As a woman of immigrant parents, I know a thing or two about the concept of the “American Dream.” For many immigrants, including my parents, grandparents, and the generations that came before them, migrating to the United States — and trying to “make it” in this country — has been the ultimate sacrifice. As a woman of Puerto Rican, Jamaican, and Chinese descent and the first in my family to go to college, I’ve also learned that the pursuit of the American Dream is often a lot more complicated than people believe; especially when it comes to vast cultural differences and trying to keep up with a competitive, rapidly evolving society. That’s why I was excited to discover the “American Dream” TikTok trend, which subtly incorporates immigrant stories in a sweet, yet clever way.
The “American Dream” trend was born thanks to Pasha Grozdov, a TikToker known for his hilariously sarcastic, dramatic parodies about different niches and stereotypes, from social media influencers and university students to Airbnb hosts and job recruiters. The “American Dream” trend comes from a video in which he pokes fun at people who visit the United States. In Grozdov’s hilarious and overly dramatic voiceover, he says things like, “American Dream. Best country in the world. New York, new me. I’m in the Empire State of Mind. Let’s get married in Vegas. California is a lifestyle,” and “it’s a party in the USA” with instrumentals from Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love” playing softly in the background. The whole thing is ridiculous and delightful, and if you haven’t come across Grozdov’s videos on TikTok yet, check out his versions about NYC tourists and people who visit Los Angeles. Spot-on.
The trending audio, which includes the soundbite “American Dream…best country in the world,” has already been used in over 30,000 videos on TikTok, and creators are using it to demonstrate their own versions of the “American Dream.” The trend’s ideal premise is to highlight how your immigrant parents left a particular country, followed by a quippy story about what you’re up to now — especially if it’s funny or completely irrelevant to what your parents hoped and dreamed for you. For example, @averiebishop says, “My Filipino ancestors escaping cyclical poverty & Spanish colonialism only for me to make TikToks and not use my $200,000 law degree” and @zariaparvez says, “when your parents immigrate from Pakistan just for you to become the Duolingo Owl on TikTok.” The objective here isn’t to degrade or be pessimistic, though; it’s all about poking fun at yourself, not others — and certainly not your superstar parents who sacrificed everything for you.
The overall goal of the “American Dream” TikTok trend is to create something silly, but smart. For example, @aymansbooks says, “my Pakistani parents immigrating to the U.S. for me to read heavy smut in bed at 2 am until my eyes burn out” and TikToker @joeando says, “My mom moved here from Japan just for me to spend 3 hrs a day on someone else’s dad’s Netflix.” Creator @genesisashira’s version says, “when my parents immigrated from another country just for me to obsess over 7 Korean boys” (BTS stans, rise up) and @excelsiyer’s dad left the Italian countryside for the U.S. only for her to ironically move back to Italy. Meena Harris made a cute version that says, “My grandparents immigrated from India & Jamaica for me to lock myself in the bathroom to learn TikTok transitions,” and in another witty version, @ayvid37 says, “my parents immigrated so I could have my heart broken by boys of all colors, not just brown ones.” Her caption: “They really said diversity + inclusion.” IYKYK.
Most versions of the “American Dream” trend are humorous and self-deprecating, but others are pretty serious, like @krishi.05 who isn’t exactly thrilled about her chosen career path, and @lilmolina who is consistently striving to break cycles of generational trauma after his parents migrated to the U.S. from Mexico. Creator @polina.nioly says that Americans constantly ask her if she has “ice cream and Zara” in her country, highlighting the stereotypical American “bubble” that so many folks live in and Americans’ general lack of knowledge about other countries and cultures. There are, of course, more lighthearted versions of “American Dream” about cats who are living the “American Dream” on vacations in Aspen and this adorable dog who loves going on mountain trips with his rich parents. While the trend is certainly up for interpretation, I believe it’s perfectly suited for TikTokers with immigrant backgrounds who are currently living their parent’s dream — even if it’s not quite what they imagined.
To try the trend yourself, think of a creative way to capture your personal version of the “American Dream,” then add text overlay and a brief caption. Be sure to save the trending audio here to use in the background of your video, too. While immigration and the first-generation experience are no joke, don’t be afraid to have a little fun with this trend — witty, bold versions are always welcome, as long as they’re respectful and somewhat humble. Look up some examples of the “American Dream” trend on the app if you need some inspiration, and remember: Whatever you create, I’m sure your family will be proud.
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