Power Rangers Brings Asian American Poverty Front and Center

By the time the Power Rangers craze first swept through in the early ’90s, I was just starting college, paying $290 a month in rent for a studio apartment in the Whittier neighborhood of South Minneapolis with a bed that pulled down from a wall, going to see Hong Kong flicks like Swordsman II and The Bride with White Hair Fridays at midnight, organized by Asia Media Access. I was still into nerd shit, but honestly the Power Rangers seemed, to me, corny and commercial. I thought it was funny that the Black Ranger was Black, the Yellow was a Vietnamese woman, and the Pink Ranger was a white woman.

My love of all things nerd grew in Phillips: Minnesota’s largest, poorest, and most racially diverse neighborhood, not all that far from my college apartment. As refugees from war with not a lot of money to spare, I learned to walk to the Franklin Avenue library where reading and checking out books was free. Comic books were less than a dollar, and watching television shows like Robotech and Dungeons and Dragons just meant having the discipline to wake up in time. I had friends of all colors and genders and backgrounds, and bullies of all colors and backgrounds. Things were difficult for us since my family were among that first wave of refugees that became the first large visible concentration of Asian American people in Minnesota. But there was also joy, and love, and friendship to go along with all the pain and conflict.

Flash forward to 2017.

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Announcing New Frontiers Anthology Inspired by the Life of George Takei

The team behind the groundbreaking Asian American superhero anthologies Secret Identities and Shattered, in partnership with the Japanese American National Museum, have issued a Call for Submissions for New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Takei, an original graphic novel anthology that will serve as a companion volume to JANM’s historic exhibition of the same name (running through August 2017), which showcases Takei’s life and the cultural landscapes through which he has traveled. The anthology’s target publication date is July 2017.

Diverse creators with stories to share that speak to the themes and issues Takei has confronted in his life are encouraged to pitch them at the Submissions Form located at here before the pitch deadline of April 24, 2017. Relevant issues include, but are not limited to: unlawful incarceration, status as an “illegal” alien and the push for LGBTQ equality and civil rights for all, yellowface, whitewashing, media stereotypes, and the rise of digital culture and social media.

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The Only Whitewashing T-shirt You’ll Ever Need to Make a Statement

With the ever-growing list of whitewashed and white savior films and television series — including the recent release of the live-action anime film Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi — it’s no wonder many people are upset. However, a comedy troupe from UCB Los Angeles called Asian AF has decided a smart way to shed light on the whitewashing problem.

They created a shirt using just four words.

Scarlett. Emma. Tilda. Matt.

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One-on-One with Into the Badlands’ Daniel Wu

AMC’s Into the Badlands is in their second season and are going strong with their viewership, storyline, and martial arts. Unlike other series that attempts the martial arts genre, Into the Badlands’ stellar moves can be attributed to executive producer, and star of the series, Daniel Wu.

The Nerds of Color got a chance to sit down and chat with the actor about the second season and what makes the show so appealing to audiences.

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Journey Into the Badlands with Co-Creator Al Gough

In the first part of a special podcast crossover with DC TV Classics, Keith chats with Into the Badlands co-creator Al Gough. They talk about Al’s start in Hollywood with his writing and producing partner Miles Millar; working with Hong Kong cinema legends like Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Michelle Yeoh, and Daniel Wu; how difficult it is to accurately portray kung fu on broadcast television; and the importance of representation and why the onus is on producers and directors to find and cast diverse talent.

Subscribe to DC TV Classics or download part two of this interview here.

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The Iron Fist That Almost Was: One-on-One with Steven Maeda

It’s been nearly two weeks since Iron Fist debuted all 13 episodes of its initial season on Netflix. Prior to its release, the first half of the season previewed for critics received a drubbing the likes of which is unheard of for a Marvel/Netflix property. I’ve since watched the whole season, and yeah, it wasn’t good. Setting aside my issues with the casting of the lead, Iron Fist suffers from the worst sin of any piece of entertainment: it’s boring! Worse than that, it has absolutely zero point of view. I still don’t know what Scott Buck is trying to say with this show. To that end, I wrote a post about different Asian American showrunners who could have brought a unique perspective to the Iron Fist story that the current show lacks. In response to my article on twitter, one of those writers, Steven Maeda, even revealed he actually pitched an Iron Fist concept to Marvel!

I reached out to the former X-Files and Lost writer to get the skinny on what happened to his pitch to Marvel.

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Iron and Rage with John Brougher

Last week, we hosted a special live-streamed edition of Hard NOC Life with filmmaker John Brougher about his new short film Iron and Rage. John talks about his inspiration for creating his own #AAIronFist and why representation of Asian American humanity on screen is so important.

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Fans Sound Off on Into the Badlands Couple Sunny and Veil

Originally posted at Just Add Color

Into the Badlands is coming into its second season March 19, and even though we’re psyched about the level of action and and suspense, we’re also focused on the family aspect of the show, which is worrying about how Sunny’s going to get back to his family, Veil and their newborn baby.

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The Frustrating Aftermath of #AAIronFist

We are rapidly approaching the release of Iron Fist, the fourth Marvel series on Netflix, and reviews have been less than kind. When the show announced it had a (non-Asian American) showrunner, NOC re-introduced the hashtag #AAIronFist. It was an attempt to get Marvel to acknowledge that Iron Fist is a character whose origins are Asian, and should be played by a person of Asian descent, to increase representation in media.

For my part, I wrote an opinion piece about why we need an #AAIronFist. I submitted that being Asian, or even half-Asian, would give Danny Rand a depth to his character that we hadn’t seen before. The “stranger in a strange land” trope where the white man is the foreigner has been done to death, and is vaguely insulting. An 8-year old orphan comes to magical Asian land and becomes the ultimate martial artist? That right there is the definition of the white savior.

Why would my approach have been more interesting? Let me educate you on what it’s like to be an outsider.

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