'I've been called a curry muncher, a dumb coconut' - Aaradhna says her new album Brown Girl is about racism in New Zealand

Award-winning New Zealand musician Aaradhna says she was subjected to racism while growing up. Photo/Facebook
Award-winning New Zealand musician Aaradhna says she was subjected to racism while growing up. Photo/Facebook

Kiwi soul singer Aaradhna says her intensely personal new album is about the racism she experienced growing up in New Zealand.

In a letter posted to fans on Twitter, the 32-year-old says her new song Brown Girl deals with the labels she was given "growing up as an Indian and Samoan New Zealander".

"I've seen and witnessed others including myself being automatically labelled for what we look like, what we wore, the way we spoke, where we resided," she wrote.


"I've been called a curry muncher, a dumb coconut, all kinds of names in the book while growing up and I've always felt like I was looked down on.

She continued: "It's frustrating that a simple label can take all that I am away, every single piece that makes me (me). Brown Girl is a song about racism. I'm not going to pretend it doesn't happen in my world because it does ... "

The Porirua-based artist, whose full name is Aaradhna Jayantilal Patel, said she'd stayed quiet about her experiences because of her introverted nature, but wanted to share "where my heart and head is at".

"Brown Girl is a collection of songs about love, heartbreak and dealing with life in general. To me it represents growth. Brown Girl represents how far I've come from a girl to a woman."

The cover art for Aaradhna's new album, Brown Girl.
The cover art for Aaradhna's new album, Brown Girl.

She said the album's first single, Brown Girl, was especially important to her.

It includes lines like, "I'm more than the colour of my skin, I'm a girl that likes to sing," and, "All I know is what's within, I'm not just a brown girl in the ring."

* Listen to Brown Girl on Spotify here.

Aaradhna has won several New Zealand Music Awards, including best female solo artist, album of the year, best urban/hip-hop album and best Pacific music album in 2013 for her last album, Treble & Reverb.

- NZ Herald

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