Energy & positivity from voice talent Kabir Singh with thoughts about love, expression & inclusiveness for all people and communities.

A voice over actor in the voice over community was offended by my use of the words “Black and African American Accented/Sounding” when describing my voice on my blog. Here’s an example from my website:

I am not a black voice actor. I am not an African-American voice actor. I am a voice actor.

After a positive and in-depth conversation, it was suggested “urban” is less offensive and preferred when describing my voice. I will always lead by love – so, I went in and changed some of my blogs to reflect “urban” when describing my voice. This is a sensitive time in the world, in the voice over community and I respect that. I am paying attention to this and treating it with compassion and respect because the conversation needs to happen.

Specifically, in the voiceover community – how we define voices and who plays certain characters is an ongoing discussion. What is an accent? What is urban voiceover? Can a black voice actor sound less/more urban? Can a white voice actor sound urban? Where do other minority groups stand? Are we defined by our sound? Are we defined by our race? Who decides? Is there an ownership on the sound of a voice, when it is an authentic sound?

I will always stand by my truth and speak it. My website/blogs/marketing and soul reflects the name Kabir Singh. No stage name. My videos/photos and content always show a brown- possibly ethnic ambiguous- Indian/minority. I am who I am. The way I sound is not an act, character or a show.

I will not apologize for my up brining and/or voice. My voice is my heart. My voice is my soul. My voice is the essence of my experiences. I don’t see color as a reason to discredit a person’s vocal skills, talents or business.

I have learned from some of the most amazing black voice actors. But, when I am learning from them, I don’t see them as African American voice actors or black voice actors- I see them as voice actors. I see them with love and respect. I have also learned from great white voice actors. How do they see or hear me?

I grew up in a trailer park in La Puente, CA. I was one of the only East Indian kids in the area. There are countless times where I was made fun of and called horrible names by other kids. Everything from Sand N*GG*R, APU, Aladdin’s Monkey to Osama Bin Laden. I experienced this for many years as a young child. It is my truth and my story.

I am no stranger to hate. I am no stranger to being bullied.

This video and blog post is my direct response to those that want to know my story, my influences and are willing to judge me by the contents of my character …

 

***VIDEO TRANSCRIPT***

My name is Kabir Singh.

I’m a voice actor, poet and philosopher.

By background, I was born in India, and I never had a father growing up so we bounced around country to country to look for him. I found him for the first time when I was eight years old. We lived in a trailer park in La Puente, California.

Pops died when I was really young, when I was about 11 or 12 years old. So poverty, and the sufferings of poverty, are not too distant from me. The sufferings of being a single mom household is not too distant from me.

I grew up with a lot of bullying in my life. I grew up with a lot of people calling me things that they probably wouldn’t want to call me today. Those things made me the person I am today. Those things taught me what humanity is, what life is really about, what compassion really means, what love really means. And I had to work on my spirit to get there.

Who I am

I was raised by the influence of the black culture. I was raised by the influence of the Hispanic culture. I was raised by the influence of single moms who worked every day of their life to take care of their kids. I was raised by the influence and the beauty of black music. Of black grandmas that taught me life lessons. I was raised by homies that taught me what it means to be a man, how to stand up for yourself. These homies were black, Mexican, some were Filipino – all different races. They made me a better man.

I’ve been influenced my entire life by these people – these people that I consider my friends. People that love me and I love them, and I stand by their character.

I am a voice actor. I am not a black or an African-American voice actor.

I was born in India. I grew up with the love of African-American community and one that I cherish and I honor. One that I pay homage and respect to.

Along this journey of creating a business you learn many lessons. One of the internet games is search engine optimization. Involving that game is how do you define what you’re looking for?  If I’m looking for a product or service, how do you describe it into Google? As a voice actor, clients tend to hire me for my poetic sound, my urban sound. But they also tend to hire me because I may be able to connect to a certain audience that they’re looking for because of my sound.

What is my sound?

You can call it urban. You can call it an African-American sound. You can call it a multicultural race sound. You can call it whatever you want.

I am a voice actor. I’m a voice actor that’s been through my own sufferings in life. I’m a voice actor that puts my heart and soul into everything I do. I’m a voice actor that gets on the microphone and always shares my spirit.

I’m also a poet. I understand the sufferings of life.  I’m a poet that looks after people in my community. I’m a philosopher. I’m a philosopher that looks into the curiosities of life. Who thinks about how to improve himself and how to better himself in this world. My goals in life are to be a positive influence. I’m no different than anybody and I make mistakes. And I learned from those mistakes.

My character is my pride.

My character is my pride. You are not hiring any label of me. You’re hiring my spirit as you hire a voice actor, you’re hiring my soul and my spirit.

It is my goal in life to approach compassion and empathy from a perspective without anger, without frustration. It is not my goal to offend. It is not my goal to stand in a place where I don’t belong. I stand for love and I stand for humanity. My race will always be human. I will die on that hill.  I am a human being. I bleed this blood that circulates in the pump you bleed.

My job is to love and have compassion and take care of people around me and to do it in the graceful way and to do an honest way. And to never put on a façade. You will always see my name as Kabir Singh. And you will always see my image of me. My skin, my face and nobody else. You will always get to know who I am from the depths of my soul, because I will always speak my truth.

I am forever a work in progress—as a voice actor and a human being.

There have been many races that have helped me on this voice-acting journey. Many white voice actors that have helped me become successful in business, many black voice actors that gave me reflection and perspective and an idea. Many old voice actors that teach me to keep it humble as I go through this journey of ups and downs of age. Many women voice actors who give me a beautiful perspective of the opposite of what I am, of the energy of the feminine, the beautiful energy. I am forever a work in progress, and I will always define myself as a human being. My goal is to become a better voice actor.

I don’t know the lines of how to play imaginary. I just know how to be myself. I know how to speak my truth. And I will always die on the hill of truth and I will always look and reflect and try to see how I can improve myself, how I can be better. And I am not afraid of those conversations.

I am a product of many colors.

I’ve experienced my own racisms in life. I’ve been called the worst of the worst also in my life. But it’s no fault to anybody else. I don’t see color. In my eye, I am an Indian man. I was born in India. When I look at the cartoon character Apu and who does his voice, am I supposed to be offended because it’s not an Indian from India? It doesn’t hurt my heart, so I don’t see color. Because I’m a product of many colors. I’m a product of many races. I’m successful because of many people. I am overall a successful person because of love and I will always die on that hill of love.

If I have done anything offensive or I’ve said anything offensive, I will always be receptive and make acknowledgement and improve. We are human beings who make mistakes and we shall improve. Forgiveness and love and compassion is part of the improvement.

I am not a black voice actor. I am a voice actor. I am myself.

My name is Kabir Singh. I’m not an African-American or black voice actor. I am a voice actor. I am myself. I am my spirit. I am my sufferings and I am my love and I am my compassion. How I am labeled or how clients perceive me is not my business.

My business is to be my heart and my soul. And to hopefully do it gracefully. It is always love, and forever it will always be respect to the cultures, to the communities that have influenced this young man to become a better man. I will always stand by the love of the Hispanic, the Mexican, the black, the Asian, the white, the Indian, all these people that make me a better voice actor, a better human being. Man, you are my brother, you are my sister.

And if I fall short, I will stand here to improve myself and build my character and become a better man. It is my duty to do so.

Peace.

I am a product of love.

My whole life, a lot of people have shown me a lot of love. I never had a father growing up, so, for me, I always sought guidance from older gentlemen, and those older gentlemen came in the form of older black gentlemen; older Hispanic gentlemen; older white gentlemen. That added so much value to my life as an adolescent.

Each one of them added so much value to this young man, to make me a better man.

I’m a product of love from a single mom. From a mother who raised us in a trailer park. I’m a product of that love. I’m a product of love shown to me by brilliant teachers who taught me the power of positive messages and taught me certain things that made me better in life. I’m a product of love shown to me by excellent individuals who came from the military and became police officers and showed me how to become a better man and have responsibility and to learn how to have integrity and character. I’m a product of that love.

I’m a product of love from younger cats who teach me never to forget the innocence of life. I’m a product of that love. I’m a product of love from white women, white women who showed me or gave me a certain perspective that helped me become a better person. I’m a product of older Asian gentlemen who showed me wisdom. I’m a product of that love. I’m a product of everything from a Hispanic to an Indian to all religions and cultures. I’m a product of that love—human love. I became a better man because of all those people.

All the colors in the rainbow made me a better man.

I wouldn’t be the man who I am today if it wasn’t for each one of those people, from the police officers that help me to my older white homies to my older black homies and youth mentors. I’m a product of all their love. That made me a better man.

I’m a product of the black culture, for one, which I wouldn’t even have a career today if it wasn’t for the black culture, if it wasn’t for the black activists that I would sit and I would listen to how they speak. I would listen to speeches by Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and listen to how they would have their cadence so I can understand what it means to speak in a powerful way.

I’m a product of all that.

I’m a product of black music. I’m a product of black visuals. I’m a product of the black culture, for one, that I can never take for granted because I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for that culture, if it wasn’t for those people that help me become a better man.

Rooted in human compassion.

One common thing that goes through the entirety of this product of love has always been compassion.

It has always been kindness. It has always been strength, controlled strength. It’s always been reflection, putting that mirror up and seeing what inside of you can make you better. I have to do this because I want to become better. I want to become wiser. I want to become more understanding of all perspectives, of all lives, but when you see a pattern and you hear one of your human beings, one of your fellow people, your brothers and sisters crying out for help or crying out for justice, it’s on us as human beings of a product of love to listen, to hear, to feel, to see if we can understand.

I can’t help but only go inside of myself to see that what can I improve on to be a better human being, to see that how can I do a better job of loving people and spreading positive messages to others. How can I do a better job of not having subconscious hatred or racism or all these things inside myself so that I always reflect the light of love? I have to reflect the light of love because I am a product of that love.

It’s on us.

We weren’t born racists. We were taught how to become racists. We weren’t born with hatred. We were taught how to become with hatred. Compassion and empathy, we understand those. What is human compassion? It’s a feeling of understanding and sympathy and wanting to help someone who’s grieving or suffering. As human beings, we all understand that feeling of having somebody urging us, “Please, listen to us, listen to our pain.”

Cool. I’m listening. I’m listening. I’m listening. I’m going to do a better job. I’m going to do a better job of listening. I’m going to do a better job of becoming a better me. I’m going to do a better job of loving equally between all races, religions, cultures, and creeds. I’m going to do a better job. That’s my only answer. I’m going to do a better job, because I am a product of all those people. I’m a product of all those people.

Heart and soul.

In some professions, you cannot have bad seeds, and I understand that.

Not everybody can be the perfect police officer. They can’t. I’ve met some incredible police officers. My homie, Sergio, is an incredible police officer, served in the military as a ranger, became an elite Jiu-Jitsu master, has integrity and has character and has pure love in his heart. That man taught me a lot about life. That man taught me a lot about life, but he also has such a high standard to become a police officer. His standard was here. In order to get here, you have to become that type of police officer with that type of heart and soul. There’s police officers out there like that. I want those to be the police officers. I want those people to protect and serve because those are gems.

Positive messages.

Compassion and love is all we have.

Compassion and love is all I have.

If we start seeing white and we start seeing black, and we start seeing Asian and we start seeing Indian, and we start seeing these things, we get poisoned. We’re no longer innocent. We’ve poisoned ourselves and our inner light because we can’t stop seeing color. But we could feel compassion. We could feel love.

I’ve felt I’m a product of love to the day I die, from every single one of those people, from every single profession, color, and creed. I wouldn’t be the man I am today if it wasn’t for the black culture.

For that, I’m very grateful. Peace.

How would you define love? What does love means to you? As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that there are different types of “loves” in the world. The love for my mom is a different then the love expressed towards my best friend. The love for my girlfriend is much different than the love I have for my sisters. But even though we have different levels and stages of love, I’m learning that there are few commonalities amongst all types of love. One of those commonalities is sacrifice.

I learned a lot about love and sacrifice from my mom. Family love has taught me a lot about sacrifices that are necessary in order to persevere during times of struggle. My mom sacrificed her whole life for me and my sisters when my dad died. That level of sacrifice has taught me the meaning of love and what it takes to truly “be” love. Some of the best moments in life are going to be the ones that give you an overwhelming feeling of love.

Understanding love is not as easy as understanding fear. Love is as equally as powerful as fear but not as easily understood. I have found that the more love you show the more love you shall receive. Most of my adolescence was spent in solitude as I had no friends growing up. The only love I received was family love. When I matured and became a young man, I learned that it was my lack of confidence in myself, along with a host of other factors, that prevented me from receiving love. I was holding myself back. My negativity. My illusions and lack of social understandings.  The brutal truth was – I did not love myself.

Understand how love trumps hate and how diverse family experience can produce the best moments in life.

The light is love. Whatever periods of darkness you may have in life, understand that love will shed its light in it eventually.  Loving yourself is the key to that light. At 32 years old, I have finally learned to love myself. Self-love has to be discovered. It’s okay if you don’t love yourself right now. I always felt like I had to earn love. Earn it because- I was not a happy person. I was not a positive person. I was not person that was adding anything good in someone’s life. I had to become that person. I had to shine my light of love within myself first.

Each individual has a diverse experience in life. My experiences in childhood were a series of unfortunate events and abuses. Thus, for most of my adolescence I hated life. I was a negative person. I was sad and depressed. Hate was my energy and everyone knew it, better yet, they could feel it.  Overcoming that self-hate was a gradual process. It takes time and patience is required. You have to show as much love as you can and shine your light of love authentically inside and outside of yourself- everyday. That journey took many years for me and today I reap its rewards. Now I shine my light of love in as many places as I can. A few things I try to do that accomplish this are:

    • listening more than talking

    • authentically caring about others

    • being selfless in small acts

    • serving the less fortunate

    • learning and improving conversation skills

    • forgiving myself for the mistakes I’ve made

  • forgiving others for the mistakes they’ve made

Love trumps hate. Love will always trump hate. Hate of self and hate of others prevents our spirit from truly being free. So for an individual out there who is seeking a form of enlightenment or love, show as much love as you can in your daily steps. Loving yourself as you are loving others. Positivity over negativity. Love over hate.

Kabir Singh.

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