Lilly Singh, commonly known by her YouTube username iiSuperwomanii, is a Punjabi-Canadian popular for her comedy videos on YouTube. With almost 15 million subscribers, over 3 billion total views on the platform, and now her own late-night show on NBC, it is safe to say that Singh is one of the most popular influencers of this generation.
When Singh officially announced the news about Little Late: Lilly Singh, the people of the internet were ecstatic. This brown girl that we grew up watching on YouTube was now going to have her own talk show on public television? It should be a dream come true for all brown people — but it wasn't.
I was one of the many people that was iffy with Singh having her own show. When she initially began her YouTube channel, Singh posted videos about the struggles of being Punjabi. All South Asians watched and laughed along, bonding over our strict parents and shared cultures. Her content, however, gradually changed as her subscriber count climbed. Her videos went from being personal, relatable, and hard-hitting for South-Asians, to being primarily catered to a white audience and borderline racist. Her popular depiction of brown parents, "Manjeet" and "Paramjeet," portrays them as uneducated and outdated. While some may find this skit of hers to be humorous, I find it to be insensitive. Our parents emigrated from thousands of miles away, to a foreign land with a foreign language and culture; they didn't go through all of this shit for us to log on to YouTube, on the computer they paid for, to post videos (that aren't even funny) mocking them and branding them bumpkins.
Singh recently came under fire, when Jessica Alba appeared on her show and told Lilly of how embarrassed her kids were when they met Lilly with towels wrapped around their heads. Singh responded, "They look like my Punjabi friends. It's fine." Singh is alluding to the turbans that Punjabi-Sikhs wear in their faith, but this statement was extremely distasteful. The turban is a very important religious object in Sikhism, and many Sikhs are targeted and persecuted for wearing it.
Singh apologized for the incident on her Instagram story a few days later, but if she hadn't been called out for it she probably wouldn't have said anything about it. Singh is touted as a South-Asian icon when in actuality in the pursuit of profit and fame, she has become indifferent to the struggles of her own culture and mocking her people has become a popular skit on her channel. It's pathetic.
YouTubers like Jusreign and BrownGirlLifts aren't nearly as popular as Lilly on the platform, but if you're South Asian looking for relatable, and not problematic, videos, you want to go to their channels — not Lilly's.