Rupi Kaur, a Punjabi-born Canadian poet, writer, illustrator and performer, has become the most ‘Instagrammable’ sensation; she is followed by Ariana Grande on instagram, has had Sam Smith tattoo some of her work onto his arm and has appeared on the front page of the Cosmopolitan. She has graced the covers of the Canadian press as she was seen to be endorsing Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh a candidate running for Prime Minister in Canada.
Although her work seems to be at all-time high, she alongside other people of ethnicity, has suffered her fair share of challenges, suffering backlash from the media for her work. In 2014 Kaur released her self-produced poetry book ‘Milk and Honey.' Although it had sold over 2.5 million copies in 25 languages and spent 77 weeks on the New York Times Best-Seller List, she received lots of criticism for her work.
As for every fan there follows behind a sneering critic, this was clearly established in 2017 when Buzzfeed’s Chiara Giovanni attacked Rupi Kaur’s writing ability in a 3,000 word article that suggested her simplicity ‘lacks true poetic talent,' and implied that as she is a woman of colour she is able to excuse herself for lack of talent. Giovanni later goes onto discuss Kaur’s upbringing and how she cannot represent those of South Asia because she migrated to Canada at the age of four and therefore doesn’t understand the problems of a South Asian female. Giovanni then brings up the book ‘The Literature of the Indian Diaspora’ written by Vijay Mishra to support her argument. Although it does provide stability to her point, it doesn’t suffice, because Giovanni is a Spanish writer who is trying to use a South Indian male’s perspective on an issue that regards South Indian women. Kaur is an influential writer that represents those of South Asia as she discusses key problems such as rape that many South Asian women face. She is able to voice the opinions that victims wish to voice, and by doing so she brings awareness, a topic that no outsider can critique without understanding thoroughly.
Despite all this, Rupi Kaur is seen to be able to rise above the odds with her 4 million followers; using
her Instagram page as her platform ,she is able to discuss emotionally gripping subjects in a way that they can be grasped, and she is able to do all of this as a coloured woman living in modern society.