It’s been a week since the viral music video phenomenon that is Jacintha Morris’ ‘Suzann’ first came to our collective attention. Since then, there have been reams aplenty devoted to: a. ridiculing Morris, with most pieces calling her India’s answer to Taher Shah, or b. ridiculing the ridiculers, and calling Morris nothing less than a hero for calling out ageism and sexism through her song.
There has also been a third category of commentary, which says that perhaps all the ridicule for ‘Suzann’ needs to be seen not as a personal attack on the singer or her message, but rather, a possibly justified response to an unintentionally funny product.
In the midst of all this, Morris herself took down the video from her YouTube channel, triggered by the trolling she was subjected to. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on which way you look at it) the video still survives, having been shared/uploaded on Facebook by other users.
In a conversation with Scroll.in, Jacintha Morris expressed surprise over being trolled for ‘Suzann’. She also revealed a few previously unknown facts about her (swan?) song:
This is quite the family production: Two of the men in the video are her brothers-in-law. The nuns featured in 'Suzann' are Morris’ sisters. Her daughter plays the younger version of Suzann in the music video, the “butterfly that turned into a toad”. And a judge shown at the ed of he video is Morris' brother.
‘Suzann’ is based on Morris’ conversations with 25 Malayali women, whom she met during the course of her work. It previously appeared in verse form in her collection of poems titled Bubbles of Realities.
Apart from her 29 years in government service, and her musical (mis)adventures, Morris is also a writer of short stories and poetry in three languages, and says she had won 16 prizes for her literary endeavours.
As for those comparisons to Taher Shah, Moris had this to say: "I can't believe people are comparing me to Taher Shah. Are they blind? I am a normal person who likes gardening, is interested in literature and want to do good things. But people are making fun of my voice, my singing. What is the world coming to?"
Here's 'Suzann', once again: