What started as a film project to chronicle the campaign of California State Treasurer John Chiang as he ran for governor later expanded into a rivetting documentary about the reality of hate-speech and violence aimed at innocent AAPIs, both in the past history of America and in the present-day scapegoating of AAPIs due to the politicization of the COVID pandemic. Public affairs consultant and long-time civil rights advocate Ronald W. Wong, along with his Asian Pacific American Leadership Foundation, have produced "The Race Epidemic: Resurgence of the Yellow Peril," as a clarion call for more AAPIs to speak out and push back against racism and xenophobia aimed at our communities.
First appearing on this pod on 22 October 2019 (#219), actor and now also writer Anu Bhatt recently returned to spotlight "Autocorrect," her debut short film that she conceived and created during the pandemic. Anu's character gradually finds the courage and determination to insist that her director (a white female) pronounce her South Asian name correctly. As you will soon learn, this was truly a case of art imitating life. On the surface, this is simply about asking people to stop mispronouncing non-Western names. But Anu reveals that this act of insistence is actually one example of when people decide that it's time to reclaim 'agency' over their lives for the sake of their own congruency and mental health.
The recent midterm elections officially ended on November 8th and we already know that there wasn't a resounding Red Wave of change as many had predicted. But we also may still not know the final outcomes of Senate races in Arizona and Nevada. The two Kens got back together the day after the midterms to understand why things didn't heavily tilt to the extreme right, as well as to puzzle over what this might mean going forward for Trumpism and the shape of the 2024 presidential contest.
Christopher Huang is a professional photographer who also blogs about how Hollywood handles race, especially as it pertains to Asian Americans. The recent casting of a young Black actor to star as "Ariel" in the upcoming "The Little Mermaid" live-action remake provoked quite a bit of disagreement. That's what led me to Huang's provocative blog on Medium (https://christopherhuang.medium.com/3-dimensional-portrayals-of-women-of-color-but-only-if-they-have-white-male-love-interests-9f06c78491a9?sk=cb91d715ac283b845549d4e149b23bed
I then invited him to give my listeners an abridged experience of how he sees this controversy and Hollywood's still-problematic history of telling white-male-hegemonic stories.
Untold numbers of Americans are celebrating the issuing of a new quarter dollar for the first time that features an American of Asian ancestry, the iconic actor Anna May Wong. Yet how many of us--even those who are Asian American--really know anything about Wong's storied career in Hollywood? Asians in Hollywood film savant Arthur Dong not only recounts the arc of this native Angeleno, but also tells us how we can view standout films from the 100 years of Chinese in Hollywood at the Academy Museum's theater (www.academymuseum.org) throughout the month of November.
To see one of today's AAPI actors exercise agency, check out Anu Bhatt's short film "Autocorrect" either at the Los Angeles Asian Film Awards on Saturday, 11/12 @ 6PM (https://filmfreeway.com/LAAsianFilmAwards/tickets) or the online screening from 11/12-15 (www.poweroffilm.xyz)