Michigan student launches Indian-American podcast

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Suraj Kandukuri, 25, an MBA student at the University of Michigan has a podcast, Brown People We Know (BPWK), a bi-weekly interview format about the Indian-American experience. Photo: courtesy Suraj Kandukuri

Suraj Kandukuri, 25, an MBA student at the University of Michigan has been getting a positive response to his podcast, Brown People We Know (BPWK), a bi-weekly interview format about the Indian-American experience.

Launched in June 2020 from a closet in Kandukuri’s parents’ house the show is starting to gain traction within the community, he says, and it would attract Michiganites because it is all about them – Padma Kuppa, Michigan’s first Hindu legislator, and Vasu Sojitra, an amputee and a North Face athlete.

In an interview with Desi Talk, Kandukuri said he was inspired by famous Patriot Act host and stand-up political comedian/commentator Hasan Minaj’s film, Homecoming King, and realized that there was not much Indian-American content out there for the community to relate to.

“Being Indian and being American at the same time creates a unique voice. I wanted to bring that out in the open for other people to see,” he told Desi Talk.

Growing up in Wisconsin, Kandukuri did not have many Indian Americans around. Through his podcast, he wants people to know they are included and not alone. He wants to expose them to the variety of extraordinary things many Indian Americans have been able to achieve in this country.

Brown People We Know can be found on all podcast streaming applications and on Instagram at @bpwkpodcast. The next two guests on the show are Sravya Kalyanapu, founder of Mango People Cosmetics in LA, a chemical engineer and a model, and Rajiv Satyal, the first comedian to perform on all seven continents.

Kandukuri’s goal is to take BPWK beyond a podcast. “Right now, this is a podcast for the South Asian community but my aim is to take it to that level where it can also highlight and support South Asian artists and businesses. That is where my MBA background comes in,” said Kandukuri.

 

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