoming documentary on The Simpsons, comic Hari Kondabolu described watching the show with his brother. It was a Treehouse of Horror episode, a Halloween-themed series of vignettes that The Simpsons does every year. In this episode, parodying The Most Dangerous Game, Mr. Burns hunts humans and says, “I smell fear… and curry.” Of course, he then shoots Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the Indian convenience store owner from the show. “That’s not even clever,” Kondabolu said to me over the phone. “And it’s un-Simpsons-like.”
By Gita Jackson

In the middle of talking to me about his upcoming documentary on The Simpsons, comic Hari Kondabolu described watching the show with his brother. It was a Treehouse of Horror episode, a Halloween-themed series of vignettes that The Simpsons does every year. In this episode, parodying The Most Dangerous Game, Mr. Burns hunts humans and says, “I smell fear… and curry.”  Of course, he then shoots Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the Indian convenience store owner from the show.  “That’s not even clever,” Kondabolu said to me over the phone.  “And it’s un-Simpsons-like.”

Kondabolu is the producer and star of The Problem With Apu, a documentary airing tonight at 10pm on truTV.  It’s about the character, Kondabolu’s own relationship to The Simpsons, and the character’s impact on Indian Americans.  Kondabolu interviews Indian American actors and entertainers about how their careers have been waylaid by stereotypes and the racism they have experienced in Hollywood and beyond.  It’s also about his futile attempt to talk to Hank Azaria, the white man who voices Apu, who we learn at the beginning of the documentary has declined Kondabolu’s interview request.

In 2012, Kondabolu was writing for Totally Biased with Kamau Bell.  He wrote a short comedy segment about the premiere of Mindy Kaling’s then-new show, The Mindy Project, the first ever sitcom starring an Indian American.  While the segment was mostly about South Asian representation, Kondabolu included a joke about The Simpsons.  At one point, Kondabolu says, “There are now enough Indians that I don’t have to like you just because you’re Indian.  Growing up, I had no choice but to like this.”  Next to him, a picture of Apu pops up.

The skit resonated with viewers.  “It did really well, and it was something that people passed around even after the show got canceled,” Kondabolu said.  “The fact that it was still seen as relevant made me think that there’s something deeper here.”  The skit’s continued relevance inspired him to make The Problem With Apu.  In one part of the documentary, Kondabolu interviews people on the street to ask whether or not they knew Apu is voiced by a white guy.  One person, upon learning this, asks Kondabolu how he feels about it.  He replies, “Oh, I’m making a movie about how much I dislike it.”  Many people in the documentary seem exasperated that no one has talked about Apu in this way before.

It’s not that Apu is an entirely bad character, or that The Simpsons is a bad show.  Kondobulu describes himself as a lifelong fan of The Simpsons.  In The Problem With Apu, Kondabolu explains how Apu is often propped up as a nice, naive immigrant foil to the more white bread characters’ narcissism and stupidity.  But this conflicts with Azaria’s somewhat mocking vocal delivery.  In fact, in Kondabolu’s documentary, we learn that Azaria was specifically told not to play the one off convenience store clerk who would become Apu as Indian, but did it anyway.  In an interview with the Archive Of American Television, Azaria describes the genesis of the voice as an impersonation of a convenience store clerk who irritated him.  “It’s a way of working out aggression,” he said.  “I’m describing how annoying you are, this is what you sound like.”

This voice, and the Indian American stereotypes that come with it, have plagued Kondabolu for years.  In the segment for Totally Biased, Kondabolu says Apu sounded like “a white guy doing an impression of a white guy making fun of my father.”  He described being a fan of a show with a character he finds so demeaning being like eating something that’s partially rotten, trying to avoid the spoiled parts.  “That episode I was watching with my brother was hilarious!” he said.  “Then it’s like, really?  We’re gonna do this now?  It takes you out of it, and it reminds you that you don’t belong with us.”

“Initially when Apu came out when I was a kid, I was happy we existed,” Kondabolu told me.  “It was like, holy shit, people actually recognize us.  We exist.  After a while, I was like, that’s not enough, I don’t want to exist like this.  I’d rather not exist than if it’s just this one thing.”

As Kondabolu explains in his documentary, the problem with Apu isn’t just the character — it’s that the character is one of the few ways Indian Americans can exist on screen.  In conversation with other Indian American actors and entertainers, they describe long careers of playing cabbies, terrorists and convenience store owners.  Many say they took these roles because they had no other choice.  Actress Sakina Jaffrey, who plays Antara Nayar on Mr. Robot, describes to Kondabolu “patanking,” which is the act of performing a broad, stereotypical Indian accent, saying she is expected to do it “like a monkey.”

Kondabolu was very aware that making a documentary that’s critical of a beloved television show would catch him some heat.  Even before the documentary has aired, he’s faced criticism online for being “too sensitive” or “politically correct.”  For Kondabolu, criticizing Apu isn’t about telling people what art they can or cannot make.  “It’s just, especially with Hollywood shit, you have to be more careful, more thoughtful, and wonder whether it’s worth it,” he said.  “Is this joke funny enough, or interesting enough?”  It’s not something that has an easy answer, and The Problem With Apu doesn’t present one way to fix or change the character.

“One thing would be to develop the characters of his children,” Kondabolu told me when I asked if there was something they could change about Apu that would feel satisfying.  “At least then you would have some depth.”  He suggested bringing in more South Asian writers, or even letting Apu get another job.  “People say to me that you can’t change this beloved thing,” he said.  “It’s like, Maude Flanders is dead, Krabappel is gone.  They make changes, things happen and you adjust to it.”

anonymous asked:

On twitter people hate on kala but they seems to like kalagang do you think their relationship more about wolfgang than kala it is so depressing to see people saying she doesn't help cluster anyway and she is so privileged except for kalagang there is nothing for her I finally got a indian character that makes so much sense I just wish people stop comparing her to sun nomi n Riley they went through so much n kala is strong in her own way this thing is so depressing for me

ok first of all, first rule to being happy on the internet: if somebody starts saying or doing things you’re not into, unfollow them. it’s that simple. you don’t need that negativity in ya life my dude

second of all, kala is amazing??? and kalagang is beautiful?? so live your life and let bitter people be bitter if they wanna be

third of all, reasons these people are Wrong (imo):

  • Privilege doesn’t make a character boring. What’s boring is a show where everyone is the same or has the same level of privilege. The whole point of this show is to help us see the different ways people live all over the world, and guess what? Some people are privilged. some people have money and complete, nuclear families and somehow don’t murder people on a day to day basis. I personally can’t relate to many aspects of some of the other sensates, but I can really relate to some of Kala’s because we share some of the same privileges. What’s great is that there is a bit of everything, so that many people can feel represented and identify with different characters.
  • Along the same lines and going off what you said above - everyone’s struggles are different. Each character’s initial, core struggle - separate from BPO and the narrative arch of the show, but tied to their story and sense of self - is different. Riley struggles with PTSD from her experience with Magnus and Luna. Sun struggles to juggle her promise to her late mother and the way her family and her world treats her. Nomi struggles with a transphobic family. And Kala struggles knowing a that marrying Rajan will bring her everything she has been taught to want - a loving husband, financial stability, a good job, social standing, etc. Except that she doesn’t want any of it. It doesn’t make her happy. But if she doesn’t choose Rajan, she’s turning her back on her family and the heavy societal expectations of her culture and heritage.
  • Kala is an Indian woman in an American show. How many indian actors play main characters in American television? I genuinely can only think of four - Aziz Ansari in Master of None, Mindy Kaling in The Mindy Project, Priyanka Chopra in Quantico, and, you guessed it, Tina Desai in Sense8. So while Kala the character is privileged, her existance is still a huge step forward in representation not just for Indian and Desi people, but for POC and WOC everywhere
  • Kalagang is 100% NOT all about Wolfgang wtf??? The whole POINT of Kalagang is that they’re perfect for each other, that they are both just exactly what the other needs. “You have something good and beautiful hidden inside of you. Just as there is something dark and wicked inside of me.” Wolfgang needs someone who will let him be good and beautiful, who will see the softness in him despite every dark thing he has been  through and done. And Kala needs someone to let her be dark and wicked. Someone who doesn’t hold her to an expectation of pleasantness, of niceness, of pristine-perfect-beautiful-wife. They are the perfect yin and yang, and to say the relationship is all about Wolfgang is to do both their narratives a huge disservice, and honestly, to have some god-awful reading comprehension tbh
So.. This is happening...

Rooney Mara is cast as Tiger Lily in the new Peter Pan movie. How much do you want to bet that it will come out in a bit that she has Native blood??! And most likely Cherokee! 

Why does Hollywood keep doing this? We have talented, beautiful Native actresses who deserve to even be up for a role like this. 

This is who I would like to see cast in this role:

Tanaya Beatty

Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs 

Shayla Stonechild

C'mon Hollywood, you know we are still here right? Right????

Elvis Presley is inducted into the Los Angeles Tribal Council by Chief Wha-Nee-Ota for his ‘constructive portrayal of a man of Indian blood’ in Flaming Star ~ 1960

– - under the cut are #38 small and medium gifs of ( manish dayal ), an indian-american actor, in various interviews. all of these gifs were made by me for the purpose of roleplaying, but feel free to edit them, use them in bio graphics, etc, just don’t claim them as your own or repost in photosets or gif hunts. please like and/or reblog if you found this useful!

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Congrats to the NEW MRS UNIVERSE: Ashley Callingbull (Burnham)

Ashley Callingbull (Enoch Cree Nation) just won Mrs. Universe in Minsk, Belarus. Ashley is an actress, model and motivational speaker. Ashley truly believes that education is the basis of all her success. At the age of 16, Ashley graduated from High School and is continuing with her University studies to pursue her Bachelor of Arts degree focusing on drama and acting/television. Ashley hopes to provide inspiration to other young aboriginals.

Ashley in her pageant haute couture gown designed by Joey Galon, ATELIER. 

Stylist: Joey Galon

Hair/Makeup: Katherine Graciano

Photography: Oscar Picazo

Hey RPC, you’re getting better, you really are, I’m proud and you should be proud too, but there’s still way too many Native fcs who don’t have proper resources so I, Natalie, with my Microsoft Word Graphic Making has decided to make you Part One (Part Two will be up tomorrow, Part Three Sunday) of a Masterlist of Female (Cis & Trans) Native North American (including Alaska and Greenland) and South American Faceclaims with resources equalling fewer than 100 gifs/gif icons/rp icons (part two is non binary, part three is cis and trans males) so that you can look here for some fcs to make resources of (this is even going to be used for personal reference for fcs I’ll be making resources of). Beside each person is their age (if known, if not known it says “unknown age”), their tribe(s) (I did not include anyone on here who is “tribe unspecified”), and what they’ve done, as well as any social media accounts that they may have. Not all faceclaims are 100% Native, and it is stated beside each if they are not (with what else they are). All faceclaims are aged 13 or older and living. Italicized are faceclaims who at least have some resources, bolded are faceclaims who don’t have any resources (and I’m sorry to say there are a ton more bolded than italicized). There are a total of #226 faceclaims under the cut, I’m sure I missed people, though, and I’m sorry for that. Note: these are only including resources I could find on tumblr, some may already have resources on places like livejournal or deviant-art that I’m unaware of.

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In the summer of 2013, Odom saw a workshop of what was then called the Hamilton Mixtape as part of a festival of new work at Vassar’s Powerhouse Theater.

“I saw that it worked in six seconds,” he told BuzzFeed News at the Hester Street Café in the New Museum on New York City’s Lower East Side. “Six seconds into that opening: ‘How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore, and a Scotsman…’ You’re like, Something’s about to happen. Something. Those first lyrics — what the fuck is happening here? And by the end of the opening number, you’re in even deeper.”

What moved Odom most was the way the show’s cast was populated largely by actors of color, including Indian-American actor Utkarsh Ambudkar as Alexander Hamilton’s adversary, Aaron Burr, a role Odom would eventually take over. While the historical figures portrayed in the musical were white, writer-creator Lin-Manuel Miranda deliberately conceived the roles for actors of diverse ethnic backgrounds.

By the end of “The Story of Tonight” — the song in which Hamilton, played by Miranda, forges a bond with contemporaries Burr, the Marquis de Lafayette, Hercules Mulligan, and John Laurens — Odom was in tears.

“I was watching great performances and hearing great music, but it was so—” he stopped to collect his thoughts. “Actors of color rarely get to do material that is that well-crafted. That’s exciting. I was seeing something really special. So I was in a puddle, seven minutes into the reading.”

At the time, Odom didn’t imagine that eight shows a week on Broadway, he’d be playing Burr, the former vice president who shot and killed Hamilton in a duel. It’s a responsibility that he’s taken very seriously ever since he first assumed the role in a workshop in the fall of 2013.

Not only is Burr pivotal to the plot, but he also introduces the audience to the story and carries them throughout the show as its narrator. It’s Odom as Burr who steps onstage first every night and begins the performance with the opening lines of “Alexander Hamilton” that moved him to tears the first time he heard them.

“I’m the tour guide for the night, and so it’s my job to make sure they’re OK, to make sure they’re getting it,” he explained. “It’s my job to make sure they stay with me because we have a lot of ground to cover, and we’re going quickly.”

In that opening number, Burr lays out the plot and announces his culpability in Hamilton’s death. So, it may be impossible to make Hamilton’s ending a surprise, but that doesn’t mean Odom isn’t trying.

“I want them to forget, somewhere in the middle of the show, how it’s gonna end,” he said. “You go see a great production of Romeo and Juliet, where those kids are full of life and love, you hope and forget. You hope that it’s gonna end differently, and you take the ride, when you see it done well.”

But even if the audience is primed for Hamilton and Burr’s inevitable confrontation, the emotional potency of the moment can still catch them off-guard. Odom, for example, has said the line “I had only one thought before the slaughter / This man will not make an orphan of my daughter” onstage nearly 500 times. But with each performance of the musical’s penultimate song “The World Was Wide Enough” — from the workshop, to the show’s off-Broadway run at the Public Theater, to its Broadway opening in August 2015 — he tries to play it differently.

On the cast recording, Odom’s voice cracks with emotion on the word “orphan,” but he doesn’t always break down in tears at the same time. Sometimes he doesn’t cry at all. And sometimes, he’s sobbing long before he reaches that point.

For Odom, choosing how to play Burr for the night hinges on the performers around him and the tiny variations that make each show unique.

“What I try to do is just to honor the truth of whatever we are collectively, whatever we have created in the room at that time,” he said. “If we’ve created a simpler thing tonight, if we’ve created a quieter thing tonight, then that’s right, then that’s what we want.”

That speaks to what Odom has learned after playing Burr for nearly three years: The audience isn’t always going to respond to the same moments the same way. And even in a musical with near-universal acclaim like Hamilton, he’s not resting easy.

“I want to know that I’m gonna knock ‘em dead every night,” Odom said. “But what I believe is knocking ‘em dead, what this show has taught me, what this time in my life is teaching me, is that knocking them dead each night can look different.”

He paused, grinning. “I just don’t want to fuck this thing up.”

Current Race-Bend characters in the DCCU

Wonder Woman played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot

Aquaman played by Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa

Perry White played by African-American actor Laurence Fishburne

Mercy Graves played by Japanese actress Tao Okamoto

Deadshot played by African-American actor Will Smith

Slipknot played by North-American Indian actor Adam Beach

Ansari And Yang Explore The First-Generation Experience In ‘Master Of None’

In the new Netflix series Master of None, comic Aziz Ansari plays an Indian-American actor in New York who’s having a hard time finding good roles. It’s a story that Ansari and other actors are familiar with.

“As an actor there [are] frustrations when you don’t create your own content,” Ansari tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “I feel like if I didn’t do this show, the kind of stuff I would’ve been offered, if it wasn’t just ethnic stuff, it would’ve been just versions of things I’ve done in the past … where I would just come into a room and yell things that sounded vaguely like 'treat yo self.’ ”

Ansari is known for his stand-up as well as for his roles in the film Funny People and on the TV series Parks and Recreation (from which the tagline “treat yo self” came). He describes Master of None, which he co-created and co-writes with Alan Yang, as a show that has a nuanced approach to ethnicity and race.

Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang spoke to Fresh Air about their new series, which will be released on Netflix tomorrow.