Fear of a Brown Planet (I’ll Think of a Cooler Title Later, I Promise)

fearof

Fear of a Brown Planet are a (recently defunct) comedic duo comprised of Aamer Rahman and Nazeem Hussain. The long-running act formed a name for themselves in the Australian comic scene through telling their stories of being brown in Australia and the everyday racism they both face for it, whether it be subtle or explicit. The diasporic origins of this act have attracted a large following of brown Australians who face similar experiences as they do, cementing each of them with a dedicated cult following.

Rahman and Hussain use several modes of digital media to give voice to their stories, including YouTube, Facebook and Television – each with much success.

In 2013, Rahman gained large amounts of attention online for his viral clip which was shared across YouTube and Facebook dismissing the idea of “reverse racism”. The video was picked up by various celebrities and news websites, eventually attracting over 1.3 million YouTube views.

Hussain, while also frequently occupying social media, has taken a more traditional approach to telling his stories, by creating and appearing on several television shows on SBS – where he also frequently discusses issues of race. Most recently Hussain can be seen on his show Legally Brown, which through skits and live recorded stand-up, tells of how it feels being Muslim in Australia.

I find viewing these stories from my position of privilege very interesting. Having been to watch a show of theirs in Sydney before the pair called it quits, I was fascinated by how the experience differed to when I watch their shows through digital platforms. To me, viewing their performance online felt much more (with lack of a better word) “foregin”, as they discuss these race-sensitive issues which are then shared in spaces where the viewers are not always receptive to what is being seen. However at the live show, due to their large following in the Muslim Australian scene, it is rather a place for all those who experience these same problems that are being talked about every day. While obviously being white myself it is important not to assume such opinions from the Muslim audience, perhaps not everyone there was in total favour to the topics being discussed.

As someone who has not been (and never will be) faced with situations of racism before, Fear of a Brown Planet do a great job at telling their stories in a way that allows access to people like me to learn from their struggles.

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2 comments

  1. It’s interesting what you said about the difference from viewing these performances online and in person. I can see what you’re saying about watching online, in a more private surroundings can lead you to take it in a certain way, whereas being there, involved with it and the audience who is going through what they are talking about on stage, it would feel a lot more involved and would lead you to, to a certain degree, get involved with the humour or stories they are talking about, not just from an outside stand point but, experiencing first hand how the audience react to this.

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  2. I wish I got to see Fear of brown planet live! Feeling very jealous right now!
    An interesting thing about comedic performances is their shift from on stage to television. Does their audience change when distributing their content through television instead of online. I only drew my attention towards Fear of a Brown Planet after Aamer Rahman’s skit, “Reverse Racism” gained so much attention on my Facebook feed for its excellent execution of race relations. So how does their audience change and is it advantaged or disadvantaged as a result? Considering their material is often controversial, I’d be keen to see how it’s received on a larger audience scale.

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