Rupi Kaur has come a long way since self-publishing her first poetry collection at the age of 21 to becoming the globally acclaimed poet that she currently is. 

Her books, Milk and Honey, The Sun and Her Flowers, and Home Body, have sold millions of copies and been translated into multiple languages worldwide.

Within a span of just a few years she has managed to inspire the next generation of writers, yet, little is known about the early stages of her career, especially her involvement with charity VIBC, which created 5X Festival.

Image from 5X Festival

As we know, 5X is a part of the revolution when it comes to the South Asian art scene, featuring the best in art, fashion, and film at the annual summer festival and various events throughout the year.

“There are approximately 210 million South Asian millennials in North America and India alone; we want to unite and evolve our community beyond physical boundaries,” said Tarun Nayar, Executive Director at 5X Festival.

In fact, 5X brings all types of creatives together; it provides them a platform to show off their hard work and gives them an opportunity to connect with like minded individuals.

“We create a space where artists can meet artists, novices can meet masters, and fans can be inspired to find their inner artist,” said Nayar.

Artists such as Rupi Kaur, Kay Ray, Baljit Singh, and Keerat Kaur, all have roots stemming from 5X and platforms created as part of 5X. It is inspiring to see the heights they have travelled since first spreading their wings.

Kaur has had a few of her performances sponsored by VIBC/5X, including here in Vancouver, and has gone on to become a New York Times best selling author, and has also been commissioned by the publishing company Penguin Classics, to write an introduction for a new edition of Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet.

Image from 5X Festival

One thing that I love about Kaur is her authenticity and her passion to stay true to her roots. 

After the release of her first book, VIBC hosted An Evening With Rupi Kaur at the Vogue Theatre in 2017, and later hosted another event in the same year after the release of her second book, The Sun and Her Flowers

VIBC sponsored these events and gave hundreds of individuals an opportunity to witness Kaur perform and read excerpts from her book, such as this one right here:

Via The Wanderer

As a way to honor her culture, Kaur’s style of writing is inspired by Gurmukhi script using exclusively lowercase letters, and minimal punctuation aside from periods.

Her work infuses raw themes of femininity, love, healing, trauma, loss and migration, in a way that is digestible for any reader. 

Simply put, Kaur has an innate ability to connect with other souls through her striking poetry. While she does so in a minimalist style, it demands to be read and understood by anyone who comes across it.

This is something that 5X recognized about Kaur from the very beginning, and has been passionate to bring forward to wider audiences.

The creativity at 5X is nothing short of activism, and the organization has been instrumental in coming up with new and unique ways to advocate for inclusivity, representation and social justice through art.

The organization is a family who strives to bring South Asians together, highlights their diverse identities, and gives them a platform to exercise liberated artistic expression.

So although Rupi Kaur has gone on to perform on other stages such as The Tonight Show and TED Talk, she will always be cherished as a member of the #5XFamily.

Manisha is a writer and reporter with previous radio and television experience, who is passionate about connecting audiences to the stories and voices that matter to them most. Check her out on Instagram: @exclusivelymanisha

About the author

Manisha Singh

Manisha Singh is a talented journalist, author, poet, TV & radio presenter, pageant queen and mental health advocate. She is one of three uniquely talented Head Writers at Mindful Agency; having interviewed some of the most powerful entrepreneurs in the world including Kailee Scales, Kelley Nemiro and more. Singh is also frequently published in Forbes, as well as Entrepreneur, Inc. & USA Today. Check out her journey across the socials; Instagram & TikTok.

More by Manisha Singh
5X Press is a forum for opinions, conversations, & experiences, powered by South Asian youth. The views expressed here are not representative of those of 5X Festival.