Sunn m’Cheaux was born the middle child of a Pentecostal Holiness minister (father) and missionary (mother) in Charleston, South Carolina. A true Gullah/Geechee “binyah” (native), he was reared in rural Mt. Holly, South Carolina in a familial village established in the late 1850s. The rich Gullah language and culture he absorbed growing up on those sandy Low Country backroads is ever-present in his life as an artist, advocate, and educator.
Though an accomplished high school student, award-winning writer and champion wrestler, m’Cheaux’s passion was – and is – music, which he pursued professionally after graduation. To date, he has released five full-length studio albums, a myriad of singles and music videos, and has recorded a trove of yet to be released work. He has lived and travelled cross-country in the U.S. and ventured abroad as an independent recording artist and producer.
It was during m’Cheaux’s travels that his worldviews expanded, leading him to become more involved in public service for causes and communities for which his heightened profile as a performer granted him a platform to affect progress. His activism and advocacy have been featured on HBO Vice, BBC, CBS, and Al Jazeera Plus, to name a few. m’Cheaux considers media presence to be an integral component in his effort to draw attention to the oft-ignored social groups, particularly the Gullah/Geechee community.
m’Cheaux has cultivated a strong following online via social media with frequent viral content ranging from pop culture commentary, allegorical anecdotes, and entertainment, to serious discussions, advocacy, and philanthropy via crowdfunding. He uses this content to promote intellect, ethics, enlightenment, and education—the latter of which led him in 2017 to becoming the first and only Gullah language instructor at Harvard University. In this role, he teaches a curriculum based on extensive research and his own personal Gullah/Geechee knowledge and experience.
m’Cheaux has been fully embraced at Harvard University, having been invited to be a resident lecturer for Project Teach (Harvard’s Official College & Career Awareness Program) and to speak about his course at other universities and events nationally and in the Caribbean Islands, and he has been featured in Harvard Crimson and Harvard Gazette. “There’s a synchronicity between my various passions and pursuits now more than ever. To say I’ve come full-circle would be a misnomer… I’ve come to a place I’ve never been, nor expected to be, but it’s where I’m from that got me here,” he says..
Proud, yet humble about his achievements, m’Cheaux’s personal mantra in all his endeavors is “we outchea,” a celebratory Gullah/Geechee affirmation meaning “we are out here.” He attributes his personal ascension to the collective excellence of his culture and people overall. In that regard, m’Cheaux embodies “Muss tek kyeh de root fa heal de tree,” the Gullah proverb that means, “Must take care of the root to nourish the tree.”