When the billboard lit up stating ‘Damn, it feels good to be an immigrant,’ Anik Khan was ecstatic to see his comment and name up there! What he did not realize that this just made our day too.
Speaking about his immigrant story, Anik Khan, the Bangladeshi-American rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer has made his American dream come true. Anik was merely 4 when his father moved him along with his mother and 3 sisters from Bangladesh to Queens, New York. He grew up and learned in New York’s culture, but always felt attached to his roots. While his family put up in a modest house in New York, they belonged to an affluent family and as a child, he looked forward to his visits to the ‘big house’ back home. He always acknowledged the rich culture of Bangladesh and felt that it should be celebrated widely.
Describing himself as “curry chicken meets collard greens” on his SoundCloud page, Anik discovered his love for rapping and would spend hours rapping along Jay-Z and writing his own rap songs. While his mother and aunts encouraged him to make a career in rapping, his father required some convincing!
“My father is my hero,” Khan said in an interview with NPR Music. “I never really grew up idolizing entertainers or anything like that, because entertainers didn’t keep food in my fridge. My father did.”
From belonging to a family seeking political asylum in America, to today becoming a face of the American dream, Anik Khan has come a long way.
Anik Khan always speaks about the universal hard balance that immigrants in general face. Finding who you are, in between where you come from and where you live and how you grow up in the place that you live. He found this balance only after visiting Bangladesh when he was 21 and realizing that his home country was beautiful. That his culture was beautiful and that there was no need of hiding or running away from something so amazing.
Speaking to The Fader he had said, “I remember coming back to the U.S. and watching the Marley documentary, and seeing how proud [Bob Marley] was to be Jamaican, how proud he was to present reggae to the world — and again, me realizing, Yo, why haven’t I been super proud of being South Asian? And then I remember like, we never had anybody to make us proud. All we had was Apu from the fucking Simpsons. And maybe that was the reason why I was never completely proud of it. And then I was like, Maybe I can do something and make people who come up or grow up the way I did proud to have someone. And maybe I could be that person for someone.”
He may still seem like the same kid who appeared in the rap scene in 2015, but his growth has been remarkable over the years. The narratives to his songs may have similar topics but each of his songs has a unique touch.
With the American government in it’s most anti-immigrant phase ever, Anik Khan’s declaration is a smack on the face of the white supremacists. The American history has been made by immigrants who gave their life and soul to make the country great. That was the crux of the American dream.
Anik’s continual efforts to bring forward his immigrant story will start a new chapter in the rising of the South Asians. The millennials will understand that respecting your own culture and taking it forward is important. Simply aping the western culture for quicker adaptation will never make you stand out.
Anik Khan has made his music stand out, not only among the South Asians but also among other Americans. Performing with Jidenna was his first major tour and from then on there has been no looking back. Having built his own firm ladder of success, this simple guy stands tall today as he truly feels good about being an immigrant.