By Mampi Ghosh●
I am bold, I am beautiful, I am emotional, I am powerful, I am kind, I am a reflection of my grandmother and my mother. I am just a human, neither more nor less of any man. I am a woman and I thrive to give birth, nurture and nourish another life out of me. These are my affirmations and my aspirations.
In celebrating International Women’s Day 2019, I would like to turn the spotlight on a young and super-achiever, Shannon K.
Shannon is an American singer who was born in India and her father is Bollywood’s legendary singer, Kumar Sanu. At the age of 17, Shannon has already secured her space in Hollywood and is working extremely hard to make it onto the Billboard Charts. Her “A Long Time,” which has 38 Million Views on YouTube, was written by Poo Bear (he has co-written a number of hits for Justin Bieber), has made her the talk of the town in Los Angeles. Many young girls idolize her. She is today’s girl who is well on her way of becoming an amazing woman of substance.
“Just remember, you were born for a reason, to shine”
How would you define “woman”?
Women are very emotional, caring, loving, strong, empowering and capable to handle workplace and home both at the same time.
Do you consider yourself a feminist?
I believe in Gender Equality but yes, I feel like women have gone through a lot over the years and have been mistreated. It is time that we change this and give women the leadership and power to rule. However, we also have to remember to give men the respect they deserve. I think both women and men are and should be equal to one another in our world.
What is a feminism for you?
Feminism to me is giving respect and equal rights to women. Women should be able to walk out of the house without having to worry about what time of day or night it is. Women should be given jobs and should be considered equally as men. No one’s less than anyone, therefore we should treat every single person with respect.
Who is your role model?
My role model is Oprah Winfrey. She’s done a lot for the community and it’s really courageous of her to speak out about her life and give hope to girls who are still afraid to raise their voice. She is truly an inspiration.
How is Hollywood treating you so far?
Hollywood has been treating me really nice without caring about my race. I can say that there are people in the industry who still prefer Caucasians over other colors and I have come across those people but I guess you just got to stick to the good people in the industry who judge you based on your talent, not your race or gender. It’s like snakes and ladders, you come across some great people but sometimes you face those snakes.
What are the challenges of a brown girl in the US?
As a brown girl, it is hard for me to walk into the room without having to think that I will be stared at and I will be judged for how I look, dress, and talk. Sometimes I feel like I’m not even in the same room because I get so overlooked. They presume that brown people cannot speak English or they might have a very thick Indian accent which would be hard to understand and they look at you as if you’re not educated enough to be here. There have been times where I’ve been questioned why Indians are so loud as if that’s a terrible attribute.
Do you consider yourself a good girl?
Yes, I do consider myself as a good girl. I still obey my parents and respect them a lot.
Do you believe in the “Good Girl” term?
Living life in a dissolute definitely pays you off. I would rather invest my time in writing music and spending time with my family rather than being in a party drinking. I don’t know what’s the good girl term but I know that as long as you have your family with you, you are safe and protected.
You have more than 2 million followers, what mantra do you subscribe to?
I post about my work and my real self. There are many accounts who post pictures that aren’t appropriate for their age or the audience just to have more eyes on them and get fame. I don’t do that hich is why sometimes I get told that I’m way mature for my age and that I’m boring but that’s just me, I guess. I try to be real with my work and my fans.
You already achieved a lot and thriving for more is such an early age, do you feel you are not enjoying your teenage years like others?
I do get to enjoy my teenage life but at times I feel the pressure and responsibilities that I have. I hang out with my friends, I spend time with my family. Music isn’t my work nor do I take it as my work, it’s my hobby and I enjoy doing music but when I get forced to act a certain way or be different to what I am, that’s when I get a little annoyed.
What do you advise to those who are on social media?
Don’t judge a book by its cover, just because a person looks happy on their page doesn’t mean that they have the best life. Don’t abuse or comment disrespectfully towards anyone just because you don’t like them. Being positive on social media is highly required and I would request every single person on social media to have respect for each other and comment with positivity.
What is your recipe of success?
Be humble, stay true to yourself and your work, have respect for yourself and others, have dignity, have confidence and the power to lead. You don’t have to tell the entire world what you’re working on, silence sometimes speaks a lot so just keep working and polishing your craft. Stay focused and keep yourself surrounded by people who love you and support you.
Being a daughter of a Bengali father and Bollywood King, do you like or like to sing any Bangla songs sung by your father?
Though I can understand a few words, I don’t know how to speak in Bengali. I’d like to take my time in learning Bengali and singing Bengali songs and maybe in the future, you’ll hear me sing a Bengali song with my dad!
If you were given a chance to choose your gender before birth, would you again choose to be a girl? If yes, why? If not, why?
Yes, I would choose to be a girl. I’m so proud of being a girl and I don’t think I would’ve had courage and characteristics in myself if I was a boy.
What is your message to all the girls out there on the occasion of International Women’s Day?
Be proud of who you are. Don’t think any less of yourself than anyone. Just remember, you were born for a reason, to shine.