5.23.2016

Native Hawaiian culture and street art merge in 'Mele Murals'

Help fund the latest documentary from Tad Nakamura.



Here's a great film project that would use your support... There are just a few hours left to pitch in to Mele Murals, the latest documentary from acclaimed filmmaker Tad Nakamura. Mele Murals is a story that navigates the complexities of Native Hawaiian cultural identity through urban street art.

Set against the resurgence of Hawaiian language and culture of the past twenty years, Mele Murals follows two former illegal graffiti writers turned community artists -- Estria Miyashiro (aka Estria) and John Hina (aka Prime) -- and their quest to connect people and place through mural making. The film shows how public art rooted in underground graffiti unexpectedly but powerfully fuses with Native Hawaiian traditions and contemporary life to impact local youth, the rural community of Waimea, and most of all the artists.

Here's the trailer:

Here's the soundtrack for your AAPI Heritage Month

Spotify playlist presented by the White House Initiative on AAPIs and the Smithsonian APA Center.



Looking for some tunes to set off your day? In celebration of AAPI Heritage Month -- it's May, didn't ya know? -- the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center have put together this very cool AAPI Heritage Month 2016 Spotify Playlist.

It's a pretty dope list, running almost two hours with 31 songs from a wide array of artists, including Run River North, TOKiMONSTA, Jai Wolf, Yuna, Red Baraat, Kero One, Sam Tsui and many more.

Florence + the Machine surprises teenage cancer patient with private bedside concert

15-year-old Karinya Chen had tickets to see the band, but had to cancel when her health declined.



Last week, indie rock band Florence + the Machine played a concert at the Austin 360 Amphitheatre, but their most important gig was a private show they played for one of their biggest fans -- a local teen in hospice.

Teen in hospice care gets bedside concert from Florence and the Machine

Several heartwarming viral videos show singer Florence Welch playing a personal bedside concert for a 15-year-old cancer patient Karinya Chen at Hospice Austin's Christopher House. The two are singing "Shake It Out" and "Dog Days Are Over" as duets, with Welch complimenting Karinya's harmonizing

Karinya had tickets to see Florence + the Machine on Thursday night, but had to cancel her plans when her health declined. That's when hospice staffers reached out the band, who were happy to pay a visit.

Ken Jeong stars on the season finale of 'Fresh Off The Boat'

Episode 224: "Bring the Pain" airs Tuesday, May 24, 8:00pm on ABC



ABC's hit Asian American family sitcom Fresh Off The Boat airs Tuesday nights at 8:00pm. The comedy, inspired by the memoir of chef Eddie Huang, tells the story of the Huang family, a Taiwanese American family getting their immigrant hustle on in 1990s suburban Orlando, in pursuit of the American dream. If you missed this season's episodes, they're available for viewing on the ABC website.

Fresh Off The Boat stars Randall Park as Louis, Constance Wu as Jessica, Hudson Yang as Eddie, Forrest Wheeler as Emery, Ian Chen as Evan and Chelsey Crisp as Honey. With special guest assist from Lucille Soong as Grandma Huang. This week, on the season finale, Ken Jeong guest stars as Louis' estranged brother.

Here's a preview of episode 224, "Bring the Pain":

'Star Trek Beyond' boldly goes where no... well, you know.

Watch the new trailer for director Justin Lin's foray into the final frontier.



Hey Trekkies! In case you missed it... Director Justin Lin and Co. recently dropped the new trailer for Star Trek Beyond, the latest feature film installment of the long-running sci-fi franchise. The movie, hitting theaters this summer, finds the intrepid crew of the U.S. Enterprise exploring the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a mysterious new enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.

Check it out:

Obama signs bill removing "Oriental" from federal laws

Rep. Grace Meng's bill eliminating outdated term for Asian Americans from U.S. code.



As of last week, the words "Oriental" and "Negro" will no longer be part of federal law.

On Friday, President Obama signed a bill eliminating the outdated racial descriptors after the legislation passed unanimously in the House and Senate. Yes, they were still on the books. Yes, this was a long time coming.

Obama Signs Bill Removing 'Oriental' and 'Negro' From Federal Laws

H.R.4238, sponsored by Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), aimed to "modernize" two references to "Orientals" and "Negros" in the U.S. Code governing public health, social welfare and civil rights, dating back to the 1970s. The words will be replaced with "Asian Americans" and "African Americans," respectively.

Rep. Meng introduced the bill in December, and it passed the House easily in February. It reached the president's desk last week after the Senate unanimously approved it on Monday.

Asian American Group Files Anti-Affirmative Action Complaint Against Yale, Dartmouth, Brown: What You Need To Know

By Jenn Fang. Cross-posted from Reappropriate.


Yale Law School (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can't believe we're dealing with this again.

Less than a year after the Department of Education dismissed a frivolous administrative complaint filed by the Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) against Harvard University, the AACE has now announced it will file a nearly identical administrative complaint against Yale University, Brown University and Dartmouth College. In their complaint against Harvard, AACE alleged -- absent any significant evidence -- that race-conscious affirmative action discriminates against Asian American applicants.

This work bolsters efforts by conservative partisan and lobbyist Edward Blum, who has made a career out of opposing civil rights measures for people of colour. Blum is best known as the architect of the Fisher v. University of Texas Supreme Court cases, which is the Right's latest campaign to invalidate affirmative action in higher education. Outside of his interest in ending race-conscious affirmative action, Blum has backed numerous Supreme Court cases to reverse portions of the Voting Rights Act and to silence voters of colour. In the recently defeated Evenwel v. Abbott Supreme Court case, Blum and his fellow litigators argued that districts should be drawn so as to disenfranchise thousands of non-voting citizens, who are predominantly young people and people of colour. (AAAJ-AAJC talks about how Evenwel v. Abbott would have resulted in the disenfranchisement of numerous AAPIs).

Edward Blum is clearly no ally of the AAPI community. So, one must wonder why some Asian Americans would support his causes.

5.22.2016

Read These Blogs


Hollywood Has No Business Case for Booking All-White Casts: Hollywood's track record on showcasing minority talent and storylines is pretty awful, even considering some recent efforts to diversify programming. Some studios argue that the fault lies not with them, but with consumers, who -- they claim -- prefer predominantly white casts. But is there any truth to that?

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"You left your culture at the door": Relationships, Misogyny, and Asian American Inside Baseball: Nicole Chung recently received a racist, misogynistic message about her husband and multiracial children. An important and uncomfortable conversation.

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A Facebook friend request brought my mom back to Vietnam after 35 years: Get your tissues ready. Three and a half decades after leaving Vietnam, Ngoc Bich Ha reunited with her childhood friends when one of them found her on Facebook.

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Essay: With Great Privilege Comes Great Responsibility: After she and her children witnessed racial profiling at an airport, Frances Kai-Hwa Wang found a teaching moment to reflect on privilege.

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Hollywood: Drop the bleach: Enough with whitewashing, Hollywood! How #StarringJohnCho took off.

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Why Chinatown Still Matters: Seattle, San Francisco, New York -- Why Chinatowns are still important.

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Suburbs: the New Chinatowns: As today's Chinese immigrants make their homes outside cities, what will become of the tight-knit urban communities that previous generations built?

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The U.S. Government Still Has Not Apologized for Its Reckless Prosecution Against My Father: A year ago, Professor Xiaoxing Xi was arrested by the FBI on bogus charges of treason. The government has since dropped the charges, but has not issued an apology or reparations for legal fees and trauma.

* * *

Meet the Chinese American supporters of Donald Trump: Believe it or not, there are Asians who love Donald Trump. Meet the "Chinese Americans for Trump."

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30 Asian & Asian American Children's Books for ages 0 to 18: Here is a handy list of Asian and Asian American picture books and contemporary fiction for young readers ages 0 to 18.

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Meet Justin Lin, the Most Important Blockbuster Director You've Never Heard Of: Star Trek Beyond will be a chance for Justin Lin, known to many as the director behind the Fast and Furious franchise, to remind people there's more to him than car chases.

* * *

Author Viet Thanh Nguyen Discusses 'The Sympathizer' And His Escape From Vietnam: Nguyen and his family fled their village in South Vietnam in 1975. He won the Pulitzer Prize this year for The Sympathizer, a spy novel set during and just after the war in Vietnam.

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Young Immigrants Can Identify With Mindy Kaling's 'Coconut' Crisis: Recently on The Mindy Project, Dr. Mindy Lahiri decided to embrace her Indian roots, taking her son for a Hindu head-shaving ceremony.

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Q&A with drag sensation Kim Chi: An interview with Kim Chi, a Chicago-based drag queen, model, and artist whose national celebrity status exploded after being a contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race

* * *

Say goodbye to Tim Lincecum in San Francisco with a photo trip down memory lane: Giants fans, it's time to say goodbye. After spending the first nine years of his career with San Francisco, two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum is headed to the Angels.


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5.20.2016

AAWW Publishing Conference '16

Presented by the Asian American Writers' Workshop, Saturday, June 25



Hey writers! The Asian American Writers' Workshop invites you to the AAWW Publishing Conference, a special one-day boot camp for any writer who's ever felt left out and wants to invest in their career. Meet with publishing professionals from Penguin Random House, Catapult, Buzzfeed and more.

It's happening Saturday, June 25 at ISSUE Project Room in Brooklyn. Here are some more details:

Rep. Mark Takai will not seek re-election due to cancer

Hawaii Congressman was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year.



U.S. Rep. Mark Takai has announced that he will not seek a second term in Congress due to health problems.

Takai, who represents Hawaii's 1st district, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year. He had planned to fight the cancer while running for re-election, but recently learned the disease had spread.

US Rep. Mark Takai will not seek re-election due to cancer

"Right now, for the sake of my family, I need to focus on getting better rather than getting re-elected," Takai said in a statement Thursday. "Although I will not be running for re-election, I intend to serve out the remainder of my term in Congress. There is still much work that I am determined to see through for Hawaii and our nation over the next few months."

Angry Reader of the Week: Louis Changchien

"I have the amazing luck of getting paid to act."



Hey, you guyyyyys. You know what's up. Time to meet the Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is Louis Changchien.

Meet the only two guys in Silicon Valley who have nothing to do with technology

Watch the teaser trailer for Tanuj Chopra's indie comedy 'Chee and T'



Check it. Here's the first teaser trailer for writer/director Tanuj Chopra's upcoming indie buddy comedy Chee and T, about "the only two guys in Silicon Valley who have nothing to do with technology."

Chee and T are a pair of underachieving debt collectors under the employ of Uncle Rob, a wealthy landlord-tycoon. Their day spins out of control when they are tasked with the seemingly simple job of getting Uncle Rob's nephew Mayunk a fresh haircut and new suit for his upcoming engagement party. It turns out that handling their hyperactive, drug-crazed little cousin proves to be anything but simple.

Take a look:

Video: Japanese American Internees Read "Letters From Camp" with Muslim Kids

Young Muslim Americans read letters written by incarcerated Japanese American during World War II.



During World War II, the United States government forcibly and unjustly incarcerated more than 120,000 innocent Japanese Americans without due process. Half of them were children.

In this short film by Frank Chi, produced for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, young Muslim Americans read letters written by Japanese Americans while incarcerated in camps during World War II.

Although these two groups are separated by generations, it's a powerful reminder of the parallels -- of prejudice, persecution and perseverance -- between these two communities, and our tenuous relationship with the past, which is constantly on the brink of only a few simple, dark turns from repeating itself.

5.19.2016

Stand Up for Books: 2nd Annual Comedy Night

A Fundraising Event for Eastwind Books of Berkeley - Friday, June 3 at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center



If you're in the Bay Area and up for some laughs for a good cause, Eastwind Books of Berkeley invites you to celebrate its 20th anniversary at Stand Up for Books, a fundraiser showcasing some of the best Asian American comedians from the Bay Area and Los Angeles. There will be food, drinks, raffle tickets and standup comedy featuring Jenny Yang, Dhaya Lakshminarayanan, Andrew Orolfo, and host Irene Tu.

It's happening Friday, June 3 at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. Here are some more details:

Today's Google Doodle is dedicated to Yuri Kochiyama.

Google's homepage honors the legendary activist on her 95th birthday.



In honor of Yuri Kochiyama's 95th birthday on May 19th, the Google homepage has dedicated today's Google Doodle to the legendary late activist, educator and humanitarian, who died in 2014.

The doodle, by artist Alyssa Winans, features an iconic image of Kochiyama at the center of one of many protests and rallies, for numerous social and political movements, over a lifetime in the fight for justice.

Dartmouth community speaks out after popular Asian American professor denied tenure

Aimee Bahng, assistant professor of English, was denied tenure despite unanimous department approval.



At Dartmouth College, the campus community has recently been rocked by the inexplicable denial of tenure for Aimee Bahng, assistant professor of English. Earlier this month, Bahng was denied tenure despite the unanimous approval by the English department's tenure committee.

Campus unrest follows tenure denial of innovative, popular faculty member of color

Bahng has been an Assistant Professor of English at Darthmouth since 2009. Her scholarship connects Asian American literary studies, speculative fiction and finance, technology and post-humanist inquiry. Fellow professors and students say Bahng deserves a permanent position on campus.

They also say Bahng's tenure denial speaks to bigger questions about Dartmouth's commitment to diversity, and is part of a disturbing trend in which department votes for tenure and unanimous recommendations for tenure are overruled by deans or the Committee Advisory to the President.

5.18.2016

How a Ninja Sketch Gets Whitewashed

"The beloved, classic tale of a failing foreign culture saved by a white man."



How does a story about "The Last Ninja" turn into "the beloved, classic tale of a failing foreign culture saved by a white man"? Whitewashing, baby. This "behind the scenes" CollegeHumor sketch is silly as hell, but you have to imagine this is not too far off from how these whitewashing scenarios might actually go down.

Take a look:

Stop the racial profiling of Chinese American scientists

#SCIENTISTSNOTSPIES



On Sunday, 60 Minutes aired a story on physics professor Xiaoxing Xi and hydrologist Sherry Chen -- two of several recent cases involving Chinese American scientists who have been wrongfully prosecuted by the U.S. government with espionage-related crimes -- falsely accused of spying for China.

In each of these cases, American citizens -- Xi and Chen, as well as Guiqing Cao and Shuyu Li -- were widely labeled as spies for China before the government dropped all their charges with no explanation, apology or compensation. Supporters believe they were profiled and targeted because they are Asian American.

#ScientistsNotSpies

This week, advocates across the nation are demanding accountability and transparency from the federal government, urging for a stop to these reckless prosecutions and an investigation into the possible use of racial profiling in the case of Asian American scientists who have been accused of espionage.

The government still hasn't publicly acknowledged any wrongdoing for its recent wrongful prosecutions. The #ScientistsNotSpies campaign is asking for your support sending a message to the Attorney General and Inspector General of the United States to stop possible racial profiling in the Department of Justice.

Here how you can take action:

5.17.2016

A Birthday Celebration & Mural Launch for Yuri & Malcolm

Thursday, May 19 the Manhattanville Community Center



On Thursday evening in New York, in celebration of the birthdays of both Yuri Kochiyama and Malcolm X -- they shared the same birthday, May 19 -- a new mural design dedicated to the two civil rights icons and friends will be revealed for community discussion and dialogue. The family-friendly event will also feature art-making activities and performances.

It's happening Thursday, May 19 at the Manhattanville Community Center. Here are some more details:

John Chiang is running for Governor of California

State Treasurer officially launches campaign for the Golden State's top job.



It's official. John Chiang is running for governor of California. The state treasurer announced Tuesday that he has filed paperwork with the Secretary of State to allow him to raise funds for a gubernatorial run in 2018.

John Chiang jumps into California's 2018 governor's race

"As your next Governor, I have a blueprint for expanding and renewing the California dream through fixing our crumbling infrastructure, making retirement security our generation's call to arms, and rebuilding California's middle class through better jobs and improved educational opportunities," Chiang said.

The announcement wasn't much of a surprise to California's political observers. Chiang has been saying for months that he was "strongly leaning towards running" for governor. Starting today, no more leaning.

Chiang made the announcement on Facebook and Twitter:

Video: Asian Americans on #BlackLivesMatter

New digital series "Jubilee Project: Voices" gathers Asian Americans to answer a single question.



"I may not know the right thing to say politically, but if I had a friend that I cared about and they're hurting, I would want to be there with them." The Jubilee Project's "Voices" series for NBC Asian America gathered a group of Asian Americans -- including myself -- to do some word association on camera. In this latest installment, we offer some thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement.

Take a look:

5.16.2016

Pacific Bridge: Free Outdoor Concert feat. Jhene Aiko

Saturday, May 21 at Los Angeles City Hall



If you're in Los Angeles, and looking for something fun to do this weekend, come out to Pacific Bridge, a free outdoor concert in celebration of Heritage Month. The evening will feature Jhene Aiko, Awkwafina, Tribal Theory, Dumbfoundead, Run River North, Joseph Vincent, and Kevin Oh, and hosted by Jenny Yang.

It's happening Saturday, May 21 in front of Los Angeles City Hall. Here some more details:

Meet Eddie's (fake)(Chinese) girlfriend on 'Fresh Off The Boat'

Episode 223: "The Manchurian Dinner Date" airs Tuesday, May 17, 8:00pm on ABC



ABC's hit Asian American family sitcom Fresh Off The Boat airs Tuesday nights at 8:00pm. The comedy, inspired by the memoir of chef Eddie Huang, tells the story of the Huang family, a Taiwanese American family getting their immigrant hustle on in 1990s suburban Orlando, in pursuit of the American dream. If you missed this season's episodes, they're available for viewing on the ABC website.

Fresh Off The Boat stars Randall Park as Louis, Constance Wu as Jessica, Hudson Yang as Eddie, Forrest Wheeler as Emery, Ian Chen as Evan and Chelsey Crisp as Honey. With special guest assist from Lucille Soong as Grandma Huang. This week, Jessica meets Eddie's girlfriend for the first time.

Here's a preview of episode 223, "The Manchurian Dinner Date":

And now we have #StarringConstanceWu

Inspired by #StarringJohnCho.



By now, you've seen the fun and brilliant #StarringJohnCho social campaign, in which popular and worthy Asian American actor John Cho is cleverly Photoshopped into movie posters and bestowed leading man status in a host of Hollywood movies. Because why not John Cho? The campaign calls out the movie industry's perpetual whiteness, and advances the notion that Asian American actors can indeed be leading men.

And leading women. Because you can't let John Cho have all the fun. Inspired by #StarringJohnCho, some fans have taken the idea a step further with #StarringConstanceWu, similarly re-imagining Hollywood movies starring none other than Constance Wu. She currently shines as Jessica Huang, ruler of everything around me, on ABC's Fresh Off The Boat, and she deserves to topline Hollywood feature films too.

Ain't no harm in imagining. Why not? Here are a few examples of #StarringConstanceWu in action:

Steven Yeun spotted helping out at the scene of a car crash

Yeun and 'Walking Dead' co-star Norman Reedus pull over to help out auto accident victims in Georgia.



He plays a hero on The Walking Dead, and he's apparently a hero in real life. Steven Yeun, who plays Glenn on AMC's hit zombie drama, was recently spotted with co-star Norman Reedus helping victims of a car crash.

Stars from 'The Walking Dead' help accident victims

On Thursday, Yeun and Reedus were apparently riding motorcycles in Peachtree City, Georgia when they witnessed an auto accident and pulled over to help out. A witness snapped a photo of the two actors, who appeared to be trying to help, next to wrecked cars at the site of the crash.

Congressman uses racial slur on TV, blames it on imaginary "guy at the end of the bar"

Rep. Peter King used the term "Jap" on MSNBC, claiming it was "satire."



Former House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) is refusing to apologize for using an anti-Asian racial slur during a recent cable news appearance, defending his remarks as "satire."

Rep. Peter King defends using Japanese slur in describing his anti-Trump views

In an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Friday, King used the term "Japs" while criticizing presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's "uninformed" views on foreign policy, likening the candidate to a hypothetical "guy at the end of the bar."

King highlighted his opposition to Trump's proposal to pull U.S. troops out of Japan and South Korea and instead equip them with nuclear weapons as a deterrent against China and North Korea.

"There's real issues with him, real problems with his views," King said of Trump. "I don't know if he's thought them through, or if it's like the guy at the end of the bar that says, 'Oh screw them, bomb them, kill them, pull out, bring them home. You know, why pay for the Japs, why pay for the Koreans."

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