How Jamshed/Joshua Popularizes Tajik Culture in the United States


Jamshed Khomidov (or Joshua Beaux) is a young man who has become known for his posts and videos on social media platforms where he popularizes Tajik culture in the United States. He regularly posts interesting facts about Tajik history, traditions, cuisine, and music, as well as demonstrates his unique lifestyle that combines elements of Tajik and American cultures.

Early childhood and the teenage years

In the early 2000s, a large wave of Tajik migrants came to Russia and, as a result, some Tajik children ended up in Moscow orphanages. Unfortunately, Jamshed was one of these children. He was born in the Russian city Balashikha and later placed in an orphanage in Lyubertsy where he lived until he was two years old. Luckily, at the same time, many foreigners were actively adopting children from Russia. So a family from Louisiana (USA) took our hero in. His documents did not specify the exact reason his mother abandoned him, but at the time of the adoption, it was suggested in the courtroom that either danger to his biological mother or extreme poverty was the reason.

As for his origin, Josh always knew that he was a Tajik. After all, according to the documents it is known that his mother was from Tajikistan. However, in order to make sure at the age of 17 he had a DNA test. The results showed that there were no Russians in his ancestry, but there were natives of Central and Western Asia.

For several years he searched the Internet for his relatives from Tajikistan, but it did not yield any significant results. Although he does have some people in mind who he has found on social networking sites and who he thinks might be his relatives. However, Jamshed says that he can’t be completely sure about this, as nothing has been confirmed. Nevertheless, he hopes that someday he will be able to find them when he is in his homeland.

It is noteworthy that the young man was born with the Tajik name “Khomidov,” but he came up with the name “Jamshed” himself. This was because he wanted to have a Tajik name as a part of his native culture, rather than Edward, which Russian nurses had given him.

First Steps in Blogging

In creating his blog, Josh/Jamshed was driven by genuine curiosity and excitement. For him, the blog acts as a kind of linear journal that preserves all the stages of comprehension of his Tajik heritage. He has a special deep love for his native culture, even though he has never visited his homeland. Josh was adopted by an American couple at the age of 2 from Russia, although his biological parents were from Tajikistan.

A little later in his teens, the young man’s interest in his roots and cultural heritage, in general, grew and became more and more ingrained. Around the age of 16, the boy founded a group called “Culture of Tajikistan” on Facebook. The goal of the group was a cultural exchange online between Tajiks from all corners of the earth.

“I started posting videos frequently in my Facebook group, which allowed me to acquire some basic editing skills. When I was about 18, I transferred all the posts I had posted on Facebook in previous years to my Instagram and TikTok blogs. Remarkably, it was on the TikTok platform that I got the most recognition and popularity,” – Jamshed says about his experience.

The blogger himself believes that even though his audience comes from a variety of backgrounds, most of it is the Western diaspora from Central Asia and the Middle East. Josh’s blog is dominated by content about his adoption and his reconnection with his native culture. However, Central Asian and other diasporas share Josh’s feelings about cultural isolation because of how small our community is in the West.

Popularizing Tajik Culture in the States

Jamshed is actively engaged in educating Americans about Tajikistan and its traditions, but he admits it’s not an easy task. There’s a fairly primitive reason for this – they know very little about our country. Most don’t even know Central Asia is a geographic region on the map. This is because the education system in the states is more oriented toward Western countries. Therefore, many Americans have rather scant knowledge of Tajikistan, have not heard the language, or have a false idea of it. By the way, the most common misconception is that Tajikistan is part of modern Russia (apparently referring to the USSR).

But despite all this, the content Jamshed creates gets positive feedback from Americans because you can’t deny Tajikistan’s rich heritage. Though there is much more that the young man can teach his audience. It is also important to him to present Tajiks from a truthful perspective and not to talk superficially about things he does not understand and has not personally researched.

As for feedback, our hero has to deal with all kinds of feedback, which unfortunately includes hate. As Josh himself admits, at first he took all the hateful comments to heart, but over time he learned to deal with them and stop paying attention. People, no matter what will always find something bad to say.

“I realized that for my happiness and peace of mind, I had to learn to keep a positive attitude and not let other people’s hatred affect me or anyone else. As a child who had been abandoned, and isolated from his people, all I wanted was to be recognized and accepted by the Tajiks. That’s why it was very painful for me to read comments and hear words like “you will never be a real Tajik” from my Tajik compatriots. But now I know that no one can take away my heritage, which only strengthens my zeal to educate the world about my amazing homeland”, – he said.

Motivation and favourite publications

Jamshed’s main motivation is his true passion for Tajikistan. The young man loves the history, music, art, architecture and dances of the Tajik nation. Fully immersed in the study of all this has become a way of life for him and also helps him keep in touch with his ethnic culture in a virtual format. In this way, he makes up for the lost time.

Josh also has his favourite social media posts. For example, an Instagram selection of photos from a photoshoot in the national style with his American friend of Turkmen-Uzbek origin, Malika Burieva. The young man says it became a moment of unity with his heritage. Well, his favourite video post is an educational video about the Yaghnob people who live in northern Tajikistan, the Fann Mountains. The video was very educational and gave Jamshed an insight into what he wants to do with his career.

When asked why Josh loves Tajikistan so much, he said the following:

“There are so many wonderful aspects of our culture that I sincerely love, but I have to say that I love music the most. When I was growing up, I always enjoyed listening to music, and I loved Tajik songs for their incendiary sound. Learning the language, and traditional dance helped me discover new sides to my personality and feel part of Tajik society”.

Learning about traditional music such as shashmaqom and falak gave the blogger a deeper understanding of these genres and a sense of connection to his ancestors. Instruments such as the doira, dutar, karnai, and surnai also attracted him. As for his favourite artist, Jamshed adores Nigina Amonkulova. This is partly because Jamshed’s documents indicate that his biological mother is from Sughd, just like Nigina Amonkulova. Therefore, the singer’s style of singing in the shashmaqom genre, which is predominantly popular in Sughd, reminds the guy of his mother and the culture in which she grew up.

Source : ASIA-Plus