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south asian

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Man’s ‘animosity towards South Asians’ led to murder of cab driver in Canada, prosecutors say

winnipeg cab driver killing
  • Okoth Obeing, who is accused of killing taxi driver Balvir Toor in Canada in 2020, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder on the opening day of his trial in the Manitoba Court of King’s Bench.
  • Crown prosecutor Chantal Boutin told Judge Joan McKelvey during the trial on Wednesday that Obeing has a history of animosity toward taxi drivers and South Asian people.
  • Prosecutors noted that while they acknowledge that Obeing was suffering from mental illness, they seek to prove that he understood that what he did was wrong.
  • “We, the Crown, say that this killing was an intentional act of violence born of anger, a murder for which he is criminally responsible,” said Boutin.
  • On Thursday, Const. Marnie Johannesson, an officer at the Winnipeg Police Service's central processing unit, testified that Obeing threatened an officer while being held following his arrest, telling him, “You are next.”
  • Obeing also allegedly uttered racial slurs during conversations, and even told a guard: "You are the same color as the guy I killed."

The man accused of killing a taxi driver in Winnipeg, Canada, in 2020 pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder on the opening day of his trial in the Manitoba Court of King’s Bench.

Okoth Obeing, 22, is accused of fatally stabbing Balvir Toor, 44, just minutes after entering the latter’s cab at around 5 a.m on March 19, 2020.

‘Everyone is scared’: Older South Asian women targeted by jewelry thieves in North Texas

  • Police in Frisco, Texas are looking for suspects accused in at least four robberies targeting South Asian women in their 50s or 60s for their jewelry in recent weeks.
  • The thefts, which involved a black sedan for a suspect vehicle, occurred on Sept. 13, Sept. 27, Nov. 20 and Nov. 22 in Frisco neighborhoods.
  • The robberies involved tactics of approaching the victim, engaging with them, placing a necklace around their neck and then grabbing the one they were already wearing.
  • Police described the suspects as a heavy-set, dark-skinned male driver in his 30s with short curly hair and a heavy-set or pregnant white female passenger.

Police in Frisco, Texas, are looking for suspects they say are responsible for at least four robberies targeting older South Asian women for their jewelry in recent weeks.

In the latest two cases reported this week, a man driving a car approached the victims to ask for help with his “pregnant” wife. A woman then got off the vehicle, engaged with the victims and forcibly removed their gold necklaces.

Viral TikTok trend accused of appropriating, sexualizing South Asian culture

Bollywood dance
  • A Bollywood dance routine from the 2019 film “Batla House” has gained popularity with non-South Asian creators, who have changed a move from the routine.
  • In the original dance, actor Nora Fatehi drops to the ground to perform a series of hip thrusts.
  • However, non-South Asian TikTokers have switched the hip thrusts to a body roll, which is a slow fluid movement of the hips moving upwards then downwards.
  • In an interview with Insider, South Asian creators criticized the trendified version of the routine, saying that the videos are fetishizing and appropriating South Asian culture.

South Asian creators have spoken out against a viral Bollywood dance routine on TikTok as they believe that the trend sexualizes and appropriates South Asian culture.

The trending dance comes from a scene in the 2019 Bollywood film “Batla House.” In recent months, the South Asian community have been posting TikToks of themselves dancing to the routine along with the song “O Saki Saki.” 

California man charged with hate crimes for targeting South Asian women in necklace robbery spree

  • Lathan Johnson, 37, is facing robbery and hate crime charges after allegedly targeting South Asian women in a two-month robbery spree in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Beginning in June, Johnson snatched approximately $35,000 worth of necklaces off of at least 14 women in San Jose, Milpitas, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, according to prosecutors.
  • In one incident, Johnson allegedly shoved the victim to the ground and punched her husband before grabbing a $1,000 necklace off her neck.
  • Almost all of the victims were wearing a sari, bindi or other types of ethnic attire when they were attacked.
  • Johnson, of East Palo Alto, is scheduled to be arraigned today on hate crime charges.

A man has been charged with hate crimes after targeting South Asian women in a two-month robbery spree in the San Francisco Bay Area, prosecutors said on Monday.

Lathan Johnson, 37, of East Palo Alto, is accused of snatching necklaces from at least 14 women — aged 50 to 73 — and injuring some of them in the process.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas says it took nearly 10 years to get desired Hollywood roles

  • Indian actor and model Priyanka Chopra Jonas shared during a recent interview with Pinkvilla that she is finally getting her desired Hollywood roles after working in the American film industry for almost 10 years.
  • A renowned Bollywood star in India, Chopra Jonas lamented how there still aren’t “enough Hollywood opportunities right now” for South Asian actors.
  • “In big commercial films, one has to struggle a lot to get a lead role or a leading role. It takes a lot of work," she shared. “I have been working in Hollywood for almost 10 years and now I am finally doing what I wanted to do."
  • “It has really been my quest since I started working in Hollywood to be able to create or take on mainstream and pivotal characters in big commercial entertainment… because I didn't have it,” she told NextShark in December.
  • Chopra Jonas has several upcoming projects, including the Amazon Prime series “Citadel” and the film “It's All Coming Back to Me.”

Indian actor and model Priyanka Chopra Jonas said it took her nearly a decade of struggling before finally finding success in Hollywood.

During a recent interview with Pinkvilla, Chopra Jonas opened up about her initial challenges with breaking into the American film industry following her thriving Bollywood career.

South Asians in Metro Vancouver fear racist backlash after police release image of 11 men deemed to pose public safety risk

  • South Asian community members in Metro Vancouver expressed their concern after British Columbia police released a composite picture of 11 men who are believed to be connected to high levels of organized crime-related violence and gang violence.
  • The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia (CFSEU-BC) released the pictures of the men, most of whom are of South Asian descent, on Aug. 3.
  • “It is highly likely a rival gangster will target them with violence," CFSEU Asst. Cmdr. Manny Mann said. “We want British Columbians to know their faces.”
  • “I want to make it clear that today's announcement is not about naming and shaming. Identifying these men is in the interest of public safety,” Vancouver Deputy Chief Fiona Wilson said during a news conference.
  • Tamara Humphrey, assistant professor of sociology specializing in criminology at the University of Victoria, believes that disclosing information about individuals who allegedly pose a public safety risk can create more problems than solutions.
  • "We can see an increase in harassment or aggression toward communities of color as a result of these widespread notifications," she continued, noting that just because certain individuals are deemed a potential public safety risk does not necessarily mean they have been charged with crimes in the past. 

The South Asian community in Metro Vancouver expressed concerns over potential racist backlash after authorities released a picture of 11 men who allegedly pose a public safety risk due to gang affiliations.

On Aug. 3, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia (CFSEU-BC) released a composite image of 11 men connected to high levels of organized crime-related violence and gang violence, according to the authorities.

‘Mr. Malcom’s List’ star Freida Pinto on Hollywood now being ‘brave’ enough to offer her diverse roles

  • Actor Freida Pinto opened up to NextShark about navigating Hollywood as a South Asian actor and how Hollywood was not “brave” enough to offer the roles it does now.
  • Pinto first rose to prominence after starring as Latika in the wildly popular 2008 Academy Award-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire.”
  • Her new period drama, “Mr. Malcolm’s List,” tells the story of Mr. Malcolm, a mysterious and wealthy bachelor living in 19th-century London who procures a list of qualities his future wife must have.
  • Pinto plays Selina Dalton, the film’s female lead who is recruited by childhood friend Julia Thistlewait to trick Mr. Malcolm into falling in love with her after a humiliating incident.
  • “A film like ‘Mr. Malcolm’s List’ would’ve never been offered to me in 2008 when I’d just come on the scene with ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’” Pinto shares. “I don’t think there were people brave enough to take the risk at that point in time, or even thinking of taking this risk at that point in time.”

Actor Freida Pinto opened up to NextShark about navigating Hollywood as a South Asian actor and how Hollywood was not “brave” enough to offer the roles it does now. 

Pinto first rose to prominence after starring as Latika in the wildly popular 2008 Academy Award-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire.” She went on to star in several other blockbusters, including “Rise of the Planet Apes” opposite actor James Franco as well as fantasy action film “Immortals” alongside Henry Cavill and Luke Evans.  

Changing Hollywood landscape welcomes increased South Asian representation at Oscars

priyanka south asian excellence
  • This year, 10 South Asians walked down the Academy Awards red carpet at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, making history as the largest group of South Asians to be nominated for Oscars. 
  • Priyanka Chopra co-hosted a pre-Oscars celebration last week alongside Mindy Kaling, Kumail Nanjiani, Anjula Acharia, Maneesh K. Goyal, Shruti Ganguly and Bela Bajaria to honor South Asian excellence in film and entertainment.
  • Chopra looked back to her early days in Hollywood, sharing a personal story of how she was once one of only two South Asians at a Golden Globes after-party. 
  • Twice-nominated Riz Ahmed emphasized that the movement to increase minority representation — and the challenges that come with it — is a communal one, citing the event as a “platform” for both solidarity and celebration. 

This year, 10 South Asians walked down the Academy Awards red carpet at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, making history as the largest group of South Asians to be nominated for Oscars. 

Among this year’s South Asian nominees were Pawo Choyning Dorji from “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom;” Aneil Karia for “The Long Goodbye;” Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei for “Three Songs for Benazir;” Joseph Patel for his documentary “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised);” Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh and Anurima Bhargava for the documentary “Writing With Fire;” Suroosh Alvi for “Flee;” and Riz Ahmed, who was nominated twice for “Flee” and “The Long Goodbye. 

‘Wonder Woman’ series star Lynda Carter praises influencer’s South Asian-inspired Wonder Woman cosplay

Wonder Woman
  • “Wonder Woman” series star Lynda Carter praised a South Asian-inspired Wonder Woman cosplay by Los Angeles-based social media star and beauty entrepreneur Deepica Mutyala.
  • Carter shared images of Mutyala’s cosplay from 2017, calling it “the second incredible South Asian interpretation of Wonder Woman cosplay that I've seen this year.”
  • In the get-up, Mutyala wore bangles instead of donning the hero’s golden bracelets. She also wore a “maang tikka” in place of Wonder Woman’s tiara and used a saree instead of a cape.
  • “She’s a badass. She’s fearless, independent, but she’s also compassionate and giving,” Mutyala wrote in describing the iconic character. “We as women need to remember we can be all of this too.”

A mesmerizing South Asian-inspired Wonder Woman cosplay has earned the approval of the original Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter.

Carter, whose titular role in the widely popular “Wonder Woman” television show from the ‘70s made her a household name, took to Twitter to highlight a cosplay by Los Angeles-based social media star and beauty entrepreneur Deepica Mutyala.

First-ever ‘Desi Barbie’ released for Women’s History Month

Barbie
  • This past week, toy company Mattel, Inc. released a new collection of ethnically diverse barbies modeled after several notable businesswomen.
  • The first-ever South Asian American Barbie revealed was based on Deepica Mutyala, the founder and CEO of makeup brand Live Tinted.
  • Dubbed the “Desi Barbie,” the new doll represents multicultural beauty and is pictured wearing some of the brand’s most popular products.
  • Other women who inspired the collection include Nigerian American fashion designer Autumn Adigbo and Korean American entrepreneur Carol Han.

The first-ever “Desi Barbie” has been introduced in honor of Women’s History Month.

Last week, toy company Mattel, Inc. released their newest collection of ethnically diverse dolls in celebration of Women’s History Month. The South Asian American Barbie was revealed to have been modeled after Deepica Mutyala, the founder and CEO of makeup brand Live Tinted.

Racist posts targeting South Asian students emerge on Boston College’s anonymous social media app

boston college
  • South Asian students at Boston College were targeted with hateful posts on Herrd, an app available exclusively for Boston College students.
  • Directed at specific students and South Asians in general, the posts insulted South Asians’ physical features and compared the group to other racial minority communities in the school.
  • The South Asian Student Association (SASA) condemned the racially charged posts, noting that racism disguised as humor eventually escalates to explicit racism.
  • Herrd co-founder Carter Beaulieu said the app removed the hateful content, emailed and banned the offending user, and are coordinating with the college’s administration to address the issue.

Hateful posts targeting South Asian students at Boston College emerged on an exclusive anonymous social media app over the weekend.

On Wednesday, the South Asian Student Association (SASA) condemned the racially charged posts published on Herrd, an app currently available exclusively to Boston College students, student publication The Heights reported. 

South Asians carry a gene that doubles their risk of death from COVID-19, study finds

south asians gene covid-19 study

Most South Asians have a gene that doubles the risk of death due to respiratory failure from COVID-19, a new study from Oxford University shows.

Key findings: The study, which was published in Nature Genetics, found that 60% of people with South Asian ancestry carry a “higher-risk” version of a gene called LZTFL1. This version predisposes them to developing severe COVID-19.