I saw this “Back to School” Walmart commercial while watching the Olympics and really liked it:
“Smell that? That’s the new school year approaching and you are ready for the challenge. At Walmart, we have everything you need to own the first day and every single day of the school year. With our low prices, there is nothing you can’t have and nothing you can’t do!”
I felt nostalgic for the Eighties with Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” rocking in the background (and who can forget the music video with hottie Tawny Kitaen on the hoods of two cars).
But mostly, I liked the fact that Walmart included an Asian American boy rocking to the song, with glimpses of his parents.
But the Walmart commercial doesn’t beat my all time favorite Target ad.
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“Since 2008, the Presidential Election Forum has served as a forum for AAPIs to push for AAPI issues to be addressed and on the radar of campaigns and the media. In giving presidential candidates a space to directly address AAPI community members, leaders, and organizers, the Election Forum has become one of the few spaces geared specifically for candidates to speak directly to AAPIs, about AAPIs. “
This year, all four major party candidates were represented:
Attendees used social media and the hashtag #PowerUp to note the importance of having four presidential campaigns address the AAPI community — former President Bill Clinton represented Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Utah’s Attorney General Sean Reyes represented Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Libertarian presidential nominee former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, and Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein.
Tahmina Anam’s The Bones of Grace is a beautifully written love letter that weaves in family, desire, and the fossil of a walking whale. Zubaida, the woman at the center of this novel, is on the eve of leaving her PhD program at Harvard when she falls in love with Elijah. After a whirlwind of days, she leaves for a paleontology dig, in search of an elusive fossil. After the dig falls apart, Z returns to her family in Bangladesh, and the man her family has always assumed she will marry.
This book is her letter to Elijah, the man she loves through it all–an attempt to offer an explanation, in hopes that their story might continue despite everything that has happened. Zubaida, as the letter writer, serves as narrator, and the reader takes the position of Elijah, the “you” that the entire story is directed to.
Tucked throughout are wondrous stories–a piano in the body of a cruise ship set to be dismantled and wrecked on the coast of Bangladesh, the dig allowed under tenuous circumstances. These take their place alongside the more mundane–the push pull of family expectation and personal desire, the tug of unknown history and the search for answers.
Almost four year ago in September 2012, I attended the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina and first met Christine Chen, Executive Director of Asian Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote), where she was being honored for her work as its founding Executive Director from 2006-2008 and returning in Janutary 2011 to serve again as its Executive Director.
Me & Christine Chen, Executive Director, Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote)
Since then, I’ve seen Christine many times during her visits in the San Francisco Bay area, as well as at this year’s APIAVote event at the 2016 Democratic National Convention – Briefing & Kick-off Reception. APIAVote is a national nonpartisan organization that works with partners to mobilize Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in electoral and civic participation.
With all kinds of grim videos out there from police shootings to cringe inducing videos about “Neenjas” and Xenophobic videos about Chinese buying American farms, this NigaHiga/Jeremy Lin collaboration really made my day.
It pulls in some popular Anime characters and even has a quick jab at Pokemon Go!
Visual Communications is now accepting applications for its prestigious Armed With a Camera Fellowship!
In its 15th cycle, the Armed With a Camera (AWC) fellowship has helped over 120 emerging filmmakers to launch careers and give voice to their Asian Pacific American heritage and communities. This program offers six months of training, funding, mentorship, facilities and equipment and an elite world premiere venue – the 2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival!
The AWC Fellowship will award up to ten fellows a cash stipend to complete a four to five-minute digital video. In addition, Fellows will attend an all-expenses paid animated filmmaking workshop to LAIKA Entertainment (KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS, CORALINE, CORPSE BRIDE, PARANORMAN) in Portland, OR.
AWC provides the springboard for emerging media makers for their career. Many alumni have gone on to produce feature films, documentaries and other media. Past fellows include Daniel Hsia (SHANGHAI CALLING), Eugene-Lee Yang (BUZZFEED MOTION PICTURES), Kristina Wong (WONG STREET JOURNAL), Evan Jackson Leong (LINSANITY), AYA TANIMURA (music videos), ERNESTO FORONDA (BETTER LUCK TOMORROW) and Erin Li (KEPLER X-47).
Apply today. Eligible applicants must be of Asian Pacific descent and residents of Southern California. If accepted, Fellows must be able to attend mandatory meetings and workshops in Los Angeles. Women, Native Hawaiians & Pacific Islanders, South Asian, and Southeast Asian filmmakers (particularly animators) are highly encouraged to apply to the AWC Fellowship.
You can find the application information here: vconline.org/awc. The AWC Fellowship application closes on October 7, 2016.
I had such a good time four years ago at the Democratic National Convention 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina in September 2012 (my blog posts):
I decided if I could at a reasonable cost covered on my own dime, on my own vacation time, I’d attend the convention again. Well, I made it to Philadelphia again and have attended numerous events, which I’ll follow-up on more. But here’s a sample from:
Day 1 – Monday, July 25th:
Where I got to see California State Treasurer John Chiang speak, among other elected Californian Asian Americans.
Which included Congressman Mike Honda and Congresswoman Judy Chu (both from California).
And at the reception, got to see:
Fresh Off the Boat’s Constance Wu speak about her interest and involvement in politics.
And that was only during the first day! More to come!
By Sophia Chang
So you’re an enlightened, non-racist, totally conscious white person. In that case, you can stop saying these 3 things:
1) “My husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/superPCterm is Fill-in-the-Color so I get it.”
You know how when skinny people talk about how fat they are, it’s totally obnoxious? It’s because they’ll never know what it’s like to actually be in a body that isn’t skinny.
It doesn’t mean skinny people don’t have self-esteem issues (we do, all the time) – but it’s NOT THE SAME. It will NEVER BE THE SAME. And pretending we get it is not only pointless, but annoying to people who actually have bodies that don’t fit the cultural beauty norm.
When I had a black boyfriend, I experienced what it was like to walk down the street and see someone cross it when they saw him coming. I viewed the police differently. Does this mean I get what being black is about? No. I will never know what being black is like. When I walk away, I’m still Asian. I grew up in this skin, not his skin. I have my family, not his family. The world sees me like me, not him.
2) “I experienced racism too; this one time…”
You know that friend who always needs to turn the conversation back to themselves? If you got mugged three times, they need to talk about that one time their wallet was almost stolen, but it wasn’t, it was just a false alarm and not anything like the trauma you experienced repeatedly.
Don’t be that friend.
And while we’re at it, let’s cut the reverse racism bullshit. You want to date an Asian and you’re annoyed her family is weird around you? We don’t want to hear it any more than you want to hear about how we hear stupid shit EVERYWHERE WE GO and we just have to let it slide because if we go around complaining every five seconds, we wouldn’t have time for all the violin practice.
3) “It’s not just Asians, MY family also…”
Remember when Black Lives Matter started and lots of people were against it because “All lives matter”? And we were like, “Yes, they do, but…THAT’S NOT THE POINT.”
White people, YOU DON’T NEED TO OWN EVERYTHING in the world. It’s like a compulsion. Like you get itchy if Asians are allowed to be unique and have our own culture.
What is it, does it remind you that we’re actually different from you? (And different is bad!) Does it threaten you so much that our culture has things you’re not a part of for once, that you may not know how to deal with? Things we may be proud of, or hurts and pains that we accept enough to joke about, or just something that isn’t yours?
It’s okay. Let Asians have some things for ourselves. You’ve already taken my people’s masculinity, let us have our in-jokes the way the other minorities do. We need it to get through our day, trust us.
(Flickr photo credit: Tomi Knuutila, used under Creative Commons License)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sophia is an aerial dancer, an admissions coach, and the world’s first iPod silhouette model. She graduated from Harvard at the age of 20, worked as a film/TV actor and playwright, and now writes fantasy novels. Sophia just completed 13 months of nomadic travel around the globe. Follow her adventures at www.sophiachang.com
Heroine Complex is an absolute delight. Also it starts with demon cupcakes and includes spam musubi, so what’s not to like.
Evie Tanaka is a superhero’s sidekick / personal assistant / childhood best friend. Her boss / childhood best friend / beloved superheroine of San Francisco, Aveda Jupiter (born Annie Chang), kicks demon butt while Evie handles every imaginable detail in the background. But when Evie is asked to impersonate Aveda for a night, everything changes. And as she tries to grapple with her new emotions and being in the limelight, Evie, along with Aveda and the Jupiter HQ team, also has to save the world. No big deal.
So we’ve got female protagonists, a whirlwind plot, and all the compelling complications of romance, friendship, and figuring out who you are. It centers two Asian Americans, but doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard in that vein. Instead, moments (like the one involving spam musubi) come naturally and intermittently. The diversity of other characters is equally casual, like the inclusion of Black Latino Asian bartender. And lest I forget, some thrilling love scenes that include safe sex (yes! consent and protection can be sexy and here’s the book that can make people believe it!).
Heroine Complex is fun, a page-turner, and despite the demons and magic and fantastical elements, very real and relatable. So I am here for this book.
U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan posted a photo on Instagram Saturday, a selfie with a large number of interns. The caption reads, “I think this sets a record for the most number of #CapitolHill interns in a single selfie. #SpeakerSelfie.” The snark (I’m avoiding words like “outrage” and “furor” because they seem like hyperbole in a realm where hyperbole is the default, and I’d rather not play along) was swift and cynical: comments on IG included “Everything wrong with the Hill,” “Republican = zero diversity,” and “Smile if you like Nickelback.”
That last one’s only peripherally relevant, but I thought it was funny.
The snark was followed, of course, by people combing the photo for people of color, in order to come up with anti-snark. One person in my social stream reports there are “a few Asians and one African American” in the photo. Depending on how many “a few” is, the actual numbers might be enough to counter any charges of privilege or whatever. Our eyes can deceive us, and maybe the Asians in this photo are like that dropped iPhone nobody can locate on the carpet, or maybe they’ve humbly taken their positions near the back, where they’re difficult to spot, because that’s what we do. Continue Reading »
The image of Maui in Disney’s upcoming movie “Moana” has triggered some anger. Some say the body of Maui, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is obese, an insulting stereotype of Polynesian men. This picture, from Samoan Rugby player Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, is one expression of this anger. Sapolu adds, in another picture, “Maui looking like after he fished up the Islands, he deep fried em and and ate em”. Other people, such as New Zealander of Tonga descent Isoa Kavakimotu, disagree, saying “He doesn’t look fat to me, he looks a like a powerhouse who could do extraordinary labours. Kavakimotu has made a video (shown below) about his viewpoint on this issue, pointing out that competitive strongmen are built more Maui than Johnson.