Crown The Brown: Rakshan
Crown The Brown Tiktok Exclusive: Rakshan – My Culture and Heritage Matters. Social Media creator Rakshan gained traction on tiktok celebrating his authentic self! His content creates awareness around social issues while celebrating South Indian culture and breaking South Asian stereotypes.
Rakshan uses his platform to fight toxic masculinity and gender norms while creating a safe space for others. We wanted to know more about his work as a content creator and the inspiration behind his content! This is what Rakshan shared with us.
How would you describe your content and what inspired most of it?
My content really comes from a feeling of self-loathing, not going to lie. I know it sounds bad at first, but I have my reasoning. Growing up, I wished nothing more than to be White – to be a “proper American” as some would say.
This meant throwing out my mother’s home-cooked meals during lunch time at school. Coming to college, where it is 99% white, made me realize that I messed up, and that my culture and heritage mattered. I wanted to promote who I was, without giving into the toxic stigma and standards that come with it.
When representing yourself online, you show people that there’s no fear in being bold and outspoken. You also share your love for makeup. What inspired your love for makeup and what do you love most about expressing yourself through makeup?
I wouldn’t call it a love for makeup honestly! I see it more as a form of protest to the toxic masculinity that surrounds everything everywhere we go. And not to mention, it adds a bit of flavor to a look!
I wore a green sherwani with a subtle green shadow for a photo shoot. It ended up going viral. Some comments from men were about them being afraid to try it, even though they always wanted to. I love that by simply putting a bit of color on your eye, you’re able to challenge hundreds of years of toxic standards and gender norms!
You’re content certainly has a unique aspect because you’re so authentic in your work and you showcase so many different parts of yourself on your platform. Why do you think it’s so important to create that authentic space for your audience?
I think that it is really important to be true to yourself, especially when you are setting an example for other people. A lot of my followers are middle school to college aged individuals, and there is a lot of development that happens personally, emotionally, and psychologically during that time.
Social media can be really toxic at times. I won’t lie when I say that sometimes I feel extremely insecure looking at other guys online. But, I hope that by sharing every part of me, other people will find the confidence to do so as well.
You use your platform to embrace self-love as well by breaking stereotypes and ‘gender norms’. You’ve showed your audience that clothing isn’t gender based, as well as makeup. It’s extremely beautiful and enables people to feel more accepted. Why do you think it’s so important to create that awareness and space for others?
Growing up, I had no real role model who I could look up to. There was no real form of South Indian representation and that made it really hard to live life at times. I wondered in high school about how life would be different if I was able to express myself freely in a traditional Indian household.
Being able to go to college and explore fashion and find my style, fall in love with photography and just try new things opened up a whole new door for me. It made me realize that there would be people in the same boat as me.
They needed someone who had gone through that change and could show them that anything was possible. I want people who look at me to be brave enough to step outside their comfort zones and embrace new things and find who they really are!
What do you enjoy most about creating content?
Honestly, I made a TikTok during the first week of quarantine dancing to Savage and I just thought it was a cute and fun way to kill time. The first video that went viral got a lot of support, especially since it dealt with the British colonization of India.
I realized that I could use my page to talk about issues, ranging from mental health to LGBTQIA+ rights, while still making fun and engaging videos. I guess my favourite thing about making content, is when people show up and support the messages I advocate for.
Having such a vocal platform, I’m sure the feedback may sometimes be overwhelming. How do you handle conflict at times, especially online? What are some coping mechanisms you’d like to share with others?
Usually I just block haters, since they often are internet trolls, or are trying to get clout off of anything. Always put you and your sanity before someone with a blank and faceless profile!
That being said, sometimes it is okay to call them out, sit back, and let their actions pay for themselves LOL!
As a POC creator, you’ve showcased the importance of representation and authenticity online. What do you think we as a community can do to ensure more representation and support online?
I think we need to stop idolizing Eurocentric standards as a society. It starts especially with the colorism in the South Asian community, followed by the general rivalry.
There was this whole month where people fought over whether North Indians or South Indians were better, and I was so sad – considering that we are ALL subject to oppression and discrimination worldwide.
If we start unifying, and normalizing all the diverse features, backgrounds, cultures and traditions, more representation will come to us. The world will realize that all of South Asia is not just butter chicken and “tunak tunak” you know?
What future projects can we look forward to?
Right now it has been so hard making content with school and internships in the way but I do have big plans! I plan on starting a Youtube Channel sometime next year, and I want to take input from my followers as to what they want to see.
I also plan on doing a lot more on my Instagram and tiktok in terms of cultural fashion, photography and more! I’ll be keeping my socials updated for sure!
What advice do you have for other creators out there that might not feel open enough to share their experiences or lifestyle?
It’s definitely a journey! Just know that regardless of how out there you are, and how fast/slow you take it, there is a massive community of people backing you.
And remember that I will gladly be a resource if you let me be one as well!
Rakshan has certainly used his platform to create a sense of unity amongst the community. He enabled others to feel more accepted and seen through his own experience.
His journey is inspirational and impacts many in terms of how relatable it is. Be sure to show some love and support on his page @rakshanx .