When I first came across the Brown Girl Tokes IG page, I couldn’t help but hit that follow button. There was something about a page that shouted out brown girls who smoke that resonated with me, because it was something I just hadn’t seen before.
There isn’t a lot of space for brown girls who enjoy the company of cannabis, because we’re usually too busy hiding it from most people.
But the reality is a lot of young brown women have found happiness in taking edibles, bong rips or smoking spliffs.
The masked and anonymous B of Brown Girl Tokes has thankfully created that communal virtual space, first in the form of a meme page in 2018, and then in the form of a podcast by the same name that came to fruition a year thereafter.
She knows that a lot of people tend to question this space, but B says it’s a lot more intersectional.
“I think people think Brown Girl Tokes is like just this obnoxious girl who smokes weed and talks shit and doesn’t really take anything seriously, [and] probably is a bum,” she said in an interview with 5X Press.
“But like what Brown Girl Tokes really represents is just being authentic and true to yourself. You can have all these qualities, you can be super raunchy, but you can also be super sophisticated. You can be super woke about a topic, but you can also just have fun and make stupid jokes and make small penis jokes, it’s okay. You can do all of this, it’s possible.”
She says a lot of the problems stem from people trying to fit into a specific mould, and having a preconceived notion of what the people around them should be like.
Brown girls are often compartmentalized depending on the criteria they appear to fit, and are not always afforded the privilege of being dynamic beings with varying tastes and interests.
But B uses her platform to challenge the compartmentalization of brown girls.
“I wasn’t raised to be quiet. In some sense I was, but my dad really instilled a little bit of rebellion in me,” she says.
“When I got older even though they wanted me to be this quiet subservient Indian girl,—seen and not be heard— I just couldn’t. I was like you instilled this in me. I'm sorry.”
It’s why B has content that is loud and proud, and an audience that loves every bit of it.Her IG page is unapologetically filled with memes about sex, weed and everything in between.
She says it originally started as a way to have a creative outlet for her humour, but now it is how she has also been able to speak her own truth.
“I started off as just a meme page. My friends thought I was really funny, so it really encouraged me to do something with comedy, something for just laughs” she says.
“Memes was something I was just really into because it just portrays whatever thought, emotion, feeling you have. You can find anything to explain anything without really having to say anything. From there, the meme page grew especially because when I was smoking weed, I would make videos talking in Punjabi --I would talk mad shit about topics that would arise in the news.”
From there, BGT grew into a podcast and a place to tune into insightful and interesting conversations around some of those very topics being posted about on her IG page. But this time, they were conversations that were expanded beyond the parameters of a meme.
She starts every episode with sparking a spliff with her guest, unless the guest would prefer not to smoke, and then they engage in a weed free dialogue.
Episodes from the podcast include talking about women of colour in cannabis, online dating, representation and fashion, rape culture and breaking the patriarchy, among many other topics.
She says she also tries to use her platform as a way to educate on social justice issues such as the farmers’ protest, Black Lives Matter and issues relating to the Indigenous community, including not having access to clean drinking water.
“I want to make sure people are not only aware of cannabis but also what is going on around them in the world,” she added.
The depth of the topics she speaks about have become deeper over the couple years. She admits that when she first started her page she still had a lot to learn about navigating online communities.
“Coming in I would say I was more young and immature and I learned a lot. I found so many great communities, [and] I’m helping build this one as well,” she says.
“I’m not the only brown woman in cannabis. There are so many people from America, from India that are working on decriminalizing cannabis in India and that you know being the birthplace of cannabis, [so] it’s crazy to me that it’s not legally accepted there. So I’m glad I was able to find this community, just kind of build the little platform that I have going.”
And this little platform has been able to be an open space for many brown girls like myself to find some community, to laugh at and to relate to.
The Brown Girl Tokes meme page against the backdrop of the podcast shows how intersectional her platform is: you can be all about joking around and smoking weed, but also all about having meaningful conversations.
“I get a lot of guys DM-ing me and they’ll be like ‘Oh I didn’t even realize you had a podcast, I just thought you posted raunchy memes and smoked weed,’ so it is always refreshing and amazing when they do discover the other side especially when it resonates with them and they learn something from it or they laugh or grow from it, it’s nice,” she said.
She also gets a lot of other DM’s, including some people who hit her up asking her what to do if they get caught by their parents with weed, and some asking her for suggestions on how to enter the world of cannabis.
She also encourages any younger followers to please wait until they hit 19 years of age.
B’s work through BGT encourages the possibility of a person's duality. She says in her everyday life uncloaked by the mask of BGT, she doesn’t often disclose to people that she consumes cannabis because she knows what kind of judgement accompanies that admission.
But even if she encounters judgement, she says she’s not all that concerned.
“If you don’t like that I smoke weed, that’s okay bud, I don’t care. It’s not going to ruin my day. I’m going to go have a joint and be happy like in five minutes. If there is judgement I try my best to just ignore it.”
B says she’s excited for what’s up next. She’s working on some projects including podcasting and beyond. She also said there might be some Brown Girl Tokes weed on the horizon.
When asked whether or not the weed will be sativa or indica, B says she’s hoping to have some options.
“It’s gonna be a heavy hitter just like I am. But you know what, maybe we’ll have a couple of strains because again, duality, there is a little bit of everything in all of us.”
About the author: Monika Sidhu is a freelance multimedia journalist based out of Brampton,ON. She loves covering all things arts and culture and enjoys telling untold stories coming out of her community. Monika recently graduated from Western University receiving a Master’s of Media in Journalism and Communication. In her off-time, you can find her discovering new music, spending time with her dogs or hiding the fact that she is binging reality tv shows.