American Idol Alum Totem Calls Trump Muslim Ban “Sickening”

American Idol season 8 singer Anoop Desai, re-christened as TOTEM, a rhythmic-pop recording artist with over 150,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, shared his thoughts with Billboard on President Trump’s immigration ban.

The singer is a University of North Carolina graduate with a double major in political science and American studies.

A personal preoccupation these days is picturing someone in my native North Carolina reading that last sentence and cheering the chaos—so angered by the colors around him or her that they would reduce our country to a battleground. Did my dad take that person’s job in an IT department? I doubt it. Does my beard scare that person? Maybe a little. What it really is, and what it’s always been, is a fear of ‘otherness’. It’s something no one can help, including us brown people. Whether we’re Indian or Syrian, Hindu or Muslim, rich or poor, it’s the thing that binds us together, and the thing that we can’t escape.

To think that our President is now taking away that possibility from millions of people—starving, war-weary people that look like me—is sickening. We can get automatic weapons without a background check, but these people can’t find peace even after a background check?

I need these people to know that the immigrant’s goals are the same as theirs, and even complementary in a capitalist society: to take care of ourselves and our families, make a little money for the next generation, and have some fun when we can. A “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” kind of vibe. You’ve heard of it. Those of us who are citizens demand our rights as such. A little more political representation would be nice. All of us, including those who are visa and green card holders, demand to be treated like human beings instead of walking bombs.

Read his full thought-provoking essay at Billboard

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Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!