by We Are Sikhs — June 19, 2019
“My hope is that through content such as my skits or YouTube videos people can see what a Sikh is and recognize our community more.” - Babbu Singh
Babbu, aka “Babbulicious”, is an influencer, comedian, artist, designer and children’s book author. He is best known for his YouTube videos with Jasmeet Singh, aka JusReign. Babbu plays the lead male role in our Funny Or Die “Diversity Day” video, which aims to build awareness of Sikhs and the Sikh Turban.
*The blog has shortened Babbu’s responses for brevity, check out the full podcast with Babbu below.
What did you tell your parents when you decided to make YouTube videos?
My situation is a bit different in the sense that I am able to be in other Youtubers videos rather than to make my own on my personal channel. My parents have always been supportive of my decision to be in them. They find the videos amusing and now share with their friends.
How do you feel being an influencer has changed you?
Even after being titled as an “influencer,” I always say that I'm just a normal guy and in reality, I get very awkward and shy when people recognize me. I don't claim myself as this comedian or “influencer” - I just join into the videos that others make for the pure joy of them.
One of your famous characters in Jus Reign’s video is a huge Brampton bro wears a ridiculous tide jacket. Where did you get it from?
The tide jacket was a trend in the early 2000’s when it was normal to wear oversized jackets and baggy jeans. My older brother, Harman, bought that jacket and I took it for a video to be more stylish for the “Uncle” character. In the 11th grade, I would wear it all the time but no one thought of it as a joke because it was the trend. Later on I wore it in Jus Reign’s video and it became an aesthetic.
What do you do outside of making these videos?
I went to an art university and decided to drop out at 19. It wasn't because I wasn't getting good grades but rather because it took away time from making videos and building my brand. My brother and I currently own a design and film agency. I picked up a lot of these traits naturally and this helped me in the long run. School was more theory and experimental based and it didn’t lead to me learning in the same way.
You fit your Indian Uncle character so well that allows others to also resonate with him. Do you have a process for designing characters?
The process of designing new characters is usually based off of people I've met. For example, in the “Khalsa Uncle” character it was a real uncle that I interacted with in Jagmeet Singh's political campaign. This uncle would wear these glasses and was very outspoken. Jasmeet would also guide me in what to say at times but the majority of it was just imitating people and later ends up a character. Jasmeet had the engineering skit planned out and the rest was improvisation.
Now that you have this platform, what do you hope to do with it?
I just turned 30 and I was telling a friend how I now feel old. My friend told me there are 2 different ways that you can look at this - you can either be like Lil Wayne and retire your career at its peak by 30 or be like Jay-Z and keep growing your career no matter your age. I took this funny analogy to heart and realized that I shouldn't look at everything on age because that takes the fun out of it. I'm currently working on art, a Punjabi alphabet book where each letter is a rapper’s name and I hope to improve myself in the process as well.
We strive to raise more Sikh awareness with this campaign so what do you hope to accomplish by raising more Sikh awareness, how can you do this through your content?
It's interesting because in Canada we have a majority Sikh population and we see Punjabis all the time so it is easier to raise this awareness. I know that in America after 9/11 many stereotypes have developed and it’s 2019 so it’s important to learn about others rather than hold negativity. A good start is creating this foundation of who Sikhs are and starting the relationship from there. I'm good at tuning things out but discrimination still takes place.
What advice do you have for those that look like you, had the same upbringing as a Sikh and want to be in the entertainment industry?
Something that even I am not the best at is consistency. Whatever you choose to do, if you are consistent at it and continuously do it, then that's the only way you'll grow as a human because you are putting yourself out to fail and when you fail you learn from those mistakes. Lil Wayne in one of his documentaries he says, “the repetition is the father of learning”. As long as you are doing what you love consistently then you will guide yourself to success. We live on the internet now so there is no excuse not to put content out. The internet is your friend.