The critically acclaimed podcast ‘Brown Girls Do It Too’ is live at the Soho Theatre. The dynamic duo, Poppy and Rubina, are here to dive into the complex realities of being a British South Asian woman, from sex and relationships to identity and culture, this is a conversation which is breaking the silence in the South Asian community.
Dressed in typical 90s outfits, the duo sat on the vibrant set resembling a teen bedroom, which makes the show feel like genuine, passionate conversation between friends. As a British Pakistani myself, I am able to resonate with the topics, as they discuss their childhoods, families, exploring their identities, and navigating through relationships in adulthood. The show is a mixture of chit-chatting, impersonations, and skits (‘Coconut Crisis Hotline’ is a personal fave).
Poppy and Rubina began their podcast ‘Brown Girls Do It Too’ in 2019, as they felt there was a lack of brown women speaking about sex in the media, and the community in general. Anything related to sex, love or relationships is difficult for Asian women to speak about, which is damaging as it leads to a lack of sex education and awareness. The duo particularly focuses on how second-generation British Asians represent a fusion of cultures, which can be challenging to navigate. This emphasises the importance of creating a space for these conversations to occur, especially as British Asian culture continues to expand. It particularly stands out to me that the podcast aims to define what it means to be brown and asks if it is possible for us to fully be ourselves. This is an important question, and the podcast seeks to break down barriers that prevent brown women from expressing themselves fully.
The duo frequently mentions the ‘trolling’ which they receive, mainly from those within the community, and also refers to the culture of shame and judgement within the community.These conversations are truly impactful and empowering.
Throughout the show, they explore prominent, serious issues such as the casual misogyny in a strict Asian/Muslim household, racism and colourism, and the challenges of growing up in the 90s-00s as a brown girl surrounded by white/British culture. However, as serious as these issues are, Poppy and Rubina tackle these discussions with just the right amount of comedy and relatable stories. We also learn A LOT about the duo – from first orgasms, relationships and teen crushes, which definitely make us all feel like friends having a chat.
The show ends with the two women reading out letters to their mothers, expressing their feelings about their relationships and how these could differ if there are less harsh cultural expectations.
Overall, the show is a perfect blend of comedy and heartfelt conversations, which feels both liberating and comforting. I would definitely recommend this show whilst it runs until 10 June 2023.
Review by Ridha Sheikh
Ridha is a volunteer writer for Abundant Art. She is a recent History and Politics graduate from Queen Mary – University of London. Ridha is excited to explore and share her strong passion for London’s art scene.
Image by Mark Senior (c)
Brown Girls Do It Too (‘Best Podcast of the Year’ British Podcast Awards 2020, Asian Media 2021)
Please note: This show contains language that could be deemed offensive, such as swearing and adult references.
Performance BSL interpreted by Sharan Thind and Sandy Deo – Sat 10 Jun, 2.30pm