Yesterday, Kausar Mohammed and Krishna Kumar shared “Namaste,” their parody of the music video for “Formation,” Beyoncé’s hit single from her visual album Lemonade, a single which she performed at the Super Bowl 50 halftime show and the namesake of her current world tour.
BuzzFeed reports that the Los Angeles-based actors Mohammed and Kumar made their riff on “Formation” in response to an incident on Twitter in which Azealia Banks called Zayn Malik a number of offensive terms including “curry scented bitch.”
The comedic duo see “Namaste” as an anthem for South Asians, and they have packed it with references to yoga, curry, strict desi parents, non-random TSA checks, body hair and eyebrow threading, among others, plus “Formation” video imagery with dance moves and car scenes, and a specifically desi take on that hot sauce line:
I like my hairy face, with hairy legs, and chests oh
I like my skin tanned to a brown with no chemicals
USA born but they never take the country out me
I got hot samosas in my bag, swag.
Watch the video below and read our quick interview with Kumar and Mohammed to find out a little more about them and what they told us about “Namaste.”
PY: Are you a Beyoncé fan? If so, what do you like about her and her work?
Oh you mean the queen!? Yes, us and the rest of the world! We like the values she stands for, how she knows and intelligently markets herself, and how while being a popular artist she has an awe-inspiring artistic and creative message to all her work that makes her, quite simply, a movement. She’s a baby momma, business woman, and all around bawss.
Have you ever had curry used against you as an insult?
Kausar: I have! And terrorist! Racial slurs suck. But I’m optimistic that people will get more tolerant and open-minded the less we allow a cultural stereotypes to stick.
Krishna: I personally haven’t. Although we do realize it is commonly and unfortunately used by those with little-to-no worldly experience. Hence why we used it in our video.
How long did it take to make the parody “Namaste”?
Art is a constant process…. 4 weeks.
Can you tell us a little bit about what went into making the video?
We created this video because we wanted to create an anthem for South Asians. Beyonce used the “Formation” video to claim her black power, and we wanted to give a voice to our own South Asian people. Along with missing proper representation in the media, there can sometimes be a lack of unity so we wanted our song to reach out to ALL South Asians and not just focus it on one region. We mention it in the song, but Krishna comes from a mixed English and Indian background and Kausar comes from a Pakistani background — in that same way, we want to have this song celebrate the idea that the diversity in our region is a powerful strength.
Who wrote the lyrics for it?
We did! And we hit up Drake to help us ghost write a couple lines.
Have you both worked together before, and if so, how did you start collaborating?
We met during college at UCLA because we had matching shirts. Krishna doesn’t remember that part and instead thinks we met in theatre class a year in. Kausar knows the truth. In theatre class we realized life was better talking in accents, so started a YouTube series, “Pinky and Rupesh,” where we portray two foreign exchange students examining American culture. On the series we do different challenges like the onion challenge, prank calls, and an incorrect interpretation of the ALS challenge. And to this day, we keep collaborating on different videos, dance moves, and having each others’ backs in bar fights.
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