For the past three years, Gold House has published the A100 list of Asians and Asian Americans who have been highly influential in the past year. 2020’s list includes well known people like Awkwafina and Andrew Yang, plus others that you may have not heard about. When I read through the list and bios and all of their amazing accomplishments and influence, I surprisingly had mixed feelings.
The people on this year’s list are just plain incredible. Andrew Yang may not have made it as the final democratic presidential nominee, but his historic run and advocacy of Universal Basic Income seems to be a key influence in the American Stimulus check program. Miky Lee helped bring movies like Parasite into being and also was a key player in the rise of K-POP. Satya Nadella has turned around Microsoft and made its Azure Cloud unit a worthy rival of Amazon Web Services. I was pleased to see Anderson Paak on the list. I learned about Anderson Paak from my sons, who listen to him.
It was great to see Dino-Ray Ramos on the list. He has written in the past for 8Asians, and now is an associate editor at Deadline, covering inclusion, diversity and representation in film and TV, among other topics. He is also the only one I have met personally on this year’s list. Even the judges in this contest are pretty amazing. I have met Dado Banatao and and his wife – they are simultaneously amazing and down to earth despite him having made a big impact on the world’s technology.
So why the mixed feelings? Part of it is the times we are living in. Despite all the Asian American accomplishments listed here, those achievements won’t save you from being blamed for the coronavirus pandemic. Just as being a Harvard trained Marvel comics writer, author, bio-medical editor, and well-known birdwatcher won’t prevent someone from falsely accusing you of threatening her. I felt better after reading about another person on the A100 list, Chanel Miller, whose life makes me realize that we can’t let evil and destructive people prevent us from living our best lives. If she can bounce back from what happened to her, so can we call.