Mixed Asian Media (MAM), formerly known as Hapa Mag, have announced their inaugural festival to celebrate mixed Asian and Pacific Islanders and their creative art forms — including film, theatre, art, dance, and many more! Partnering with Leviathan Lab and CRUX XR, the virtual celebration will take place on the platform Bizzabo.
Last month, the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore hosted our own Keith Chow in conversation with New York Times bestselling author Kevin Kwan as part of their “Writer’s Live” series. Because they spent a portion of their talk discussing Kevin’s childhood in Texas, we are presenting that conversation in its entirety for Southern Fried Asian!
Hollywood, a new miniseries created and executive produced by Ryan Murphy, will be coming to Netflix this Friday. Audiences will both travel back in time to the 1940s and explore an alternative universe where a group of aspiring actors and filmmakers — who’re female, people of color, and/or LGBTQ — break into the business and dismantle the boundaries against them in the process.
OK, let’s get one thing outta the way first: yes, Jason Momoa is gorgeous as Aquaman. He’s dripping water and shirtless, pecks heaving in the first 10 minutes of the movie when he saves a submarine. The meme was true: we get a sopping wet Jason Momoa and it’s everything fans could have wanted. Praise be to director James Wan who realized that women, gay men, and people who appreciate the male form pay to see superhero movies. The shots of Momoa seem to be crafted with the female gaze in mind. (Seriously, he is shirtless a lot and it is a gift to humankind.)
A lot of people of color of my generation who are passionate about diversity and representation in the media tend to point to the media we consumed as children as the reason why — to the absences, omissions, and misrepresentations, and to the token presences we latched onto like lifelines. Today, our childhood experiences are ever-present motivators in our lives as fans, consumers, and creators in our own right, trying to redress past wrongs by ensuring the existence of the mirrors, windows, and doorways we were denied years before.
As a father watching contemporary media aimed at kids, tweens, and teens with my own tween and teen daughters, I’m slowly getting the hopeful feeling that their future will be different — or, if it isn’t, there will be hell to pay. That’s not to say that there isn’t vast room for improvement — we haven’t solved it, not by a long shot — but the energy, the diversity, the mere and sheer presence in the media world with which my children interact and which they take for granted as normal is so far from what we grew up with, and so close to what we wish the media landscape at large looked like, that I can’t help but be a little optimistic.
Leaving the theater for Crazy Rich Asians, I couldn’t help but feel like all the articles and podcasts and panel discussions had somehow culminated in this one movie. I feel like I’ve been screaming from the rooftops for something just like this. Why did it have to take 25 years for this kind of major studio-backed all-Asian movie? In absolute truth, it’s not just good for an “Asian” film. It’s just plain good. And it is exactly what we needed.
Depending on where you stake your claim on the internet, there has been a lot of chatter about a movie that tanked at the box office1 and another one that isn’t due in theaters for at least another year. The thing that links these seemingly disparate films is that both thought casting white women as characters who are written as Asian American and Pacific Islander was a good idea.
Last night, the director of one of those films — Cameron Crowe — finally broke his silence and offered this explanation for why he cast Emma Stone (Amazing Spider-Man) as a character called Allison Ng:
It seems that Spock and his mixed-species brethren and sistren haven’t served as multiracial muses only to me and fellow NOCClaire. Even during the last year of its original television run, just a year after the landmark Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court case legalized all interracial marriage across the United States, Vulcan/human hybrid Spock spoke so much to a biracial black/white teenager in Los Angeles that she wrote to him, via a teen magazine, for advice, so moving that actor Leonard Nimoy wrote her back with a message of self-acceptance.
With Star Trek Week on The Nerds of Color coming to an end after an amazing week of posts both celebratory, critical, and somewhere in between, I wanted to introduce you to two artists of multiracial heritage who use Spock as a way to explore mixed-race identity in their work.