Hasan Minhaj: Be the Change You Want to See

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” With growing social, political, economical, and racial tensions in the U.S., the world needs more individuals who will speak out on the important issues affecting society while also setting a positive example in the world. According to Trevor Noah, comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor, and television host, Hasan Minhaj is one of those individuals.

Hasan’s desire to be a positive influence in the world can be traced back to his childhood. According to IMBD, Minhaj was born to his parents Najme and Seema, from India, and migrated to  in Davis, California to raise him. His father worked as a chemist and his mother went to medical school in India, and returned to the states to practice medicine. Seeing his parents work in predominantly white spaces allowed him to understand the importance of representation. In an interview with Time, he explained: “For the longest time, someone who looks like me, and I think there’s so many people who share my identity around the world, I feel like we’ve either been spoken to or spoken for.” As a minority, Minhaj knew how it  felt to be unheard. This resonated with him, which influenced him to pursue his career. 

Minhaj is known for his comedy appearances with comedians like Katt Williams and his television appearances on shows like Arrested Development, for his ability to use his platforms to speak about issues that are important to a large portion of the portion. His Netflix show, Patriot Act is an example of this. In each episode Hasan breaks down mainstream, important topics with extensive research, his personal knowledge, and ways that society can work to conquer these issues. 

Student loan debt, am issue, that he addresses on Patriot Act has made its way to Congress, with him serving as a major speaker. “You don’t need to be drowning in debt to understand that this is an issue sidelining millions of Americans,” he explained. “People are putting off marriage, kids, homeownership and retirement ― especially my generation.” Hasan’s willingness to sit in front of Congress and speak out on a taboo problem speaks to his willingness to advocate for what he believes in, and his love for people. He is constantly striving to be a voice for the voiceless.

Minhaj was named one of the most influential people of 2019 by Trevor Noah, in Time 100. Noah expressed to Time, “We’ve needed Hasan’s voice since Donald Trump came down that golden escalator and turned immigrants and Muslims into his targets. See, Hasan is a first-generation, Indian-American Muslim. But Hasan also loves the NBA, struggles with a “crippling” sneaker habit and speaks fluent hip-hop. Patriot Act is the manifestation of Hasan’s whip-smart commentary, charisma and sincerity. It’s also a consistent reminder that Hasan is America. And America is Hasan.” Through Noah’s verbiage, and the lasting effects of Hasan’s efforts to create a better future, one can see how Hasan’s individuality and personal efforts to create a better society makes him a more than qualified candidate for Time 100. Hasan continues to be the change that he wants to see. 

-Mikhayla Robinson