This was supposed to be a different kind of article.
Two weeks ago, The Nerds of Color youth correspondents and their parental units were invited to attend the premiere screening party for Disney Jr.’s landmark new animated series, Mira Royal Detective (premiering on Disney Jr. today in the United States and India) and interview the cast of voice actors from the South Asian diaspora on the red (or rather blue) carpet at Disney’s Burbank studios. It was a celebration of diversity and community, of difference and commonality, full of music and laughter, of children of all colors and artists and craftspeople from all parts of Hollywood joining together to marvel that this milestone of representation was finally on-screen.
Continue reading “‘Mira, Royal Detective’ and Celebrating Diversity and Community in the Time of Social Distancing”
As a multiracial Asian American parent raising multiracial Asian American daughters in a media landscape much different from the one in which I grew up, I often think about how the images and role models, both fictional and real, to which they have access may shape their imaginations, aspirations, and ideas of what is possible. The decades-long discourse around diversity, and the lack thereof, in children’s literature and media, often starts with the idea of the importance of mirrors in which children can see themselves, their worlds, and their life experiences reflected back to them, especially in the form of textual and multimedia representations both performed and created by people like them. But more and more, as my children get older and become able to both converse with texts as fans and critics and become creators and producers of texts in their own right, I find myself thinking about the need to go beyond reflective mirrors or even windows through which different possibilities may be glimpsed. We need doorways through which we can step to create new realities. This may seem a slight distinction, but it’s one whose importance I’m learning from my children day by day.
Continue reading “On Mirrors, Doorways, and ‘Abominable’ Snowmen”
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.
Continue reading “‘Andi Mack,’ Children’s Television, and a Future in Full Color”
What if, instead of humans not believing in Bigfoot or the Abominable Snowman, it was the other way around? That’s the surface premise of Warner Brothers Animation’s Smallfoot, opening September 28, and if the humor inherent in that flip-the-script premise, plus amazing computer animation, a star-studded voice cast, and a bunch of songs by Broadway veterans, weren’t enough to make this the rare family film that family members of all ages can actually enjoy together, it gets a little deep, too.
Continue reading “‘Smallfoot’ Layers Fun with Deep Thoughts; Common, Gina Rodriguez Talk Art and Activism”
As a geek parent, I, for the most part, have been unsuccessful in passing on my enthusiasms to my teen and tween daughters. Sure, my eldest is now a confirmed Potterhead, but only years after her mother and I bequeathed her our books, which she refused to read because they were ours. She discovered and fell in love with Stranger Things on her own, too, which I guess is what works with her — if we’d told her to watch it, maybe she wouldn’t have listened. Her younger sister is a bit more open to my suggestions, and loves anything with magic and the fantastic, and she happily displays my gifts of Pop! figures of strong female characters on her shelf. However, she scares very, very easily, so attempts to watch Star Wars movies, for example, are interrupted by frequents runs out of the room or outright refusals, no matter how much likes likes the characters.
Continue reading “‘Teen Titans GO! To the Movies’ is Fun for Kids and Their Grown-ups”
Amongst my friends and family, it is no secret that the only holiday I care about is Halloween. No, it isn’t just because the candy is free and flowing — although this is a huge bonus. What I love the most about he holiday is that there is this unbridled demonstration of ingenuity, creativity, and imagination. People get to step a little outside of their mundane lives and step into the realm of the fantastic.
Another thing I love are the costumes. I don’t think I’m alone in this, especially amongst my fellow NOC. While many of us were too busy to dress up, we made sure that our children did.
I would like to present to you the NOC Parade of Costumes: Our Children’s Addition.
Continue reading “An N.O.C. Halloween: Our Children’s Edition”
Two years ago, comics writer and filmmaker (and familiar name to NOC readers) Greg Pak, known for his work on several Hulk and X-Men titles, including the current Storm book, and his current runs on Action Comics, Batman/Superman, and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, among others (like Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology), was raising funds on Kickstarter for a graphic novel based on beloved geek culture singer/songwriter Jonathan Coulton‘s Code Monkey character. As a reward for meeting a stretch goal, Pak and his collaborators promised an original children’s book based on Coulton’s popular twist on children’s fairytales, “The Princess Who Saved Herself.”
Continue reading “Kickstart This: The Princess Who Saved Herself“
I’m sure that by now you’ve seen the video in which young Jathan Muhar answers the perennial graduation-time question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with an answer to warm any NOC’s heart. He wanted to be Batman. [Ed. note: I guess kindergarteners are a superstitious, cowardly lot. Also, somebody should warn the kid’s parents to never walk down any dark alleys at night. Just sayin’.]
In one short day, it’s been everywhere from Break.com to Gawker to The Huffington Post to the Facebook page of the Ellen DeGeneres Show. But I saw it before it went viral — I saw it live because my 5-year-old daughter was a classmate of his, graduating with him this past Wednesday.
Continue reading “My Daughter’s Preschool Class Sang “Let It Go””
In 2008, a character with a two-syllable name captivated a then 4 year-old NOC-in-training as she watched a movie about a fish-girl, magic, friendship, and bringing balance to the world. Many would guess that I’m describing The Little Mermaid, or even the early stages of Avatar or The Legend of Korra. All are fair assessments, but in this case we are referring to the eighth film from the amazing Studio Ghibli: Ponyo.
Now, I have written before about my introduction to anime while growing up in Peru, but it is my brother Diego that is the expert in our family. I remember him saying that I had to watch Princess Mononoke and Spirited Way, but I never got around it. And it wasn’t until one day he came to our house determined to introduce me and his niece to the world of Miyazaki.
Continue reading “Ponyo’s Magic Realism”
I took my 9- and 5-year-old daughters to see The LEGO Movie on the second day it was out, and all three of us loved it. It is a true family film, one that can be enjoyed by different age groups at different levels — kids will love the humor, the action, that song they won’t stop singing once they get home, and, hey, it’s LEGO, while their parents will appreciate all the references to the kits and playsets of their childhoods, the inside jokes (ones that stick in my mind include the bearded fantasy wizard confusion, needy Green Lantern, Morgan Freeman and Liam Neeson playing parodies of their archetypal screen personas, and, of course, Batman and his song), and the amazingly detailed art and animation. It is also more subversive and heartwarming than you’d expect an hour-and-a-half-long corporate toy commercial could ever be.
Continue reading “The LEGO Movie’s Lessons for Raising NOCs-In-Training”
In honor of The Nerds of Color’s first Halloween, this week’s School of Hard NOCs features our own little NOCs in Training in Halloween costumes past and present. We’ll forgo any identifying information to protect the innocent (inasmuch as we can do so while acknowledging that we are both dressing our children in geeky costumes and posting their pictures in said costumes online), but astute readers can probably figure out which younglings belong to which NOC.
To whet your appetite, we wanted share our favorite Halloween-themed commercial that proves the old adage that the NOC family that dresses in themed costumes and trick-or-treats together stays awesome together; click on the “more” link below that to see our own kids (both human and non-) in costume. From our families to yours, Happy Halloween!
Continue reading “Dressing Our NOCs-in-Training on Halloween”