Crown The Brown Interview: Ansar
Crown The Brown: Ansar. Social media and music have a way of bringing people together. It’s even better when one person is able to do both to inspire an entire community! Ansar has brought a lot of love and laughter to many with his viral tiktoks and relatable freestyles.
He was able to incorporate many of his own experiences into his music, as well as bring awareness to social issues in a comedic, light-hearted manner online.
We were curious to know more about Ansar and the impact that music and social media has had on his life. This is what Ansar shared with us!
What are 3 words that perfectly describe you?
Reserved, Student, and Comedic maybe? I refer to myself as a student because I love learning and with regards to music I see myself as more of a student than a producer of music.
Who is Ansar? Tell us more about you!
Brought up in Pakistan, lived here for most of my life and then moved to Canada for University. I just graduated from University last year. Double Major in Economics and Political Science.
A lot of people know you for your hilarious content on social media and many know your work as a musician. How did your love for music start? What inspired it?
So many things but honestly, I did not listen to a lot of music growing up. I never really cared for it. I remember doing group projects at school and having classmates talk about musicians like Eminem and I never knew who that was.
My mom is a huge Michael Jackson fan and she was so shocked that I had no idea who he was at the time.
Eventually, a day came where I sat down and I remember listening to a song by Linkin Park. It blew me away. It felt so different and I really loved it! As a kid, listening to it really fueled my love for rap. The rap really stood out for me and made me want to hear more.
It made me start studying different types of songs and rap. Allowing me to do more research on rap and what essentially makes up a good rap. It certainly stood out to me because it enables you to have so much more to say and you don’t need anything else but yourself to express rap.
In tenth grade, my friend suggested we do a rap together for fun. We went to his basement and recorded it on our Apple headphones and voice notes. It was so fun and we just continued at it for a few years. We were horrible in the beginning but eventually we got better with time.
You have done some amazing freestyles on Youtube as well, your bars are so relatable. What inspires your raps?
In the beginning, other music would inspire mine. I would hear a rap, find it so relatable like it blows my mind and it’s so poetic. The fact that people can create such amazing music, inspires my music and my craft.
Recently, I have been trying to make my music more true to my own experiences.
It’s more about how I can incorporate little bits and pieces of my own life and my own relatability. I start to think about my experiences and the thought of how others might relate to it as well.
Putting pen to paper is never easy when it comes to lyrics. How do you motivate yourself every day in terms of writing bars during times of writers block?
When I have writers block, it becomes so frustrating. The goal when it comes to writers block is to just force yourself to sit there and work through it. In today’s world, none of us have that attention span anymore.
We tend to get distracted by other things while trying to concentrate on one task. So, I always force myself to sit through it and not do anything else until I am able to write something down. It doesn’t have to be good but it has to be something.
My process when it comes to writing out songs usually includes me writing down on a laptop or my phone. I always have around 20 to 30 beats open and I try to find a beat that fits the mood that I am in or looking for.
Sometimes I try to find a beat dependent on my mood and other times I would just stumble across a beat that’s so good that it reminds me of a memory or mood that I want to write about.
You admire many artists, are there any artists that you would love to work with in the future?
Too many! Nas or Kanye West for sure.
You have had many viral incidents on social media with some insanely good tiktoks. How has tiktok impacted your life online and in real life?
In the beginning it was quite overwhelming because honestly, I did not tell anyone that I was making tiktoks. It was genuinely just for fun and for myself.
I enjoyed making them because essentially nobody was going to find out that I was making tiktoks if I didn’t tell anyone. Well, that’s what I assumed at the time!
I had 100 followers when my first video went viral and I actually considered deleting it because I am a very private and reserved person. Only my close friends knew my goofy side so it was different having to put myself out there. It was overwhelming.
There was a bit of negativity as well but it fueled me a lot. I wanted to show people that I am more than just a typical “brown stereotype” that makes fun of Desi people but that is not my personality.
I wanted to show people that I am more than just this ‘caricature’. Showing people that I’m inclusive in my content a lot of the time.
Generally, social media has impacted my life in terms of usage. I spend way more time on social media than before.
Honestly, I am not a fan of being on my phone or laptop all the time. I went from using my phone for maybe an hour a day to using it 5 to 6 hours a day! That’s the biggest change.
There were a few controversial moments regarding online content that circulated, how do you deal with negative comments or criticism?
I am still learning as I grow. The first video that went viral was the video on brown accents. It fueled a lot of negativity. A lot of people assumed that I haven’t lived in the subcontinent at all or and that I was part of the diaspora.
What bothered me the most was that it was meant to be a joke for the one hundred followers I had at the time and a lot of people took it very seriously and that hurt me. I was shocked that people who knew me assumed that I would trash my own people like this but I guess I do not blame them.
Secondly, I have lived in Pakistan almost my whole life. I am not some uncultured person. It was a lot because of all the assumptions people had.
The negativity that was present was something I had to learn from. If it was from someone with reasonable arguments or that I knew, I would send a direct message and try to reasonably explain my situation.
As the page has started to grow and videos are being shared on a bigger platform, having a wider audience, I noticed that it is not really something that others are offended at.
Some people are just angry because of the growth and ultimately my existence. I just try my best not to engage with those kind of people. You tend to realize that there is no changing their minds about their perception of you. It’s always best to mute, block or just ignore.
How do you usually take your ideas and put them into action online? What is the process like?
I’ve been doing music for years but when it comes to creating content, I am still new to it. I am still trying to figure it all out with tiktok and videos.
There will be days where I get a random idea, I will write it down on my phone’s notepad. When I finally get time and good lighting, I will go through the list and figure out which idea I find the funniest and start shooting.
What is your favourite piece of content that you’ve done thus far?
I love absurd humour, I actually enjoy my content that hasn’t gone viral more than the viral ones. There was once a video that I did with my friend where he asked me if I wanted some coffee and I said “yes” and he said “black?” and I responded saying “No, I’m Pakistani”. I was laughing for almost ten minutes after we shot that video!
It’s just the most absurd or silly humour that I enjoy the most. It might not be what people like but I love it.
Content creation seems to be something you’re extremely passionate about. How do you use your platform to create more awareness surrounding social issues especially as a person of colour?
I feel like creating awareness is so important and a lot of people tend to miss the underlying messages in some of my videos. In a comedic manner, I will always bring across a negative stereotype or something problematic in our community to create more awareness around it in a light-hearted manner.
A perfect example is the POV I released recently, where I pretended to be a dad and I was saying things that people might not always hear from their dads or wish their dads would say or share with them.
I actually sat down with my sisters and asked them what they think a lot of women don’t hear from their fathers that they would like to hear.
I include these topics in my videos but in a light-hearted way to bring it across for people to digest.
As a community that is marginalized and has internalized problems, it is important to share these topics and bring awareness to things that are problematic.
I want people to watch my videos, laugh at it and think about why we do certain things. To think about why they find certain content funny or why we collectively say certain words or phrases.
With realization comes the steps necessary to change how we are living as a society.
QUESTIONS FROM OUR READERS
Favourite Colour and Food?
Colour: I don’t have a favourite colour but I’d say red and yellow.
Favourite food: I love to eat! Indian cuisine! Definitely Ginger Chicken.
Tea or Coffee?
Generally I don’t like to drink either but if I have to choose, day one Tea lover!
Shows that you are currently binge-watching
A show called The Americans.
Favourite Movie of all time
The Big Lebowski. It’s a 1994 comedy! Everything about it is remarkable.
Would you ever consider going into acting?
Yeah, I would love to get into acting. I’m a lover of film, it’s a huge passion of mine. Learning about film is something that I thoroughly enjoy, especially behind the scenes. I’d really prefer being behind the scenes rather than in front of the camera.
I took a film studies course in university, Personally, the best parts of the movies are the editing, the sound design and the cinematography. I love cinematography!
What is your favourite Bollywood movie?
Taare Zameen Par. I really love that movie. It touches on the topic of dyslexia which is such a complicated topic. I feel like a lot of people weren’t aware of those type of disabilities in our communities. We don’t really get to realize the existence of issues around disability.
The movie and the editing shots were amazing. The visualization of the issue was done so well that it made me love the film even more.
Favourite actors or actresses
My favourite actress is Tilda Swinton. She is phenomenal. Every time I see her in a movie, I am just in awe of her range. She’s incredible!
Favourite actor: Jack Nicholson.
Favourite band or musicians?
I have a top 5: Nas, Andre 3000, Frank Ocean, Kanye West and Big L.
Eating food with your mouth open or speaking while chewing. People who walk around while brushing their teeth instead of staying in the restroom.
If you could change anything in life, what would you change?
I don’t think I would change anything. I have experienced a lot in life in terms of losing loved ones, depression and more. It helped shaped me and it took such a toll on me that I took me six years to finish University.
All of those things had to happen in order for me to become the person that I am today. It allowed me to grow as a person.
Favourite Things to do other than music?
Watching films. Thoroughly enjoy watching films. I also love reading about space and enjoy astrophysics, as well as reading online journals about space. It’s so interesting to read about new discoveries.
Daily Mantra that you live by
There are two that I am living by. The first is fatalist. Whatever has happened, happened for a reason and whatever is meant to happen, will happen.
There is just so much of uncertainty and sometimes you are exactly where you are meant to be. Since we have so many expectations, we tend to not appreciate where we are in that moment until we’re out of it.
Taking it one day at a time and that whatever happens is mean to happen.
The second one is that I am driven because I am still not at my peak. I don’t want to look at a viral video and think that was enough and end up not working harder.
I am constantly reminding myself to do better and speak it into existence that I can do more than what I have already done.
Ansar is surely making a difference in our community. He uses his platform to create more awareness around social issues and brings endless laughter to our screens. He is extremely talented and has some epic relatable bars as well! Be sure to check out more of his work by following him on instagram @_ansar_a.