Asian Network turns 20: ‘A safe space for British Asians’
When BBC Asian Network went national 20 years ago today, it was described as being « a one-stop shop for Asian communities ».
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It has provided a platform for young British Asian music talents, while welcoming big-name guests such as Shah Rukh Khan, Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone.
For many British Asians, the station has provided « a safe space » to go to, whether that’s to listen to music or hear topical cultural issues being discussed.
« It’s like the cool, safe and secure place, and almost comforting, knowing that the Asian Network is there 24/7, » says fan Vishma Rai.
« And I don’t think you can say that about anyone, even your friends, » she tells BBC Newsbeat.
Platform and representation
« I’m an opinionated young woman now. And I never was that person, I was so shy as a child, » says 27-year-old Vishma from Bristol.
She has been a listener for over 10 years and praises the station for the « positive impact » it’s had on her through its wide-ranging discussions.
« I didn’t allow myself to even have an opinion. But Asian Network showed me that’s not the norm, and it opened my eyes. »
While providing a platform for discussion, the station is known for being a champion of up-and-coming British Asian music talents.
He says he will be « forever grateful » for the support he’s received and hearing his music on the station is « a feeling that will never get old ».
Naughty Boy notes there is a power in Asian Network, « especially when you want to crossover ».
Joy Crookes and Priya Ragu are two artists he names as starting out and being pushed by Asian Network, and they are now popular artists in the mainstream.
« A great example of how you can be championed by one particular station but then go on to take over the world. »