Today we’d like to introduce you to Sundeep Morrison.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am a proud child of immigrants. I was born to Punjabi Sikh parents in Calgary, Alberta Canada. My mother was a seamstress and father was a cab driver and often worked long late hours so I spent most of my time with my maternal grandmother, my “Biji” who raised me. Biji would share childhood stories subtly interweaving them with cautionary life tales. She instilled a love for my Indian heritage and Punjabi culture. Those childhood lessons served as the blueprint for me to pursue my passion as a storyteller and shed light on the beautiful and at times painful complexities of growing up with deep eastern roots in a western world. I write what I know and draw much of my inspiration from my family. The experiences of my parents inspired my one-woman show RAG HEAD which explores Sikhs in post 9-11 America, and my Biji and daughter inspired me to write my book, Lady Bitch Whore.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I have faced many challenges in sharing my work. Anytime you create a narrative that explores religion and the current socio-political climate you’re going to face criticism. Much of the criticism and hate that I have faced is via social media because the title of my show is a pejorative. I feel individuals are drawn to the title and think it’s a platform to malign anyone wearing a visible head covering as an article of faith. When individuals realize that RAG HEAD was created with the intention to educate and spread awareness their interest turns to anger.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
As an artist and activist, I write what I know. My work focuses on social justice and feminism. A defining moment that shifted the scope of my work was the shooting that took place in Oak Creek Wisconsin. On August 5, 2012, a white supremacist walked into a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and murdered six people. This devastating tragedy affected Sikhs worldwide. As a child of Sikh immigrant parents who are deeply connected to the Wisconsin Sikh community, it led me to investigate the recent surge in xenophobic violence and harassment prevalent in post 9-11 America. My goal with RAG HEAD was to shed light on the often misunderstood and misrepresented Sikh community.
I also host a podcast called Deep Talks on Rukus Avenue Radio, via DASH radio the only exclusive south Asian radio station on DASH. My goal is to highlight artists and innovators and create a space where Art & Activism intersect.
What were you like growing up?
Growing up in a predominantly white space was tough, I was an awkward kid who had trouble fitting in. I knew early on that I was queer and was a tomboy during much of my adolescent career. This didn’t bode well for me in my own South Asian community. As cliche as it may sound, theatre and the arts gave me a space where I didn’t feel bothered. It was a safe space for me to grow artistically and feel accepted as an individual.
- Readers can purchase my debut book Lady Bitch Whore on amazon via the link https://www.amazon.com/Lady-Bitch-Whore-Guidebook-Empowerment/dp/1973782294/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=Lady+Bitch+Whore+Book&qid=1559359032&s=gateway&sr=8-2
- Instagram: @sundeepmorrison, @ragheadusa, @ladybitchworethebook, @deeptalksshow
- Twitter: @sundeepmorrison
Ashley Samone Nash