Voices in Focus: a Guyanese Local on ‘Project Runway’

Today our stories selected from New York’s ethnic and community press include: a Queens Guyanese-American on “Project Runway”; the sad news that a pending arranged marriage may have driven a local woman to take her life; an explanation of how city redistricting works; and a youth-produced radio station in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Ven Budhu works on a dress for a "Project Runway" challenge. (Photo by Barbara Nitke / Queens Courier)

* As a child, the Queens Guyanese-American Ven Budhu was enchanted by Belle’s gown in the Disney movie “Beauty and the Beast” — and went on to develop a passion for designing women’s wear.

The Queens Courier had a profile of Budhu, who is currently competing on the reality show “Project Runway” and designing his own fashion line.

His designs garnered some high-profile attention when he was selected as one of four emerging designers to participate in a runway show during this past February’s New York Fashion Week.

Now, as a “Project Runway” contestant, he knows that even if he doesn’t win, he can accelerate his design career.

“I thought about it for a long time,” said Budhu who has been a “Project Runway” fan since it premiered. “I’m still young and wanted to try out before I regretted it. The worst thing is regret.”

* The family of a 25-year-old South Asian woman whose body was discovered floating in Little Bay near Fort Totten suspects that she may have been distraught over an arranged marriage, the Queens Courier reported.

Cops told her father, Shajan George, there were no signs of foul play, but the exact cause of death and whether it was a suicide are still under investigation, according to the Queens medical examiner’s office.

“I don’t know what went through her mind in those final moments. She and only God know,” George said.

The licensed pharmacy technician was set to wed a man she only briefly spoke with on the phone and through video chat, her father said. The August 20 nuptials would have taken place two weeks from Shajan’s apparent suicide, but George said his daughter never expressed an ounce of unhappiness at the setup.

* New York City’s Districting Commission began a series of hearings in each of the five boroughs last week.  The Villager offered some background on the re-mapping of New York City’s 51 city council districts, and encouraged readers to attend hearings and express their opinions.

However, just testifying, for instance, that a particular district’s councilmember didn’t vote on a certain issue how residents would have liked won’t impress the commission. Residents must convey why adjacent blocks or neighborhoods share — or don’t share — common interests, why they should be united, or split off.

* Red Hook Radio, a youth-produced radio station that operates in Brooklyn, teaches teenagers how to communicate with a mass audience, El Diario La Prensa reports. An excerpt is translated below:

RHI Radio is an introduction to both technology and journalism. Created by educator and recording engineer Tony Schloss in 2005, the mission is to bring kids closer to the community and encourage a questioning perspective.

“In RHI Radio, they teach us how to work with people and let them speak and express themselves,” said Jocelyn, who wants to study emergency medicine. “This is something that will help my career.”

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