Superfan Nav Bhatia has taken on the role of official World Vision Ambassador for the Rise Up Daughter’s of India project as well as becoming an ambassador for TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) however he is best known for his work bringing South Asians into the mainstream with the help of the Toronto Raptor`s . Eighteen years ago after a well publicised event where Mr Bhatia was judged for his turban and his beard he sought the help of his beloved Raptor`s to help integrate South Asian particularly Sikhs into the mainstream and help change perceptions that existed, born was the Halftime Vaisakhi show.
Previous years we were witness to extravagant dance routines with popular international stars such as Karl Wolf, Culture Shock, Thrust, Choclair, Michie Mee and even Hip Hop legend Dres from Black Sheep. We also were witness to Drake staying in his seats to watch a halftime show for the first time ever at the 2015 Vaisakhi Game. This year was different for Nav.
“I could’ve brought another celebrity out but I wanted kids to be performing. I wanted to see kids of all different backgrounds coming together on the court and performing with each other. Learning about each other`s culture. That meant more to me. When the show was happening I was so proud to see how far we have come and believe me I was just as surprised as anyone to be pulled into the dance but it will be up there as one of my greatest moments at the Air Canada Centre,” Nav Bhatia exclaims.
With a bhangra remix of Drake`s One Dance by DJ sensation DJ KSR, what Jade`s Hip Hop Academy and House of Bhangra did on that floor with 32 young hip hop and bhangra dancers ages 8-17 was incredible and symbolic of what drives Nav.
“My passion is to bring people together of all backgrounds through the game of basketball.”
Only a few days later did Nav Bhatia find himself at Sick Kid`s Hospital as an ambassador of the Sikhs for Sick Kids initiative. In a precedented move, the Ontario Sikhs and Gurdwara Council (OSGC) announced they will be donating all of the proceeds from the Nagar Kirtan (taking place April 30 at Nathans Phillips Square) to Sick Kids Hospital.
As Nav puts it, “Each day I wake up and try to be a better Sikh. I start with my prayers and if you know our prayers then you know we wish the best for everyone, no matter their religion or background. There is nothing more worrying or disheartening than a child having to spend time in a hospital. Sick kids has a world class reputation and there is no better place for your child to be treated. Part of being a good Sikh is helping those that need it and donating to great causes,” he said. – CINEWS