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 – 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 watched 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.