Q&A: Jasmeet Singh, the biggest GTA celebrity you’ve never heard of (unless you’ve heard of Jus Reign)
It was only around five years ago that Jasmeet Singh, then a bored summer school student living in Guelph, posted his first YouTube video. Since then, his on-point commentary on race, his parodies of pop culture and his comedic deadpan have earned him a significant following: 425,000 subscribers on YouTube and another 780,000 on Vine, where his six-second videos have been looped almost half a billion times. Singh, better known on the internet as Jus Reign, uses nearly every social media platform in existence to rant, criticize, and crack jokes—often at the expense of white people who can’t tell a turban from a niqab. We talked with him about racism, turbans and making a living on the internet.
How did Jasmeet Singh become Jus Reign?
I was in university, and I was doing summer school and I was really bored. I used to make a lot of short films and sketches in high school, so I decided to make a YouTube account. I was 19 when I made my first video, “25 Random Things in my Room.” I started doing more and more content, and it just started spreading.
What was the first one to go viral?
I think it was a video called “The Hand Clap Dance.” It was really ridiculous. I started getting recognized in public. People would come up to me and say, “Hey, you’re Jus Reign.”
What does that name even mean?
I got this name when I was like 14. I used to DJ, mixing hip hop with Punjabi music. My name was DJ Double Edge. But there was another DJ Double Edge in Toronto, a Jamaican DJ. He hit me up on MSN and was like, “Hey boy, you can’t have that name.” My cousin suggested Jus Reign, like I was going to reign over everybody. I never called myself Jus Reign—it was the name of my channel. But then people started calling me that, and it just stuck.
Isn’t it weird to still have an alias that you used when you were 14?
Yeah, it’s kind of a silly name. But now it’s just there. I don’t even think about it.
You grew up in Guelph. What was that like?
That was an interesting experience, because I was the only brown kid.
And did your humour help you deal with standing out like that?
Yeah. I think after 9/11, there was a sense of mistaken identity. My parents are from India; we’re Sikh. We have nothing to do with the Middle East—not to bash the Middle East. So everybody thought I was Osama’s nephew or something, and I just had to deal with that. My way of brushing it off and fitting in, of deflecting negativity that was thrown my way, was to be funny. I remember being cornered and joking my way out of fights. Even to this day, I’ve joked my way out of fights by making the other person look silly.
You do some pretty harsh impersonations of Indian parents. What do your parents make of that?
When they first saw it, they hated it. I was pursuing being a doctor, because that was what my parents wanted me to be. I started doing these sketches, and they didn’t know about them. I just didn’t tell them. Within South Asian culture, it’s still frowned upon to be in the arts. It’s either a doctor, an engineer or a lawyer—that’s all they want you to be. I actually wanted to go to film school, but my parents didn’t approve of that. The turnaround came when other parents came up to my parents with their approval, and then the money started coming in, so right now they’re supportive.
So is YouTube a full-time job for you now?
Yeah. But a lot of YouTubers, like myself, have different streams of revenue. There’s merchandise, there are shows. I did a couple movies this year, including one in India. I’m one of the leads, and it was all because of YouTube. I love doing standup, and I eventually want to transition to that.
What’s your YouTube process like?
I like to incorporate skits within my rants. Some people just do rants so they can upload quickly. Usually I’ll come up with an idea, and I’ll write a script, and I have a group of friends and I put them in my skits. It’s kind of turned into a mini TV show online. For a skit, I’ll write a loose script, and when we’re shooting it, we’ll improv a lot. It takes about a week. A few days of filming and a few days of editing.
And then there’s Vine, which seems like a pretty ideal vehicle for your type of humour.
Vines I try to do every day. Vine is a totally different world. People think making a Vine is easy, but you have to capture someone’s attention in six seconds. Vine was something that got my content to another level.
The bindi-zit one is pretty good.
I had to shoot a video that day, and the zit was huge, massive. But it’s like when I deal with racism: I like to take something bad and turn it into comedy. Never take yourself too seriously. So I had this huge zit on my forehead, and I could either sulk about it or just turn it into something totally hilarious. So I turned it into my dad being mad about this zit.
You spend a lot of time talking about racism. What did you make of the recent mayoral election?
I remember that Olivia Chow cartoon. I’m not surprised because as much as I’d like to say that racism doesn’t exist, it does. I see it when I’m in public. There are certain places where I go and I’ll get stared at. It’s something I’m accustomed to. People will come up to me and say, “Oh man, I never knew an Arab guy could be so funny. You guys are all Al-Qaeda and stuff, but it’s so great.” It’s like going up to an Irish guy and saying, “Man, I love Italians.” I think it’s going to be there always, and I think that the best way to counter that is through entertainment.
In an ideal world how would people get along?
I think we should embrace our differences. It’s all about your intentions. People who are racist want to bring others down—that’s different than joking around with your friends. I have friends from all different backgrounds, and we joke about our cultures and our differences and how we act. And there are different levels of racism. I always bring this back to 9/11, because after that the only depiction of brown people was with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and the only depiction of a turban was like Osama and his crew sitting in a cave. Ninety-nine per cent of people who wear turbans are Sikhs, and we’re from India. I don’t think any news organizations did a good job of differentiating who’s who. And I don’t think it’s getting any better with Charlie Hebdo in France. Don’t be scared of a turban. We’re normal people.
Then there’s a contingent of people who think that if you ignore racism it’ll go away.
Yeah, and there’s also oversensitivity about racism. I don’t want people to be scared to ask me questions. If you ask me if you can touch my turban, yeah, go ahead and touch my turban. It’s better than having restrictions and feeling uncomfortable. I want people to feel comfortable.
So you don’t actually mind when someone asks you if you take your turban off when you go to the bathroom?
Well, that’s hilarious. If you’re going to ask me how I wash my hair with my turban on—these are common sense questions. It’s 2015. Everything you need to know about life is on the Internet. Sometimes I think people choose to be ignorant or racist. If you see someone wearing a hat, or a dress, or a turban, it’s all the same.
In your “Bounce” video, there are some pretty complicated dance moves. How did the choreography work?
It’s just weird, lightly Punjabi dancing. As soon as I heard the song in that’s used in the video, I saw myself dancing in my head. In the comments, people have written like university-level essays about what they think the video means.
I have to ask: what do you keep in your turban?
Ten grenades, plastic explosives and a plane. The Malaysia Airlines plane that went missing is actually in here.
36 thoughts on “Q&A: Jasmeet Singh, the biggest GTA celebrity you’ve never heard of (unless you’ve heard of Jus Reign)”
lol..malaysian airplane that went missing…hahah
Oh man, it would be actually pretty interesting to see Jasmeet do standup! That’d be neat, he’s a funny guy! :)
the end tho. lol
Keep it up Jasmeet!!!
When yer HANGIN with Jus Reign and HEEE’s LIKE.
His last few videos havent been that funny at all…#sellout
Actually a turban is not the same as a hat. I take my hat off when I go into a Canadian legion out of respect for the veterans there whereas you refuse to remove your turban due to religious belief.
“”Sometimes I think people choose to be ignorant or racist. If you see
someone wearing a hat, or a dress, or a turban, it’s all the same.”” Jus Reign
That is because we wore our Turbans with pride in the battlefields of Europe in the two great wars. We respect and honour those traditions everyday when we sport our Turbans knowing full well what our ancestors have sacrificed to protect freedom and liberty for all.
Thinly veiled racism there Shawn. You know very well why the SIkhs don’t remove their turbans like you would remove your hat. Get a life, a$$hole.
Buddy, a lot of Sikh Soldiers died in World War 1 and 2. These men with turbans fought for British and France, for white man’s freedom. I don’t understand why they would do that. I wish these Sikhs would have done that, because a white man is too ignorant and over confident to study their own history books. R.I.P Sikh soldiers. I wish you hadn’t fought for stupid white man. However, I don’t mind their women… hehe..
Buddy, a lot of Sikh Soldiers died in World War 1 and 2. These men with
turbans fought for British and France, for white man’s freedom. I
don’t understand why they would do that. I wish these Sikhs wouldn’t have
done that, because a white man is too ignorant and over confident to
study their own history books. R.I.P Sikh soldiers. I wish you hadn’t
fought for a stupid white man. However, I don’t mind their women… hehe..
The article quoted Jus Reign who states that he is a Sikh as saying “there is no difference in a turban, a hat or a dress”.
How then is my question of why then can he not remove his turban which he equates to a hat, in a legion as a show of respect which is Canadian culture.
Try reading my comment before trying to bully a person into silence by your online slander. There is no racism in my comment anymore than there is a admission of your having a abnormally low intelligence in your comment.
Who is arguing that there were no Sikhs in either WW1 or WW2 or that they did or did not wear turbans?
Your blatant racism against White people and your sexist attitudes against White women has distorted your ability to even read an article or the ensuing comments without seeing it their your racist ideology.
Your blatant racism against White people and your sexist attitudes
against White women has distorted your ability to even read an article
or the ensuing comments without seeing it their your racist ideology.
I appreciate the service to our country by all men regardless of their religious beliefs. My question and comment was to the admission made by Jas Reign, a professing Sikh man that there is no difference between a turban, a ht or a dress.
Strangely, no one can respond to that and have chosen instead to speak just about any other topic.
Shawn it was very clear that you associated the refusal to remove a turban as a sign of disrespect to the men and women who have conducted military service. I responded that comment by explaining that the Turban itself for Sikhs is an ode to military valor and our martial history.
Jus Reign was attempting to normalize the article of clothing that is a Turban into terms more familiar to Canadians. Like any piece of clothing it comes in many shapes, sizes, colours and styles. These qualities can be represented by the term fashion. Just because one changes the color of clothing or cloth or style doesn’t mean that the significance of it has been diminished.
It takes quite a bit of time and care to wrap a Turban, it is not so easily removed and worn like a cap or hat. You took a selective quote out of context by extrapolating the comparison to a hat and associated it with disrespect to military service. That is a cheap and ignorant comment. I was just informing you of the military history of the Sikh Turban, something you find to be so disruptive to your sensibilities and notions of respect.
Feel free to Google more information on the topic. You clearly have a handle on using the internet and message boards.
Exactly, you I responded to my question by stating that the Turban itself for Sikhs is an ode to military valor and our martial history but your response did not speak to my comment or question regarding Canadian culture and respect for veterans.
Feel free to Google more information on the topic of Canadian culture and the practice of removing your hat in a Legion. You clearly have a handle on using the internet and message boards now you need only speak to the point rather than deflecting to other topics.
A coward calling someone racist lol lol Don’t throw rocks at others while hiding behind a screen name.
It is not just him that see the refusal of peop,e to remove thier head gear in a canadian legion as disrespectful. the vets see it that way as do most canadians. Jus reign says he is sikh and a turban is like a hat . So take the damn thing off when your in a legion or stay out of the legions. simple and done
Is it a show of disrespect in a Canadian Legion to wear a cap or is it not?
I also find people refusing to respect Canadian culture which promotes respect to our veterans in legion halls by removing head gear. According to you that makes me racist which I deny. I believe in fact that it makes you disrespectful to our veterans and to our Canadian culture which is your right here in Canada because of those veterans you choose to disrespect who fought for your right to be anti Canadian culture and anti veteran.
That is a nice word for him. I would have been much more vulgar.
So according to you a turban is a normal piece of clothing. That being your opinion then why would you have an issue removing it as a show of respect for veterans and as a cultural practice in Canada?
Hi Mukh: Which traditions are you speaking of when you say that “We respect and honour those traditions everyday when we sport our
Well i’ll clarify. What Jasmeet meant when he said they are all the same was that just like you take off your hat to take a shower, you do the same with your turban. And sikhs don’t take their turban off because it is like a part of their body, only to be opened when you need to wash your hair or sleep-stuff like that. They must notopen their turbans because it is their identity, given to them at the time where mughals in india were forcing Sikhs and Hindus to covert to islam. The gurus told sikhs to distinguish themselves to preserve their identity and to rather fight and die thanto convert. The tragedy today is that in many countries people regard sikhs as Muslims. Perhaps that cleared your confusion a bit
I think you’ve deliberately missed the context of the comment here. Singh’s response was in relation to removing the turban when taking a shower and that common sense should prevail because “–someone wearing a hat, or a dress, or a turban, it’s all the same”. Personal attire and articles of faith are clearly of no equivalence. Indeed, the precedence set by Sikhs wearing turbans in the World Wars particularly makes the issue of legion tradition redundant owing to estoppel. Ironically, WWII was largely centered around religious freedom and the idea that Sikhs shouldn’t now be permitted to exercise some of those very freedoms that are afforded to us all, especially with such a disproportionate sacrifice having been made, suggests a sinister motive at work. There is no reason to be threatened by a turban.
In any case, ‘culture’ is a very dynamic and often elusive concept. It is if nothing else a highly arbitrary creature, often a mosaic of influence, religion and culture. Any claim of preeminence is deeply unjust and wholly at odds with a progressive and inclusive societal outlook.
This guy is hilarious and a real talent. Nice work. Keep it up!
Get your head out of your ass lol Where is there racism in the mans comments? None. You bringing race into it does speak loudly of your own issues with race and racism. dont be a pot calling a kettle black
“I appreciate the service to our country by all men..” Not people, but men alone. I could take your comment out of context and argue that you’re a sexist. But I am not thick like you are.
You know very well what Jasmeet meant by that statement. You are a grown up man, not a 5 year old to not see the point. I am pretty sure in your 40+ years on this planet, your brain would have developed enough to understand that a turban for a Sikh or a hijaab for a Muslim or other articles of faith are extremely personal. Asking for them to be taken off in public is indignant and insulting beyond imagination. When I can understand these feelings without having adorned any articles of faith, how are you so ignorant to ask such dumb questions?
And btw, it is not “your” country alone. It is their’s too. And mine. You pretend to be so concerned about the veterans. Have you served in the Canadian army and fought for your country? Many Sikhs wearing turbans HAVE. So they are showing more respect than you are, sweetie :) They are doing things that actually matter, not whining like some racists about people not taking their turbans off in legions. The Canadian military is not as narrow-minded as you.
Alistair, really? Do you really not understand that a turban for a Sikh or a hijaab for a Muslim or other articles of faith are extremely personal? Asking for them to be taken off in public is indignant and insulting beyond imagination. When I can understand these feelings without having adorned any articles of faith, how are you so ignorant to ask such dumb questions? Thanks to my educational background, I have had the chance of meeting people of many different faiths and races and I quite enjoy it :->. I have learnt to respect them all and appreciate them. And from what I have seen so far, all well-educated people do.
Have you served in the Canadian army and fought for your country? Many Sikhs wearing turbans HAVE. So they are showing more respect than you are, sweetie :) They are doing things that actually matter, not whining like some racists about people not taking their turbans off in legions. The Canadian military is not as narrow-minded as you. I hope you would re-read your comment and realize that it was unnecessarily rude.
Note: Parts of this conversation were recycled in reply to all ignorant comments in the interest of time.
Sorry, what? Wow, please work on your writing skills. I’m sure you’re good at talking, but it is very difficult to follow through with your comment.
Leslie, sweetie, you do remember that this land was actually native land? And the natives were “mistreated”, to say the least, by immigrant Europeans? So what makes you Canadian? Cuz you were born in Canada? Well, so was Jus Reign. And so are the people you are complaining about. Don’t say things like “our Canadian culture” and “your right in Canada”. Its their Canadian culture as well.
I don’t know if you or anyone at all from your family has served in the Canadian army and fought for Canada. But many Sikhs wearing turbans HAVE. So they are showing more respect than you are, sweetie :) They are doing things that actually matter, not whining like some racists about people not taking their turbans off in legions.
I don’t understand why some people have such insensitivity towards other people’s faith and culture. To date, I cry when I think about all the atrocities that Native Americans were put through. Let’s skip the bloodshed and all the nasty parts, let’s just discuss what my stomach can handle: native kids were forcefully taken to schools, away from their parents, and their hair was cut off. To some, that means nothing. But it makes me writhe with shame and disgust. How awful is that. How very awful! How could someone ever do that? And how do people still exist ( read “you”) who think along the same lines as those insensitive barbaric people (those Europeans) of many centuries ago?
Note: Parts of this conversation were recycled in reply to all ignorant comments in the interest of time.
You ARE more vulgar, Leslie. Just look at yourself. What is wrong with you? Did your boyfriend ditch you for a Sikh girl or what? Why you gotta be so… ruuuuuudeeee (8)
I have no idea why I’m wasting my time replying to you. I should get back to my beautiful, happy life :D Whatever was up with you, I hope everything is alright now and you’re happy.
You are mentally disturbed and as my father and grand father taught me in the traditional Native custom you are to be honored for having a weak mind and not abused.
You are a troll but you are also obviously mentally disturbed and as my father and grand father taught me
in the traditional Native custom you are to be honored for having a weak
mind and not abused.
So talented Jasmeet :)
shawn you are the DUMBEST most ignorant white person I’ve encountered today lmao. this bitch doesnt know the difference between a hat and a tied on turban? also FUCCK your veterans
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