Hasan Minhaj's 'Homecoming King' Is Important And Worth Watching

Hasan Minhaj's 'Homecoming King' Is Important And Worth Watching

Where comedy meets current events.
57
views

If you haven’t heard of Hasan Minhaj, it’s unfortunate, but maybe not surprising. Despite being a correspondent for "The Daily Show" and hosting the 2017 White House Correspondent’s Dinner, brown men in media are a rarity. "The Daily Show' is still making reparations since being called “the least diverse late-night show.” Minhaj is the outlier and a valued one at that.

Nearly six months ago, Netflix released Minhaj’s first stand-up comedy special, “Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King.” Performed in his hometown, Davis, California, the special runs 72 minutes and leads audiences on an emotion-packed ride through Minhaj’s life. From anecdotes about childhood birthdays to memories of the day after 9/11, he compiles a perfect snapshot of his all-too-relatable life.

Relatability may actually seem something of a stretch, as he seems to resonate best with people like himself. He is the child of immigrant parents, was raised in a neighborhood where no one looked like him, and grew up with the pressure of proving that uprooting one’s life to start anew elsewhere was worth it. The special is littered with Hindi phrases, cultural norms, and religious talking points that are best understood by those who know and share them. It is, as always, refreshing and heartwarming to see both the immigrant narrative and South Asian representation take the stage.

This, however, does not detract from the universality of Minhaj’s message. He deals with weighty subjects, from police brutality to the struggle of proving oneself a citizen, remarking “Why is it every time the collateral damage has to be death, for us to talk about this? A kid has to get shot in the back 16 times for us to be like, ‘Maybe we have a race problem.’” He downplays his personal conflicts, admonishing himself with, “At least your spine isn’t getting shattered in the back of a police wagon, though it’s happening to my African American brothers and sisters in this country to this day.” From these issues, however, he highlights a valuable point: “It’s good people and bad people. Irrespective of creed, class, color, find those people. Because love intrinsically is bigger than fear.”

Minhaj acknowledges the trials of our time, but emphasizes that ensuring these trials often lies in how actively we work to uplift ourselves: “generational change is possible with one choice.” He explores the process of finding acceptance, finding someone to “cosign” our existence and tell us that we’re good enough. He maintains that it isn’t external validation that confirms our attainment of the American dream, but instead that the “courage to do what’s right has to be bigger than your fear of getting hurt.”

I spent most of the special wanting to cry and never being able to. Minhaj flits effortlessly between heartbreaking anecdotes and life lessons, and gut-wrenching humor. He reminds us that “This is new brown America. The dream is for you to take, so take that shit.” Equipped with quick wit, hilarious dramatization, and an inarguably thought-provoking message, Hasan Minhaj marks himself a king in all rights.

Cover Image Credit: Netflix

Popular Right Now

Dear Shondaland, You Made A Mistake Because April Kepner Deserves Better

"April Kepner... you're not average"
227311
views

I'll admit from the first time we were introduced to April in Season 6, I didn't like her so much. I mean we hated the "Mercy Westers" in the first place, so how could we see the potential in the annoying, know-it-all resident that was trying to compete with our beloved Lexie Grey.

But then, we saw her come face-to-face with a killer and thought maybe she had potential.


We then saw her surprise everyone when she proved to be the next trauma surgeon in the making and we were intrigued.

Notice how none of these stories had anything to do with Jackson Avery. Not that we didn't love her with Jackson, but for whatever reason you've chosen to end their very popular relationship. Suddenly, you think that April is not worth further exploration but you've forgotten one simple thing. We fell in love with her before "Japril" was ever in the picture.

We love her because her story was unlike the others and she had one of the best character developments on the show. She wasn't damaged like Meredith Grey or Alex Karev who have been on their journey to become all whole and healed, but she still had to fight hard to be taken seriously. Her story has so much potential for future development, but you've decided to throw it all away for "creative reasons."

I'm sorry, but there's nothing creative about doing the exact same thing you've done to all the other characters who have left the show. We've endured the loss of many beloved characters when you chose to write off George, Henry, Mark, and Lexie. We even took it when you did the unthinkable and wrote McDreamy out of the show - killing off one half of the leading couple. (WHO DOES THAT???)

But April Kepner? Are you kidding me?

She may no longer be with Jackson, but she was so much more than half of Japril. While most of us hate that Jackson and April are over, we probably could have dealt with it if April was still on the show. Now they're done and you think there aren't any more stories to tell about her character. Why? Because she'll just get in the way of Jackson and Maggie?

How could you not see that she was way more than Jackson's love interest?

She's so much more than you imagined her to be. April is the headstrong, talented trauma surgeon no one saw coming. The farmer's daughter started off an ugly duckling who became a soldier because she needed to be one and turned into one big beautiful swan who constantly has to fight for her coworkers and family to see her as such.

She's proven to be a soldier and swan on many occasions. Just take giving birth to her daughter in a storm on a kitchen table during an emergency c-section without any numbing or pain medication as an example. If she wasn't a soldier or a swan before, how could she not be after that?

Yet, you - the ones who created her - still see her as the ugly duckling of a character because she always had to take the backseat to everyone else's story and was never allowed to really be seen.

But we see her.

She's the youngest of her sisters who still think of her as the embarrassing little Ducky no matter how much she's grown.

This swan of a resident got fired for one mistake but came back fighting to prove she belongs. Not only did April Kepner belong there, but it was her talent, her kindness, her strength that made her Chief Resident. This simply wasn't enough for Dr. Bailey or her other residents so she fought harder.

She endured the pressure but always ended up being a joke to the others. When she was fired yet again, your girl came back a little shaken. She doubted herself, but how could she not when everyone was against her.

Despite everyone telling her she couldn't, she did rise and no one saw her coming because she remained in the background. She went off to Jordan broken and came back a pretty risky trauma surgeon.

We've watched for years as she was handed promising stories that we never got to see fully develop because she was in the background. We never got to see her rise. We get the beginning and the end, but hardly ever the middle.

I thought we were finally going to have an amazing story arc in season 11 when she loses Samuel, but what did we really get? Two or three episodes of her coming to terms with the loss of her baby and then April's disappearance from the show while she's grieving off screen so that Dr. Amelia Shepherd can shine her first season on the show. Where is April's life-changing surgeries? What does April get? She's background music.

Now what?

It's season 14 and we finally get the story we've been waiting 9 years for! We get Dark April and her crisis of faith. A story arc all Christians can appreciate. Here's the chance for real character development in the foreground, but wait...

Before her story is even wrapped up, you announce that this season will be her last. So we're forced to realize that the only reason we're getting this story now is that you're writing her off.

No matter how you end it, it's not going to do her story justice. If you kill her off to end her crisis of faith story, you're not reaching the many Christians who watch the show. If you have her leaving Seattle and taking Harriet with her, you didn't know April. If you have her leaving Seattle and abandoning Harriet, you really didn't know April. So anyway you choose to end her story, you lost out on one great character.

You messed up.

Both April Kepner and Sarah Drew deserved better.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

13 Albums Everyone Needs In Their Life

Whether you need music to be your therapist or music to study to, these are all go-to's.
125
views

Everyone loves music, right? It's fun, it's sad, it's happy, it's intense, it's poetic — sometimes all at the same time! I've always loved music, but recently, I've become really interested in albums as a whole rather than just individual songs. I'm particularly interested in albums that flow together if you listen to them straight through. Here are 13 that I think everyone needs to listen to.

1. 'Gone Now' - Bleachers


Gone Now is a little bit of fun, a little bit of dance, a little bit of sad, and a little bit of soul-searching. The songs all fit together really well and Jack Antonoff's voice is just so cool (plus, he's Taylor Swift's producer and he was the bassist in fun., so you know the music is going to be good). Need more convincing? I personally think that Bleachers sound like a kind of new version of David Bowie — there's definitely some 1980s thrown into the mix of their sound!

2. 'Hotel California' - The Eagles


Speaking of the '80s, The Eagles Hotel California album has to be pretty high up there for me in albums that I love to listen to. Maybe it's just the nostalgia I get listening to The Eagles because that's a lot of what my parents played in the car when I was a kid, but I really love jamming to these songs. Not to mention that the title song, "Hotel California," has one of the best guitar solos ever.

3. 'Cleopatra' - The Lumineers


It's rare that a group with such a good first album can produce a second album that's equally as good, but I'd like to argue that The Lumineers did more than that — they produced a second album that's better. In their true style, there's lots of guitar, lots of songs with that cool and artsy background noise, and a whole lot of feelings in the music. The album is a 10/10.

4. 'Strange Desire' - Bleachers


I've come back to Bleachers. This is actually their first album and one of the most emotionally heavy I've ever listened to despite the light, upbeat tone. The whole thing is about Jack Antonoff dealing with the feelings he got left with after getting into a car accident with his sister, who ended up dying as a result. The album might not make you sad, but it'll definitely make you think.

5. 'Dear Wormwood' - The Oh Hellos


The number of people who have never heard of The Oh Hellos is tragic. This brother-sister duo and their band are incredibly talented musicians and songwriters. All of their albums are amazing, but Dear Wormwood is better than anything else I've ever listened to. Each song flows into the next one, creating the idea of it being one continuous song. The songs themselves are based on the work of C.S. Lewis, which gives them a lot of added depth. I could honestly write pages upon pages about this one, so you should really just go look it up.

6. 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts' Club Band' - The Beatles

People have often called this "the album that changed music" and they're completely right about that. If you somehow haven't listened to this, you really ought to go and do that. Some of The Beatles' very best songs are on here! It's a little quirky, a little weird, and just the right amount of fun to make for a great listen.

7. 'Escape' - Journey


I mean, do I need to say anything more than the fact that "Don't Stop Believin'" came out on this album? But, if you need more convincing, this album was also home to "Who's Cryin' Now" and "Open Arms."

8. 'Songs About Jane' - Maroon 5


Songs About Jane is too good not to be on this list. It features childhood classics for college kids such as "She Will Be Loved" and "This Love," so you know it's clutch.

9. '25' - Adele

I'm a weirdo, I know, but I think that Adele's most recent album is her best on the whole. They all had some really great songs, but 25 has to be my favorite just because of how she's dealing with all of these really raw and painful memories. It definitely sounds more mature than her previous albums (which, I guess it's supposed to) and the whole tone is more about reflection than on actually being in the painful place.

10. 'Sigh No More' - Mumford and Sons


I like Sigh No More better than Babel, much to the chagrin of literally everyone I say this to, but I love the emotion of Sigh No More. It's a good balance of soft and angry, sad and scared. It touches love, loss, friendship, and existentialism all in a few short songs, so it's a bit of a rollercoaster, but it's worth it.

11. 'Scars and Stories' - The Fray

It's beautiful and sad, but mostly just beautifully sad. The Fray never fails to impress me with their albums, but this one really gets me. It's named perfectly and the songs are all so good.

12. 'Native' - OneRepublic


Disclaimer: I liked Native before it was cool, which is still a bragging point for me even though it's been like 8 years. In classic OneRepublic style, it's a really fun album that has some deeper stuff buried down under the great beat.

13. 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' - Simon and Garfunkel


I might be biased on this album because my favorite song even is Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water, so there's that. But also the album is legitimately good. As per usual, the rainy day, melancholy songs (98% of everything they sing, tbh) are balanced out with a few really happy beats (that still have sad lyrics), which makes for a great listen, especially if it is a rainy day and you just need to snuggle into your bed with some good songs.

Cover Image Credit: Lily Snodgrass

Related Content

Facebook Comments