After creating our lord and savior, Dimple Lala, Tanuja Desai Hidier is still kicking ass.
It has been fifteen years since South Asian womxn met Dimple Lala, the main character and narrator in Born Confused, the first South Asian young-adult novel to tell a relatable story that was nowhere else to be found but in our private lives.
Since then, America has changed. We have changed. We have journeyed through self-loathing and self-love; many of us still teeter between the two. Dimple normalized that delicate and dangerous space for us. In media, we finally, finally have the luxury of growing South Asian representation, getting to choose the qualities we want to take and leave in public figures. We can hold each other accountable now. We can speak to each other because of our differences, without the weight of a monolithic identity upheld by whiteness.
The remixed track (#Mutiny2Unity #MeToo We Mix) now has an accompanying music video featuring over 100 WOC activists and artists on camera and behind the scenes. You know, the ones we didn’t see much of during #WomensMarch. Now, we get the reminders and representation we relentlessly deserve. In the video, Hidier has incorporated world news footage, including from the Women’s Marches in NYC, London, and Standing Rock.
Specifically, the music video is an intersectionality project for womxn and LGBTQ+ empowerment and racial/gender equality.
There’s a lot to be excited about. The street artist behind Mumbai’s “The Pink Lady” made original art for the video. Now, brace yourself because Kajal has a list of some of the womxn featured:
These include Anoushka Shankar (six-time Grammy nominee who plays sitar on the track), Elizabeth Acevedo, Priyanka Bose (from Lion), Reshma Gajjar (The Girl in the Yellow Dress who opens La La Land), Amita Swadhin (her testimony against Sessions is in the track and video), Shenaz Treasury (from The Big Sick), Fawzia Mirza, Leslee Udwin (director of India’s Daughter), Ivy Meeropol, Kayhan Irani (Artist for Liberation, former White House Champion for Change), Kunjika Singh (India’s Longboard Girls Crew founder), Mercedes Terrance (Akwesasne Mohawk member of The Rolling Resistance), Jas Charanjiva (street artist activist), Smriti Mundhra (won Best Director with Sarita Khurana at the Tribeca Film Fest for Suitable Girl), Valarie Kaur (her Night Watch service speech is in the track and video), and others.
“In a way, this is my birthday present to Dimple: a promise to keep celebrating the ‘Other,’ fighting the good fight. On a personal level, it is also this promise to my daughters, and is a birthday gift to my huge-hearted, warrior parents,” Desai Hidier told Kajal via email.
I met Dimple Lala when I was about twelve. Now, I am edging towards thirty and she remains a pertinent character in my life, someone who shaped my own. Never did I think that over a decade later, I’d be celebrating her birthday, letting go of the anger that became my identity from adolescence to young adulthood, or become even closer to her by writing about her legacy today.