In the digital age, talent knows no borders, and creativity can travel across continents with the click of a button. Hashu Mohammed, more commonly known as SMASHBengali over social media, is a British Bengali content creator who found his passion and success and has a story that epitomizes the limitless possibilities of the digital world. An entertainer, comedian, radio presenter, and, most importantly, a fantastic content creator. His journey is the perfect reminder that creativity knows no boundaries. During an exclusive interview with TINDS, Hashu opened up about his inspiring journey of stepping into the digital world and making an irreplaceable space for himself online.
TINDS: Tell us a little about your childhood. Where were you born, and where did you grow up?
SMASHBengali: I was born and raised in the UK. I grew up in Birmingham, the largest city in the UK. Growing up, I had a somewhat confusing childhood as a British Bengali because life at home differed significantly from school life. It was almost like living two lives like Hannah Montana. Finding my friends took me a long time, and my parents decided to visit Bangladesh during my second year of school. And I got back after an entire year. It got tricky for me to process as a kid. But one thing that my parents always taught me to emphasize is that no matter your situation, always try to find happiness in the moment. They named me ‘Hashu,’ which kind of means laughter in Bengali because I was a happy baby!
TINDS: Why did your parents suddenly decide to visit Bangladesh when they did?
SMASHBengali: Many Bangladeshis that migrated to the UK to make a living only had specific industries they could enter; my dad chose to go down the food industry. He set up a restaurant, but because many Bengali people were starting to do this, he moved explicitly to an area that didn’t have too many Bengali people. Mainly, it was Caucasian people who were around. My parents were worried that we would not understand our Bangladeshi culture, and they wanted us to have that appreciation to know where we’ve come from and what our roots are. That is why they decided to visit Bangladesh when I was a kid.
TINDS: What three words would you choose to describe yourself?
SMASHBengali: Ambitious, Energetic & Happy.
TINDS: Do you visit Bangladesh often?
SMASHBengali: I visited again for the second time in the sixth grade. During that time, I stayed there for around thirteen months. It was then that I could fully embrace the culture and have a great time. I learned different poems, and I had an amazing teacher who taught me many things.
TINDS: When and how did you start making videos?
SMASHBengali: The first time I made a YouTube video was when I was in eighth or ninth grade and when I returned from Bangladesh. It was with a very close friend of mine from school, who I stayed in touch with. It was a funny parody of a song, and we shot the video on these really low-quality, three-megapixel smartphones and stuff. I started to make some videos around that time, but they weren’t part of my main channel that I run now. I started making videos again after university. There was a gap between my school and university, and I kind of took away all my creativity because I saw expressing myself creatively as a risk to my studies. I figured making videos could mean that I wouldn’t get as good of a grade. So I went through College and university, got my Masters, and after I’ve done all that, I started to make proper YouTube videos for my YouTube channel.
TINDS: If you had to choose one platform over the others, which would you choose?
SMASHBengali: If I could only post on one for the rest of my life, honestly, I’d choose YouTube because even though I get more views on TikTok or Instagram, YouTube holds a special place. It’s where I started, and I feel like you can build more of a connection with your audience through YouTube because there are longer videos, more room for you to explain your story, and more space for storytelling.
TINDS: What’s the story behind your name? How did you come up with Smashbengali?
SMASHBengali: My actual name is Hashu, and most white people or caucasian people find it very difficult to pronounce. So, a lot of them call me Hash. When I started playing PlayStation and Stuff, my username on there was Smash. Then, when I wanted to create a YouTube channel, I actually felt passionate about my roots and wanted to have something in the name that represented who I am. I wanted people to know immediately that I am Bengali, and that’s how I came up with the name.
TINDS: How would you describe your experience working with brands and stuff?
SMASHBengali: Working with brands is something that I started to do a lot more recently. I would say for the past two years or so. When I first started to get some of these opportunities, I was honestly shocked, I almost had a bit of imposter syndrome because my first big brand collab was with Marvel. Marvel was basically releasing their new series, Loki, on Disney. They reached out to my management team to get me to do some promotions because they saw that I play loads of different characters, and that’s something that Loki does in his series.
TINDS: What is it like being on the radio? What is it like working for the BBC Asian Network?
SMASHBengali: It’s really really cool. I enjoy it from a personal development standpoint. With the radio, it takes a whole new level of confidence. We often play back our voice notes that we send over on WhatsApp to make sure we sound okay; when you’re doing radio, it’s like that times a million. When we shoot a video, we can do retakes, but the radio is live, and thousands of people are listening to you. I had never done radio before, and I only had a little confidence in my voice and how I sounded, whether it sounded good to people or not. The first step was to get confident in how my voice sounds. And then the second thing was to be able to talk without making mistakes; that was a huge barrier to overcome because with YouTube and Instagram and everything else when I speak and I make a mistake, I don’t have to worry about it. I just have to say again and edit the error, but that’s impossible with the radio. I enjoy it because it pushed me to become more confident for sure.
TINDS: You’ve been married for over a year now, probably. What does it feel like?
SMASHBengali: Life is incredible; I’ve never had something that has motivated me so much in my life because now I have responsibility over another human being, and I gave that human being’s dad my word that I’m going to take care of this person. Their family is trusting me to take care of their daughter and all of that. And I have always been quite motivated towards my goals and all that stuff. But being married not only made me more motivated towards my dreams but it’s made me enjoy the process of doing so a bit more. She’s given a whole new purpose to it, and marriage is beautiful. What’s the point in being able to achieve something unless you can share it with someone?
TINDS: Coming this far, what would you say you have had to struggle with the most?
SMASHBengali: It isn’t easy to pursue a creative dream, and you will suffer and face challenges. You’d have to struggle with things that make up your mental & financial health because there’s going to be highs and lows, there’s going to be points where you just feel like, what on earth? Why am I even doing this? It’s not even going to work out, and it’s that personal battle that you have to face to tell yourself that I need to make sure that I’m persevering with this, and I’m going to see it through. So, in the end, whether you succeed or not, you want to look back and know that you gave it everything. The rewards that you get out of your hard work are insane. You’ll be able to do things you would never be able to do if you just worked a traditional job or a nine-to-five. So it’s like a sacrifice you need to make to experience life in a way that can’t be experienced in any other way.
TINDS: What would your advice be to young content creators out there?
SMASHBengali: I would say the best piece of advice I got was from one of my friends, and I give the same direction to everyone, and that’s three words, “Just keep posting.” That is literally the only thing that cracks this entire algorithm or the success on the creative front. You have to get your work in front of people’s eyes. The way to think about it is every single day, people will spend half an hour to an hour or maybe even more if they’re addicted to their phone, and you need to be there on the screen.
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