MTV Producer Ali Baluch on the “Hyphenated Lifestyle”

Living between cultures can be confusing sometimes. If your parents were born in one country, but you were born and live in a different country, this can cause you to question what culture you ‘belong’ to. Both cultures are in your life, but it feels like you’re always stuck in the middle.

For MTV Associate Producer, Ali Baluch, this is nothing new. His parents are from Afghanistan, but he was born in the United States. This trend is not uncommon.  

Baluch acknowledges that several people live a hyphenated lifestyle. Whether it be Afghan-American, Mexican-American, or Asian-American, there are still two worlds to navigate.

Baluch decided to bridge the gap after not feeling a connection to his parents’ culture.

“A year after film school, I travelled to Afghanistan and did a documentary series and captured ten unique stories with local Afghans.”

His mission was simple; he wanted to use his creative outlet to capture normal stories. This was important to him because there are several stories in the media that portray Afghans in a stereotypical way. He said this increased after the events of 9/11 unfolded.

This documentary series eventually steered him to develop a platform for diverse content creators to share their stories. He co-hosts the podcast, “The Apartment,” which has almost 60,000 subscribers on YouTube.

“We need to be telling our own stories,” Baluch said, “if not, white people will be telling it for us.”


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