Ever since Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King came out on Netflix on May 23rd, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. This stand-up special showcases Minjhaj's profound ability to talk honestly (and with good humor) about the struggles of being a minority growing up in a white-majority town like Davis, CA, and having immigrant parents. From the beginning to the end, Minhaj's piquant way of addressing serious topic matter like the aftermath of 9/11 for his Muslim family and the difficulties that come with an interfaith marriage, hit home. It's the kind of stand-up that transcends conventional punchlines concerning cringe-worthy first dates and one-night stands.
One of the greatest highlights of the special is when Minhaj recounts one of his first loves, Bethany Reed and her parents' opposition to Minhaj taking their daughter to prom because of the color of his skin. Minhaj does a fantastic job of articulating the insidious power of microaggressions. I like to think of microaggressions as instances in which another person makes you feel lesser than them, but in not-so-obvious ways. This form of discrimination isn't as direct as a slap in the face. It's hard to put your finger on it, but Minhaj hits the nail on the head when it comes to describing his own experience saying, "I didn't know people could be bigoted even as they were smiling at you." Coming from a place of empathy, Minhaj acknowledges the importance for those who've come across a Bethany Reed in their own lives to take the high road.
Overall, Minhaj's come up story is one for the books and strikes a chord with first-generation PoC. Identity is a complex matter when you're born in America and it's impossible to completely claim your parents' motherland as your own. Minhaj tackles this topic with such a no holds barred approach, that I laughed and I cried so hard throughout it all. As a successful comedian and Daily Show Senior Correspondent, Minhaj champions the cause of #NewBrownAmerica, a generation of PoC who aren't afraid to forge their own paths.
Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King is a triumph for kids of immigrants trying to find themselves in this country and make it. If you have a Netflix account (or you mooch off of your sister's ex-boyfriend's brother's best friend's account), please do yourself a favor and watch this special here!
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