Asian Pacific American Media Coalition (APAMC) on March 24 heralded the premiere of two new television series on cable networks that feature South Asian Americans: the unscripted “Family Karma” on Bravo and the animated “Mira, Royal Detective” on Disney Junior.
For years, APAMC has advocated for greater diversity and inclusion of Asian Americans in Hollywood-produced programming. There has been a welcome recent increase in South Asian American talent on TV, but many of these roles were in ensembles or for characters who supported the stars.
APAMC Chair Daniel Mayeda notes, “While South Asian Americans are glad to be represented, they also yearn for the chance to tell their own stories. That is why we applaud the entry of two new series that center on Indian or Indian American life and culture.
“When APAMC met several years ago with NBC Universal, we noted the absence of Asian Americans on the cable network Bravo, known for its pop culture personalities. We’re glad the network found a way to include us.”
The first Asian American-based reality show, “Family Karma,” centers on a group of closely knit Indian American families living in the Miami area, exposing the cultural intricacies involving dating, marriage, family traditions, and success. The show is a turning point in acknowledging Asian Americans in popular culture.
“Pop culture unifies us through sharing commonalities in experiences, brands, and celebrities,” said Alieesa Badresia, co-vice president of Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA), an APAMC member group. “As one of the leading authorities on pop culture, Bravo creates engaging content and personalities that are widely celebrated. We hope that ‘Family Karma’ will be celebrated as well through its honest and entertaining take on the contemporary lives of South Asians living in America.”
Disney Junior, a cable network that targets kids 2-7 and their families, recently premiered “Mira, Royal Detective.” The series, inspired by Indian culture and customs, tells stories about a young girl who is appointed by the queen of the fictional kingdom of Jalpur to solve local mysteries.
“Mira, Royal Detective” stars newcomer Leela Ladnier and also features many well-known South Asian actors in its voice cast, including Freida Pinto, Kal Penn, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Jameela Jamil, Hannah Simone, Aasif Mandvi, and Parvesh Cheena.
“We applaud Disney for the development of ‘Mira, Royal Detective’ and how it introduces and projects the beauty and diversity of South Asian culture, music, attire and religion to its audience,” remarked Gujari Singh, communications director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), an APAMC member organization. “The series allows children of South Asian heritage to see themselves in the show and how their culture also deserves to be celebrated and shared.
“‘Mira, Royal Detective’ has the potential to influence new generations of children about the intelligence, independence and determination of girls of color, and how they can grow up to be leaders in all areas.”
“Family Karma” airs 9/8 central on Bravo TV.
“Mira, Royal Detective” premiered March 22 on Disney Channel and Disney Junior. New episodes premiere Fridays at 11 a.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel and are also available on Disney Junior and DisneyNOW.
APAMC has agreements with ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, committing them to work to increase diversity on-screen and behind the camera. APAMC members include such organizations as Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, East West Players, Japanese American Citizens League, National Coalition of Asian PacificAmericans, National Federation of Filipino American Associations, OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, and Visual Communications.