Clubhouse - Mixed Asians in Media - Transcript
Masami: [00:00:00] Welcome back to our strong Asian Lead clubhouse recordings. Thank you so much for tuning into this, the very play on our conversation and we had a wonderful conversation about mixed Asians in media. So let me ask you, when’s the last time you thought about mixed Asian folks?
Multiracial is sometimes we have other cultures, but we never see a ton of mixed Asians or the conversation around it within the media and film industry. And so we get into the conversation pretty deep and show us examples that of other TV shows movies and screeners, even some historical cinema that I’ve never heard of before.
I thought that was really interesting to find the one movie I did and mention in the, in, during the clubhouse today, I said red Crimson is actually the Crimson kimono, which is I think in 1956 movie and a great movie about just an Asian man in a white woman. Like the conversation around mixed [00:01:00] Asian identities also includes like parents.
And so how relationships start like that. So I think that’s a conversation. I hear a lot but I don’t think this conversation was very inspiring for myself for others in that room. It also became the thing that most, a lot, I think three people have said I’ve never had this long of a conversation with this many mixed Asian people in a room before.
And I. I don’t know that got to me too. I don’t talk about that much and it’s very little and then, but there’s so much to be talked about within this community because it’s a growing demographic and we want to be also just connected with other communities who were also mixed and that’s a very similar experience.
Yeah, I hope you get to listen to this whole conversation on clubhouse. This is a long three hour conversation that we did have. I don’t expect you to listen to the whole thing the whole time, but, I don’t know if there’s ever been a conversation like this with this many people recorded in an event like for our podcast or something.
[00:02:00] So I don’t know, you’d want to listen to it. It’s been a, it was a really enlightening one. A lot of people didn’t stay in the audience for three hours too, which was really cool. Yeah, no, I hope to also make these clubhouses on Saturdays. At maybe 3:00 PM, so definitely tuned in for that. Cause I think those are better days that we have a little more time off.
And it’s not, so I dunno, you can just drop in and drop out. You don’t have to stay very long, but you’re not at work or trying to do that. And it’s hard to, it’s easy for me. It’s been hard to stop work and do clubhouse, but I enjoy the clubhouse, but it also becomes like it’s been exhausting week.
I’ll say that, but either way, I really had a great time with this conversation, this group and these panels. So we have. We’ve got a whole lot of people on this panel. We have Tony G reus Alex Chester, Lauren, Lola, Ryan Alexander homes, Jenny Lee Gilmore, Rachel Michiko, Whitney, Naomi Sedgwick. And so Mahoney.
These are all most of them are friends of mine that I’ve met before and other had other conversations. And Tony is a new friend now and Naomi, I just met today too, but [00:03:00] all these creators have been doing amazing work a lot. So since I know a few of them with their backgrounds are, and a lot of people have done been on amazing sets.
And so please check them all out. I will have them in the, our Instagrams that you have to check them, you can follow them. They will all be tagged in our clubhouse post. And yeah, I don’t think we did a lot of intro. Everybody’s pretty humble about what they’re doing and really, we just wanted to have the conversation rather than, trying to sell each other in a, this is what I’m doing.
This was not a conversation about who knows the most who can help you do what it was. Just want to be a conversation about the media and just talk about it because this conversation just never gets had, I don’t talk about it very much and come to think of it. I have a lot of mixed race friends and mixed Asian folks that are, around my life.
So I think this was a fantastic conversation and into talking about with the media and we learned a lot of things about each other and a lot about things about the media as well. And so I hope that you get to listen to the conversation for a good hour or so at least, and just [00:04:00] hear what, hear us out a little bit and yeah, and tune into another conversation.
Other times we will have, we’ll get back to this conversation, but it’s going to be awhile. Cause I think we really want to talk about other things as well. This is, one-offs and we go one at a time now that we’ll get to record them, we don’t have to keep doing it. That’s the best thing.
So we will have new conversations every week. We want to make sure that. Everybody gets represented. And then we can talk about different things. We’ve got a couple of comments today that, this week it was about, we want, I keep to, I want to do diversity within the Asian diaspora.
Cause that’s a really big conversation of how many different stories there are, but we also need conversations around the, behind the scenes and people who are working things that we don’t talk about. So now you’re hearing that in here later today, we talk about producers and directors, actors, and writers.
Those are the people who really make stories and are on the show and they’re front lines and they get to go on the red carpets. There are some people who do all the work behind this whole crew of people, hundreds of people will be on a film set. They really don’t get the spotlight at [00:05:00] all.
And so we will be doing more conversations around the diversity of filmmaking because there is actually isn’t, I don’t even know about a lot of podcasts that do that either. We w we have friends who are hair and makeup and casting, and everything in between even I’ve done art deck and prop master.
That’s a lot, it’s a lot of fun. But you also know no one knows about those jobs and what they do and what they do day to day that everybody has a part to play. And, that’s why I think the film industry is also a really great industry to get to, because you can start in any department. And I think that’s really cool.
You just, but it’s really good to learn about different things. So we will also be doing diversity within filmmaking, but yeah, we’re going to do these also on
drop it. These are casual conversations and thought provoking, not something we should be D it’s not business. It’s just, we want to have the conversation. So yeah. We’ve been doing, trying to do Wednesdays, and I think that’s just busy for me and busy for everybody else. And, that’s a things Austin today, do you on a [00:06:00] Wednesday?
And so we will do on Saturdays now. I might even start this week cause I think that’s a good time to do it. So joining us on a conversation we will, I don’t know is that our day will be, but we will find something maybe. Yeah. Actually I think we have a T a S tomorrow, you put out a, another drop, another podcast, a little mini episode about 15 minutes, don’t be a jerk, that’ll be the episode.
And I think I had three or four people that did that it on Twitter. There’ll be a jerk. That’s the biggest thing. So I’m gonna have a quick conversation. Maybe that will be Saturday’s conversation. I will also say my audio is really terrible in this episode. So I apologize next, I’ll be easier, closer to my phone or on, on this real mic.
Cause we have, are we just having bugged with the recording program? So we’ll get there. And with that being said, here’s our clubhouse conversations on mixed Asians in me. So much for joining our club room today or talking about mixed Asians and media, and this is a recorded event. So if my recording program works this time, which it looks like it is we will have this replay on our [00:07:00] podcast for strong Asian lead.
You can share it around and do in conversations. Interesting. Interesting to you, please feel free to, to just refer back to it. Let’s start our opening and we will take open Q and A’s later, but for now we’re just going to keep to this panel so that everybody has a nice time to talk about our ideas, our issues, the what it means to be mixed Asians and media and all the nuances that this conversation might have.
Cause I think I don’t know. Oh, and please nobody you invite people up audience that’s, that’ll just be my job. Some of the rules are clubhouse is a little different. I should have explained that earlier too, but my fault. So I’ll take, don’t worry about things. So let’s start with our our opening question today.
Excuse me, one more, one more housekeeping rules. For those who don’t know clubhouse too well, it’s really, it’s helpful for the, those who aren’t cats who are visually impaired to and auditorily a diff hard of hearing to say your name and then say when you’re closing. So if I’m speaking, I’m Tony, this is David speaking.
And then if I’m done speaking, I’m done, I’m [00:08:00] complete pass it over to somebody. Just so that they know you’re done speaking and that’s very helpful for a lot of different reasons. So if you could do that would be great if you forget it happens. But let’s go down the list. We’ll go from Jenny down, back to Soma as well, or we can bounce around.
That’s our opening question today is, I would like you to introduce yourself a bit. What’s your background, what you’re doing. And what’s some of your goals, but then the opening question today is, do you have a favorite mixed Asian or multiracial relationship movie TV series that you would like to, people to check out and something that you’re like that really made me feel seen or something that you just want to, that’s something to point out.
Cause I feel like I don’t see, I don’t always recognize which ones are, and I don’t think I’ve seen any lists. But I would love to see here what everybody else’s favorites are. Jenny, do you have a tussle about yourself and do you have a favorite movie or show? Yes.
Jenny Lee-Gilmore: I’m before I do introduce myself, I just want to, I think one of our other panelists, [00:09:00] Tony is stuck in the
Masami: that’s who that was.
I was like, he had no I see what’s going on. Okay. Moving report. How do I register? Cause he has no, he had no profile. No bio, nothing. I was like, who is this person? Thanks, Jenny. Thank you, Danny. I was like,
Tony Giroux: I’m new to clubhouse and I was trying to figure out what was going on. And then I got kicked out.
I’m like a kick.
Masami: I know. Thank you. I was like tendons in your foot or anything. So my bad, how are you doing? How you doing Tony? How’s your day going? So good. Good.
Tony Giroux: But I don’t want to interrupt Jenny, jenny was just about to make an introduction, so go for it and then we’ll get around to chatting.
Masami: Sounds good. Thank you.
Jenny Lee-Gilmore: Hi welcome Tony. I’m glad you made it in there. Hi, I’m Jenny Lee Gilmore. I’m a Vancouver based actor and filmmaker. I graduated film school in 2019, and since then I’ve just been working a lot. I’m currently developing my first series with CBC. So that’s what I’ve been doing today is writing the pilot for that?[00:10:00]
I hope okay. I hope make connections. Okay. I’m not sure if it,
Soma Helmi: oh
Jenny Lee-Gilmore: yeah. I’m I was originally born in England. I moved to Canada when I was 13 and my mom is Chinese Canadian and my dad is English. So that’s my mix. In terms of biracial, multiracial representation that I really growing up didn’t really have someone that I knew was mixed Asian, at least in media.
So like a person I really looked up to was Zendaya because she’s biracial. So I used to watch her a lot growing up and she was also tall, which is like me. So I think I really liked that as well. But I haven’t really watched anything that I felt super seen. I think there’s a new show out on Netflix that I’m really wanting to watch called shadow and bone which has a lead who is a mixed east, Asian, Caucasian.
But apart from that, I don’t really have anything. So any suggestions from anyone here would be great. [00:11:00]
Masami: Good and disheartening. It’s disheartening to hear. Cause it’s also at the same time, you thank you for sharing and bones. I didn’t know that was, I keep forgetting to wash that one too, it’s, that’s a problem with the industry as well, is that there’s, we don’t know what to even think of.
So that’s just a representation of how little is out there that we can recognize. But I think so the injection. Yeah. And I would love to hear more suggestions from people. So let’s move on to the line Alex, introduce yourself and what you’re up to and then what’s do you have a favorite recommend?
Alex Chester: Sure. Hey everyone. My name is Alex Chester. Full name is actually Alexandra AF Chester , but Alex stressor is just easier. I’m an actor and I am also the editor in chief of mixed Asian media, formerly known as Hoppa mag. I’m also the director of mixed Asian media festival, which will be happening this September.
And Lauren Lola. Who’s also on this with me as part of it and strong Asian leaders. One of our sponsors, we’re very excited. [00:12:00] Okay. So my, this is a random TV show and I remember being obsessed with it and it was only two seasons from 2014 and it’s called helix and it’s a Saifai series about immortals and like science and then a disease that’s running and killing everyone and killing a mortals.
But there’s a character Dr. Julia Walker who happens to be half Japanese, but she is played by a white woman, even though her dad in the show. Oh gosh, I’m going to massacre this poor man’s name, just because I’m terrible at, I’m just terrible with words, sometimes hydro Yuki Sonata. So he plays her dad and she has a white mom, but it is, but she is a white lady.
Kira is that Zach Goreski she’s Russian. But that was like a really cool thing to see that there’s a supposedly a. Asian character. Yeah, but I was very disappointed to find [00:13:00] out she was not mixed.
Masami: So yeah. So whitewashing.
Alex Chester: I’m torn and we can get dive deeper into this obviously later, because as half Asians, as actors, we tend to play full Asians many times.
So then but we never get a play for white people. So I’m not sure how to wrap my head around this, but anyways, it’s a really like cheesy, but it was a really fun Saifai show that I really truly enjoyed. And then obviously I have to, I just have to shout out 10, 15. I just loved that.
And the episode where Maya is they’re forcing her to be the scary spice and the spice girls and her having this identity crisis. Oh my God. I cried watching this episode anyways. I’m Alex and I’m done speaking.
Masami: Yeah. That episode in particular is really heartening. It’s oh, that’s how real it’s going again.
That reminds me of my childhood too. Yeah, for sure. Ryan, how are you doing today, dude? It’s it’s really good to have you back.
Ryan Alexander Holmes: I’m glad to be here. Thanks for having me.
Masami: Yeah. So you can just yourself a little [00:14:00] bit. And then now what’s your, some of your
Ryan Alexander Holmes: favorite recommendations or reminding me, because I was about to launch into Ryan Alexander homes.
I am an actor content creator. I make a lot of content that’s focused on identity and along with identity, learn, knowing how to love yourself and realizing that honestly, flipping the script on a lot of things that we’ve been conditioned to think about ourselves as mixed people. And I make it funny because that’s what I want to give to the world.
Also, got to laugh, man. Mental health is important. The way I take care of myself is by laughing a lot. But in terms of. Like who I looked up to tiger woods. I looked up to tiger woods. I know there’s, he’s smeared in controversy now, but he wasn’t. But he was ablasion that I definitely looked up to greatest golfer of all time, hands down and Heinz award hall of fame, football player.
He’s half black, half Korean. So cause I played sports, so [00:15:00] I really looked to a lot of people in sports, but now I’m looking at Naomi Osaka and all the things that she’s done in embracing who she is and both identities fully, because I’m all about that. Being a hunt saying that I’m a hundred percent black and a hundred percent Asian, Chinese and also some of that really touched my heart.
Recently. It was watching Michael Norman, who is an Olympic athlete. He, we share an Alma mater. He ran track at USC and I went there for acting. But I also went to, I also ran track at Berkeley, but they did this one minute piece about him and his family and him growing up and there’s footage of him running track.
And his mom being in the stands with his mom’s Japanese and his dad’s African-American and I called my brother immediately. I was really emotional. Cause I’m like, bro, you gotta watch this. Like I’ve never felt seen like this before, cause I’ve never had that. And I think a lot of us have that experience when we like finally see ourselves [00:16:00] reflected and we’re like, oh, so this is what it feels like.
Like the majority of people who are represented all the time, feel this all the time. But for me to feel that I’m like, man, I have to give that to the world in my own kind of way. And that’s the journey that I’m on barking on and I am done speaking.
Masami: Yeah. Thanks for those recommendations. I feel like I don’t know enough in sports for sure.
I’m not a sports person. I don’t, we don’t see, when you find yourself in somebody else. I think that’s really, I don’t know. It feels like it’s coming home. You like family? I
Ryan Alexander Holmes: would also say that the TV show Dave has this was budding romance between two characters, ELLs, and Emma is Asian and Ellis’ is African-American and they don’t make a big deal about it.
It’s just two people that like are interested in each other and dating each other and getting to know each other.
Masami: So I’d recommend that. [00:17:00] Oh, that’s a great, that’s a great suggestion. This, I don’t, I’m caught up on it, so maybe I’m missing something, but that’s a really great intro to that before I move on.
Who were the, who was the track player and the football player again? All right.
Ryan Alexander Holmes: Hines ward. He actually retired several years ago. But he’s Korean and black and Michael Norman, who just finished his first Olympics representing the U S but he’s Japanese and African-Americans
Masami: nice. Thank you all at all.
But those that are shown us and keeping, keep an eye out then do. Yeah. Thank you, Ryan and Naomi. Yeah. How are you want to introduce yourself to the audience and everybody, and tell us what maybe your favorite recommendation might be.
Naomi Sedgwick: Yeah. So my name is Naomi. I am a writer and producer. I’ve mostly been focused on producing professionally.
But writing has been something that I’ve always been passionate about. And I think for me, it is wanting to see some more [00:18:00] representation in media. And so just like wanting to take it upon myself to, write those stories. I think one of the. Questions that you’re asking around what are my favorite shows with mixed people is I just don’t have them I don’t know if there’s been a show that I’ve seen yet where I feel super seen or like really identify with, I think for me that there’s been actors that I’ve seen on screen that I think I, love growing up, I love Vanessa Hudgens and thought that was so cool this year in high school musical Kimiko Glenn in orange is the new black, but none of these, shows that I love that maybe have a hop a person in them don’t really go explore like what it means.
And so I think for me I would love to see some more representation and and media around hopper stories. But if you guys have any recommendations, I am definitely open to them. I just, there hasn’t been a ton of shows that I’ve seen. But yeah, I think that’s all I have to say for now.
I’m [00:19:00] sure we’ll go into depth around all of
Masami: this. Yeah. Thank you. I think that’s a, there definitely is not enough shows. That’s the one. Sure. And then even if they are mixed or biracial Nakeds is never played on. It’s always the, there was always playing someone who’s supposed to be, of a full, I don’t hate using full.
I don’t want to use cure, cause it just doesn’t sound right. What does that w who can we see even people who just are even playing cross ethnic identities who aren’t even themselves. And then I think everything too, if anybody has any recommendations, it’s not to say just for those who are mixed.
I think that’s one half of this conversation that we want to have today, but also mixed relationships too. I have some recommendations that I can think of off the top of my head better. No Mo multi-racial relationships. And I think that they have been, they have mixed kids, but, and then you are, all of our parents are multiracial, so different.
So I think that’s the other half of this [00:20:00] conversation as well. So we’ll keep them in mind as we go forward to Lauren. So Howard wanted to introduce yourself to the audience today and share your favorite TV show or movie that’s that, that have these topics.
Lauren Lola: Yeah, sure. Hi everyone. My name is Lauren Lola.
I’m echoing Alex from earlier. I am a writer for mixed nation media, formerly known as Hoppa mag. And I’m also the director of programming for mixed Asian media first, which is happening next month. Outside of that, I am an author blogger, playwright and screenwriter, as far as favorite mix station media representation goes, I had to think about this quite a bit.
And one that comes to mind for me is seeing Keanu Reeves in the matrix. I had never seen the matrix until two years ago. And when I saw it, I’m like, where’s this been my whole life. This movie is brilliant. Is conceptually fascinating. Even though his mixed race background doesn’t [00:21:00] really play a role in the film.
I’m not even sure of his character is supposed to be mixed, to be honest just seeing him in it and seeing how cool the film is. I just, I did that. But the reason why I was having trouble, thinking up an idea for this topic is that, I haven’t really seen, characters like me in the media, even though there have been mixed Asians and there have been some mixed Filipinos in the media, there hasn’t been a ton.
Usually it’s either one or the other. If there is a Filipino person on screen, it’s mainly from a very, just Filipino POV. There just, haven’t been a ton of stories told from someone who is mixed Filipino American. As someone who grew up, not really having a connection to my Filipino side, it’s just something that I would like to see going forward.
And hopefully I can contribute in some way to that. But that’s about it for now
Masami: exploring. Yeah, I think that’s how, I just, we don’t see enough of these [00:22:00] stories. I think that’s the underlying common denominator here is that we’re so looking for them where we see people who have full roles, but not just not the storylines or, it’s not a part of it.
It’s very know. It’s very interesting and we’ll get to going deeper. Cause I feel like there’s a lot to unpack here as well. We can pass it off to Rachel, how are you and want to introduce yourself, tell us what your, what you were working on some of your background and do you have any recommendations on TV?
So the show,
Rachel Michiko Whitney: yes. Hello, my name is Rachel Michiko Whitney. I’m an actor writer and producer based in Los Angeles. So I’m actually two of the projects that I’m working on right now are mixed Asian stories. One is a true story, about a half Japanese American gangster, and it’s based on a book called break shot.
And the other is a project that I’m developing with Naomi called 100%, half. And that’s based on our personal experiences being mixed Asian in LA.[00:23:00] And then is my signal still. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. And then in terms of mixed Asian characters relationships, I do remember the first time that I saw myself or that I so like deeply connected with someone on screen was at Sundance a few years ago, it was for a film called love songs.
The director is a Korean American woman and she and her husband co-wrote the film. And they tasked their two young daughters in it. They were probably like three and six or so, or I don’t know there, they were young though. And at the end of the film, I just, I had this very intense, visceral experience where I just started sobbing and I realized it was because it was the first time that I’d ever like, felt like I saw myself as a young child on screen.
And I think up until that point, like in my brain, I knew that [00:24:00] mixed Asian representation was important, but that really solidified like how important it is when it’s, this emotional experience takes over. And yeah, I just I didn’t even know where it came from, but yeah. And it’s a great movie.
But that was the first time that I really like felt seen. And I’m
Masami: done. Thank you. That what that was called love song, could you move with the director
Rachel Michiko Whitney: or somebody? Yes. Love song. I
Naomi Sedgwick: believe it’s so young.
Rachel Michiko Whitney: Kim, let me look.
Masami: Yeah, I’m just going to write it in our notes so we can check for it later and stuff like that.
So we can send it to me later. Follow up with that. No, I think that’s that’s so good that people have like an, a most emotional reaction to seeing themselves or seeing a story that I think that’s what media is really. Therefore it evoke these emotions that resonate with us more than just surface level of entertainment, but [00:25:00] understanding that we see ourselves.
And so seeing movies like these, even if it’s just mixed Asian inside of, in your specific specific identity that becomes it’s all. We’re our own demographic of people, right? Where we have our own we have our own similarities within an X culture, and I think that’s a beautiful thing to see that other people are, you resonate with that and hear that you’re working on another, on projects with Naomi as well, the kind of percent, half I’m stoked to watch something like that.
I think that’s would love to see what that turns out to be. So thank you for your work. Soma. Good to have you back in here and you want to introduce yourself to other people and tell us what you’re working on or your crowdfunding. And then if you have any, your favorite stories you want to share.
Soma Helmi: Yeah. Hi David. Hi everybody. I’m Salma. I am a director and writer I’m originally from Bali. So a couple of things one of my features script is actually in the mixed Asian media lab [00:26:00] next month, which I’m super excited about. So thank you. I wrote that with another mix Indonesian writer who is here in LA Sam.
And in terms of shows, I think I talked to you about this David on your podcast. And Jenny, you mentioned it shadow and bone was actually to me, just a really beautiful way to portray this. I know that the original character from the book was not a mixed character and yet they made a conscious decision to make her mixed in the show.
And there’s this scene where she Alaina is presented before the king and queen and the queen leans forward and looks at her and says, what are you? And it was such a visceral, like gut punch moment for me to see that on screen and to see it represented so correctly and her face falling. And she couldn’t answer the question cause I’ve been in that situation [00:27:00] so many times where people have literally asked me, what are you?
And to me that was just like such a game-changing moment for television, especially for a fantasy, I’m a huge fantasy and sci-fi nerd. And it was an incredible moment for me to see that on a mainstream screen. And yeah, I’m right now, actually in a crowdfunding that David mentioned, I’m crowdfunding for an all AAPI cast, a short film for proof of concept.
It’s a romantic Saifai. So yeah, that’s a little crazy right now. And that’s what I’m busy trying to get up off the ground. So I’m Soma, I’m done speaking.
Masami: Wow. I really need to watch the shadow on bone because people keep telling me about it and I really need to stop watching anything else and just turn it on.
Maybe that’s the thing I’ll watch tonight. So Mason, you have for that recommendation and I think you get that that question what are you? I don’t get that one too much. It’s just like, where are you really from Silva that March. But I remember this one [00:28:00] time I was I was at my first job at Houzz Hollister and my mom took me out one white mom took me shopping.
And she’s you adopted, I’m like, I don’t know if anybody else gets that too, but that’s always as microaggressions that we just hate. Okay. I feel that Tony, it’s good to have you. So as I kicked you off the stage, so good. So you want to intro, introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about your background and yeah.
If you have any recommendations on movies and shows. Sure.
Tony Giroux: So my name’s Tony for Zoe, I’m pumped to be here, in Sonia. Have a conversation, I think with that gap in the media and with other people, who are mixed race, it’s such an honor to take part. Cause I feel like, we don’t really have, or it’s hard to find people of similar heritage to have that conversation in the industry.
I mean for myself, I was born and raised in France, in a smaller town in the Alps. And so like representation even like just like Asian representation [00:29:00] was like unheard of or where I grew up. And so I never really, I think I always felt othered, but never was able to put like quite put my finger on it.
But early on, I remember actually relating a lot to Keanu Reeves. So Lauren I’m with you. But cause one of the films that I really loved of his was the replacements. I think he came out in like late nineties or early two thousands, but he plays it. It’s a football film and and I really wanted to play football, but there wasn’t any teams in my town and I just fell in love with the film and the character.
And even as I was listening to everybody talk, I think it was interesting how, back then, I think county Reese kind of is a pioneer in terms of, the ethnically ambiguous lead. And then now that we’re starting to scratch the surface with having some mixed Asian talent on [00:30:00] screen I do find that yeah, our story’s never been expanded and, or, really dive into that I think I always felt I mean with cannery specifically, I always felt like I associate, I associated myself with this.
Yeah. This kind of like mixed race guy. But also being Invega Bon, because we never really dive into where he’s from or why he looks the way he looks or, childhood experiences of the character, even in the matrix, which actually I just rewatched a couple of weeks ago. Fantastic film and it’s, but it’s interesting how the, that they picked an ethnically ambiguous person to represent the one to represent someone who kind of transcends the system.
And in a lot of ways, as I’ve come into my identity of being mixed race, I think we do represent this bridge, for society of all these differences that are leading to a lot of arguments within [00:31:00] society, but, differences and like different movements, I think, mixed race people embody those differences and like we have no choice, but to be of different cultures as opposed to, being from a distance.
So yeah. These are just yeah, some of my thoughts and I guess my first first film that came to mind was was that yeah. County Reeves and in in
Masami: replacements and also in hard ball. Cause I played bass, I also played baseball.
Tony Giroux: And so if anybody’s seen it and in both of those films, he’s in a relationship with a white woman, but I guess cannery is actually has been with a lot of white women in speed as well.
Masami: Yeah, it’s probably like the industry right. Where it should is yeah. Who are they going to hurting in hires of romantic, counterpart, it’s always the question that add somebody in there. Yeah, no, I think that’s a really good point. I actually haven’t seen the replacements or our hype ourselves to which if those out counter routes, I don’t think I’ve seen his whole collection yet.
Yeah, thank you everybody for sharing those recommendations.[00:32:00] All of you introduce myself and what we’re doing, but yeah, my name is David Musselman, Maria I’m mixed race, Japanese American and Caucasian, a quarter German quarter mixed European. For 25 years I thought it was a white man.
I grew up my, my my part of the family with Christmas said, my mother’s family. My dad wouldn’t really let us he didn’t know his Japanese side. He, I’m fifth generation. So our we’ve been here. Our family’s been here in the United States since the late 18 hundreds after world war two, the Japanese American community was putting the camps, but also it was like a force system relation into American culture.
So leaving a lot of Japanese culture behind. So I never grew up with any festivals or culture in that way. It was always growing up in suburbs of California with almost non-ethnic would be diverse neighborhood. They just definitely wasn’t a lot of Asians in the area. That was, it was, that was new to me and I didn’t, I, one year I went to diamond bar high school just as for a summer.[00:33:00]
And he, that was the most time I’ve ever seen any so many Asians, but I felt so not a part of the group because it didn’t feel Asian. So that would be my not Asian enough moment for sure. But I was, I had to be told I was verbally reminded. I was, I am Asian in a nice way. It wasn’t like a racist way, but I, but it came to me that I needed to understand who, what my culture was.
Yeah. Being nixed is a very nuanced conversation that continues to be made, be heard at and looked at in, in many ways as a community thing of what do we need, what do we need as people? What is the census around what people are doing, what policies are being made that we, that can include?
I believe I heard the other day with the mixed identity race, mixed identity is the largest, or is continuing to be the largest demographic group in America. Just because, there’s all the cultures that are mixing and mingling. What is, what does that mean [00:34:00] for the future of of the mixed community?
I don’t know if my friend Kenny’s in here, but we were talking about the other day about his policy work that he wants to do and how he wants to like, really look at what the community needs. And I think, I, me and again, media is a huge part of that because if we don’t like it, everybody just here said we only had a few names and we had doubles of the names.
Cause those are the only people who we had to look at. So I think that’s really what we’re going to see in the next few years. It’s amazing. Mixed people. I think the only thing I can, one thing that keeps coming up mine is Paxton from never having ever, cause that’s definitely someone who I’ve I already had some relation to that.
Not that I’m a jerk, yeah. I had family at someone who was also mentally different in my family, his sister being that way. That was really great. And how she took care of her. I have an uncle like that and then but I, I think it, what bothered me about that and also bothered me about do all the boys I never had before, but she was mixed too.
I never see both the parents. There are always ones gone, [00:35:00] so I never see any of them. I think that bothers me a little bit. I also saw, as for mixed mixed relationships, I think I saw, I think it was called day one or one day on Netflix or one of the shows and one of the streamers.
And it was based on that true story about mix mixed couple. I think that felt really strong to me. I felt wow, this is as much as it’s the cheesy love story. He was like, yeah that’s definitely me and my life because I dated by women for two. And it didn’t have to be a thing. It wasn’t a thing that he was Asian.
It was just, that’s what it was. And that was cool. I also really love going a throwback. There’s a movie called they’re red Crimson. And that was like a 1950s movie and little set in little Tokyo. And I think it was James. She should get her, I think that’s who it was. And that was a groundbreaking movie as well.
Cause it was just a mixed race and Japanese, I think that beyond sets the way higher carwash, which where I have almost never got the woman at the end, this was a relationship that had, so I think that was really cool. So yeah, that’s my different definitely my recommendation as [00:36:00] somewhere to find in a classic to go watch as well.
So yeah, I would love for this conversation to go in any direction and it might be, this is an open discussion between ourselves and the panelists. It doesn’t have to be a, I know we just went down the line, but we can go popcorn style and I’ll pick on people and yeah. I think people not pick on and we’ll just have a, open it up.
And if you have questions and have anything to ask each other, please do. I think this is a great space to just have it. People in a town hall situation, just how have these things, but we have some topics to go over and then we can base our ideas around. So I think one of the.
Questions. I’d like to ask the group and anybody can pick up or I’ll call on somebody is, what is the, what do you have? What are your ideas about mixed Asians in media? Being either unheard, unseen playing roles that are main, full characters that we mentioned earlier, but let’s get more in-depth into that.
[00:37:00] Or, if what does going out for auditions, a lot of people hear actors. What does going out into auditions feel like when you might not be able to go out for full Asian roles, but neither white roles, but there’s no mixed roles. What does that feel like? And do you find that you have to hide your identity and not play on it?
Does that help? Does that hurt? And how does it make you feel about having to hide those things? So if anyone wants to open their mic and start off it was all constantly, Jenny.
Jenny Lee-Gilmore: Yeah. I just turned my mic off there. So for me as an actor and if any other actors in the cheque may have the same experience or different is I go in to the room like 99% of the time for fully Asian roles which is often frustrating.
Especially when these roles are written as quite stereotypical or some of their key personality traits are Asian stereotypes. I [00:38:00] try to go into the audition room with an open mind, but it’s definitely a weird thing to go in knowing that you’re definitely not what they’re looking for. And I often try become more Asian looking like I’ll straighten my hair a lot of the time.
I’m also like 5, 9, 5 10, which is weird when I’ve had auditions with a dad character say, and they’re like two feet shorter than me which has happened a lot. But I’d say in my acting audition career, I probably had nearly 200 auditions and I’ve auditioned twice for roles that were written for mixed Asian people.
And one of them was cast as a fully Asian girl and the other one was shadowing bone, which did go to to a mixed race person. And that was a really cool thing to see. Yeah. And I think I’m done talking for now.
Masami: Thank you. Yeah, I think that’s, I’m not in the auditioning world, having to feel like you have to appear a certain way.
That’s always interesting. That, [00:39:00] that doesn’t feel right to me mean, I hope that more people will be able to say that either if you’re going out for an Asian role or not for an Asian role and that it becomes something that it’s about, and that hopefully, I don’t know, things start, the media starts to reflect who we are as we start to have more roles.
So if you get cast first in the parents, I haven’t been cast yet that, for whatever reason that the cat, those parents become cast as mixed, I think that would be something that would be, I’d like to see more Alex. So
Alex Chester: I actually have a story that follows that I booked a national commercial right before the pandemic hit.
And I, I won’t name the name, but it was, they were looking for an Asian. Bride or it was a wedding scene, so I booked it and I was in the process of like their productions calling me Asians, calling me. Okay, you got it. You got dye your hair, brown Alex. I’m like, okay, I will do it for this commercial.
Cause it’s gonna it’ll pay well. So anyways, like I was about to dye my hair and my [00:40:00] Asian calls and goes bad news. They’re going a different direction. They had some issues finding a mom. So they’re going into a white family instead. And I was just so just taken aback by that, that they wouldn’t have one hired a mixed family or two.
So I’m Asian enough to be Asian, but I’m not white enough to play white. There, it was w I had a whole thing. I, luckily sag was amazing. And then they were going to do an investigation into this whole thing and ultimately decided not to, just because of pressure from my Asian and my friend who also booked it was supposed to play my dad he’s Asian.
And we were afraid that we would never get hired again, commercially. So there’s that. But yeah, I thought that was just to play off of what you said, David. That was very disheartening when that happened.
Masami: Wow. Wow. I’m really sorry to hear that. That feels yeah, what happened? Can you talk more about the lawsuit?
Did that turn out to anything? We didn’t
Alex Chester: do that. So what we did was we just made sure that [00:41:00] we got paid, which we did. And that was great. We got our money, but they sag was like, if you do this, you can do, they will production going to find out that it’s you, because how could they not?
And there is a possibility that you will get blacklisted. And my Asian was very, as much as I do love who I’m with they were also worried that might happen. So I was talking to my friend, Clem, who was going to be playing my dad. We really decided that it just wasn’t. Worth our livelihood.
In that sense, I try to do so much as I can for the community for mixed API APIs. And it really, the, to this day, it still bothers me that I didn’t pursue suing them because I was afraid that I would miss out on my livelihood because it is, I that’s really how I make my bread. And butter is commercials and further on commercials is I tend to book ambiguous that tends to be the thing.
And for a long time, because I’ve been in this industry since I was five, I would just go by Alex Chester. My mom’s last name. Just because, [00:42:00] but recently I’ve started saying my name is Alex Chester. eeWater because I’ve noticed a shift within the industry of wanting to fill that check mark, of oh, we got an Asian or, instead of, oh, we have someone ambiguous.
So far that’s what I’ve been saying. And it’s been working, but it’s weird. I feel like I have to play up my Asian-ness whatever the hell that means I’m third generation American on both sides. And it’s just a weird line to walk. I would love to talk to more people about this, anyone here it’s just an odd spot to be put into, but I definitely noticed that casting is oh, you are Asian.
Cool. You check this box. Great. We’ll move you on to the next round. And I’m Alex and done speaking.
Masami: Yeah. Wow. That’s before we get to Ryan, I want to comment on a few things, but I think that’s really important to talk about as well as just what does the Asianness mean? I definitely want all one to arrive.
I’d definitely come back to that because I see. Checking a [00:43:00] box. And especially if you’re using mixed people, but casting them ambiguously, but then using that checkbox, they’re like, oh, we have the Asian, that’s it. That’s really weird. And I think that’s appropriating our identities. And you said you were third generation, do you say your go side?
Go say, I don’t
Alex Chester: know. Cause I’m a really Japanese
Masami: I’m third generation, each 1, 2, 3, each Nissan. So your son say that will be, that’ll be yours. I’m go say I’m fifth generation because each Nissan’s she go and that’ll, that’s a win, certainly numbers it’ll get there, but I was like, okay, wait. So under quick clarifying Ryan.
Yeah. And you have a response to Alex’s yeah. I’m
Ryan Alexander Holmes: I’m Asian, but like I’ll never play it an Asian. It seems unless I write that character for myself, which, I’m doing and also creating my own content. So this, I feel it like, I think that something that’s liberated me is creating my own [00:44:00] content because I’m not, I don’t feel like I’m at the whim of casting because I’ve been with, I used to model before I acted and they’d always try to change me and tell me to change and change my hair and do things that would make me more commercial.
But when I look back at that, I’m like, oh, you were trying to make me more palatable to whoever’s casting. And we know who’s casting, but I just shot a commercial where I’m playing a character named Rodriguez, so then I have that too, where I look like most of us look at ethnically ambiguous, but I don’t look at it.
At all to most people. And when I say I don’t look Asian, I don’t really believe that. I believe that the world is conditioned from lack of mixed representation is what we’re talking about in this group. People are conditioned to think, I don’t look Asian, but I literally am it’s in my blood. [00:45:00] So the only thing that’s going to change that is forums like this,
Masami: no, I think that’s and making your own content. That’s the biggest thing too. And I learned a lot from your content just to see like what the perspective is, and you’d make it in such a funny way. I think it’s fantastic to just also understand that, just because, people don’t see you as Asian, it doesn’t mean you’re not Asian.
And what it really means is that Asian is so much more than what you think it looks like. Yes, you are the
Ryan Alexander Holmes: example it’s and it’s also, changed my purpose in life. I was talking to my friend the other day and we were both laughing, as we only want to say ascend, but I’ll say ascend, to higher levels in this industry and start to get work and start to make contacts.
We were like, man, like when we started three or four years ago after grad school, we really thought our purpose in life was to be an actor. And it’s funny, cause that’s not my purpose in life. My purpose in [00:46:00] life is to make the world a better place and express myself to do those two things jointly, and the acting is just a means to do that.
And I love it, but it’s not my purpose in life, so I approach everything I do with that understanding. And it’s painful to hear, the stories in my comments about people realizing how they’ve been conditioned to think about themselves for so long. Especially my mixed fan out there. Like we’re beautiful as hell.
And we are unique and a lot of the backlash that we face is jealousy and misunderstanding, and that has nothing to do with us. So I’m always a huge proponent of owning our story. And what we’re realizing is that when we do that, there’s a whole community of people that we were not connected with and couldn’t have been connected with.
Had we not shared our story? I’m done speaking.
Masami: Yeah. [00:47:00] Rachel.
Rachel Michiko Whitney: Hi, it’s Rachel. One really quickly going back to what you said earlier, David, about the mixed race population growing. I read an article on CNN the other day and just a quick quote, the growth in the multiracial population in the 2020 census was significant.
There were 9 million people in 2010 who identified with two or more races compared to 33.8 million people in 2020. That’s a 276% increase.
Masami: Thanks. Thank you for that. That’s that? That’s really incredible.
Rachel Michiko Whitney: Yeah. And just talking about making your own content that’s four years ago, Naomi and I made a short film called 100%, half the TV series that we’re developing now is a little bit different, but we made that short film because yeah, at the time, I was, getting the feedback like, oh, I’m not Asian looking enough for this role.
And then I didn’t in with the white family for this role. And it was [00:48:00] just, I don’t know. It just makes you feel like, where do I fit in? Where do I belong? And that’s why Naomi and I made that short film so that we could, express how we were feeling because Naomi also had. Experience working as an actor.
And yeah, so I think creating your own content, like that’s the way to do it because there need to be more mixed race stories told, and they need to be told by people who are mixed race, so that they’re authentic. And yeah, I’m done.
Ryan Alexander Holmes: Yeah. I just want to piggyback off that and say, the industry can make us think that we are our identity, but we’re, we are our identity, but we are so much more than that. And that’s what I’m also a proponent of too, because we are finally as Asians really rising up and making our voice very loud.
But I feel like we don’t want to get lost in the [00:49:00] idea that we are solely defined by our Asian-ness and that’s our sole definition for ourselves. We’re much bigger than that. And there’s diversity amongst Asians and mixed Asians, and we all like to do other different things and we’re all unique in our own specific way.
And that’s what we should also be shining a light on too.
Masami: Yeah. Yeah, I think he’s been bringing that content into it and making sure that we’re shining the light, I think into a degree that, we’re not putting it on the nose, but we’re also, it’s like our responsibility to a degree.
I find that myself, when I realized I was Asian, it was like a responsibility that I had to speak about Asian things, just because, I don’t speak about it. It’s not enough to talk about, but you can just see my mixed identity. It’s what does that, what do we do if we’re not, if we don’t want anybody, anybody else speaking about it?
Or, cause they don’t understand that kind of content about us without us. So we have to pick up that responsibility as well. And also, just as a side note [00:50:00] no one has to you can respond to people without me having to call on you. It’s not like I call an answer.
So feel free to just respond to somebody freely. Just make sure to say your names so the listeners can know who’s talking as well. No homie. So Tony, do you have any add to the actors or Lauren on, on representation in what that is? Or we can move on if you want to add to the topic is going back to the Asian-ness and how does that feel too?
Anybody else have some Soma?
Soma Helmi: Yeah. Hi. So ma not necessarily from an actor’s point of view, obviously, cause I’m a director and a writer, but in terms of writing for a character, that’s the reason why I wrote the feature that’s in the lab. Now I wrote a half in a mixed Indonesian girl who lives out in Texas because I had never seen anything like that on film before.
And I really wanted to tell a story like that. And then as I was writing it, and when we finished at Sam and I finished it, actually the question of costing, it came up [00:51:00] because we, between us didn’t know anyone in this age range that was going to be able to play the character. She’s a 12 year old half or mixed Indonesian girl, who is an Asian American, so to speak.
And so we, we came up with the problem, I guess you could call it a, how are we going to cast for this? And that’s already, a question in my mind, even though obviously the film hasn’t been developed that far yet, hopefully it will be, so from the other side of things, I also come up with the, that’s an issue that I’m already thinking about.
Like how do we cast specifically for that, for those characters? Because I think that first thing that a producer might come on board and say is does she have to be specific. Mixed Indonesian. And my answer is yes, she does. It might be difficult. It might take years to cost her possibly, but I think to honor the character, I am going to try my hardest to try and find [00:52:00] somebody who is of the same mix.
I don’t know how it’s going to happen, but I’m going to make it happen. And the other thing I really wanted to kind of chime in on is what Ryan was saying about not looking Asian, because that has been my whole life experience. I grew up in Indonesia, not looking Asian and not being Asian enough.
So I don’t know if anyone else has grown up, in Asia having this kind of experience. And it was a very, interesting way to grow up where the country that you were born in, also, you weren’t exactly accepted because you are not that enough. So it’s such an interesting thing. I really identify with what you’re saying, Ryan.
Cause I’ve had that. And it’s only in the last few years where I’m having those conversations with myself, just, like you are enough, I am not half of a person or, all these things. I was actually told recently that I was half of the diversity, like half of me fit in yeah. The [00:53:00] diversity program that I was in.
And I couldn’t quite figure out what they were saying. I was like, wait, you mean like my left half of my rights. Exactly. So it was a confusing moment, but really quickly I’m having a Metta moment right now because I believe Tony, you are in one of my favorite shows on TV right now, motherland Fort Salem, and correct me if I’m wrong and I am okay.
And I remember seeing you on the screen thinking he must be a mixed person and wondering what your Identity was, so this is so interesting that this is happening on this panel because I was just looking at you on, I think yesterday I was watching an episode thinking, wow, he looks like a really interesting mix person.
I wonder what his story is so lovely to meet you here.
Tony Giroux: I saw one. Yeah. Lovely to meet you. And I actually had to bounce off some of the things that you’re saying, but earlier you were more [00:54:00] talking about on the casting side and what, how long it would take to cast someone who’s mixed Indonesian.
I think you said. But I think from an actor’s perspective for me I understand that I’m a wild card and, I’ve been acting through a few years more seriously. And I think I just understand that most of the time, I’m a wild card and people don’t know where to place me. And that’s something that I’ve come to terms with.
Just because I’m aware that the stories of what it’s like being mixed race or a mixed race character, I think are very still w how do you say like far and few between I’ve been lucky, to work on projects where the characters were written as mixed race, but I think, there’s very few creatives who are behind the screen, or even in front of the screen who are, have the power to tell those stories to mass media and it’s, so for me it’s [00:55:00] a matter of, with patients and yeah.
Doing what I can. And I think it sounds like here everybody is a content creator, and I think that’s what we have to do. Being content, creator myself, and like wanting to tell the stories that appealed to me because the industry I think is filled with so many politics and as an actor where I’m such a little piece of it that it can.
Get just more so frustrating too, to be waiting for the phone, or would you be waiting for a casting for a character that I know I have a chance of being cast because I’m not because I’m the wild card and because so often y’all go out for, I have a fantastic management and, I go out from mixture of either like Caucasian roles or like Asian roles or ethnically ambiguous, but it’s it’s yeah, I think it’s a battle and something to accept.
I’ve been lucky the first character that I played that was mixed men, three mixed race was I did a lifetime film. That was the first Asian centered [00:56:00] first holiday film with an Asian centered cast and the writer who’s Eileen, I can’t remember the last name, but she’s a she’s mixed race and you, and she wrote the lead guide to be mixed race.
And, when I read that script, it’s so delightful to see Asian-American culture being represented and there being a character, that I feel like, oh, I’m not having to play Caucasian or have not, you’re trying to fill like a complete full Asian character. So it’s so it’s interesting.
Yeah. From the from the access perspective, that’s my piece on it.
Naomi Sedgwick: And I guess just to bounce off of, everything that we’ve been talking about so far is I think, Rachel mentioned that I used to act, and this was like 10 years ago. So a lot has changed, but I just remember in some ways being defined by race, like not being able to go out for roles that were, that I might [00:57:00] identify with.
I was going out based on race and, I was like in high school and I remember one of the casting directors was like, you should be playing more like bad-ass characters, which I feel in retrospect is just like a stereotype of what mixed Asian people can play. Because at the time I was like more just like the shy nerd.
And I was just like, I just don’t know if I identify with that. So I think it’s just going to quit acting. And I think ultimately I wasn’t that passionate about acting or, that great at acting, which is why I found my place and other parts of, the media industry.
But I think it’s an interesting conversation because I do think it’s so important, to what Ryan was saying to like, not just be solely defined by identity. But also I think, growing up, those are some, I think, formative years in how you might view yourself. And so I remember again, I guess I just bring up all these Disney shows, like high school musical, [00:58:00] one of the characters growing up was, are shows with wizards of Waverly place.
And I remember watching that show and not like thinking, oh, Alex Russo is meant to be this like mixed person. She’s not, she’s supposed to be, looking into it, she’s meant to be this like half Hispanic, half Italian person and anything growing up. I like didn’t
Lauren Lola: register
Naomi Sedgwick: that at all.
And so I think that, having this representation, and somewhat talking about it all in media is just so important because I think I was struggling. I grew up in a very white town with a lot of, white schools, white people. And so I think like I was struggling really to find like my identity.
And so I think, for someone. Shows that are focused on reaching young people. I just think it’s so important to like, have some sort of representation there. I’ve gone on a tangent, but I think all I have to say really is like, representation is so important and at some [00:59:00] point in time, like I’d love to see like how the people not just talking about, what it means to be mix.
But I think also just so important. So that’s it for
Alex Chester: now.
Masami: Thank you, Naomi. And thank you, Tony, as well. Talking about like us makes people talking about it and doing what we can is what we’re left with. And like these conversations, like this don’t happen very often, like mixed Asian media and their vest is doing amazing work.
So I think that’s conversation continues to grow there and I think that’s what needs to happen, but I really want to see what Hollywood talks about because I don’t think they ever talk about it. Now in a really nuanced sense. And I think it’s always very single-minded about what the stories are and what they can be.
And when you have someone who’s mixed, they don’t know what to do with the storyline, or think it has to be one way or the other, the being mixed storylines are confusing because you have to add those elements like it has to be explained. It doesn’t have to be explained. It just has to be what [01:00:00] it is.
So I think there’s so much more I th thought Jenny’s might go off, Jay, you have something to respond to. Yeah. This is Jenny
Jenny Lee-Gilmore: speaking. It’s so fascinating hearing everyone’s different experiences with being mixed. I don’t think I’ve ever had a full conversation with any mixed people about the uniqueness that comes with that identity.
Back when I was in school, I made like a short documentary about my experiences growing up mixed race called more than just a half. And I think that was the first time. I’d shared that experience. And I always thought I was very alone in that sense that I was the only person that experienced that until I had that film play places and people had similar experiences and it was so nice to finally find other people that understood the gray area of growing up mixed race.
So for me, I grew up in a really Caucasian town, what village, I think there were more sheep than people in the village I grew up in, in England. [01:01:00] And being Chinese was one of my biggest insecurities growing up as a kid. And I think for me, it’s only been the past few years where I’ve really grown to love that side of me.
And that’s been like a very beautiful journey, but it also reflects how important representation is on screen. Cause that’s how we learned to view ourselves and what we’re able to be and become and who we are. And in terms of casting and what everyone’s been talking about, I think it’s really interesting cause mixed race people straddle like the multiple lines of identity and when casting has categorized people by race and you don’t fit into that.
It’s very challenging. So I think it’d be amazing to see a new category being made where it isn’t defined solely by being full of one race or the other. And I think there’s very unique, lived experiences with being mixed race. And it was really funny listening to David, talk about how people thought you were adopted because people always think when I go out with my very white [01:02:00] British dad, that I’m his very young girlfriend, which is always really awkward for us.
Masami: have had you met,
Jenny Lee-Gilmore: you have, okay. I’m sorry. It’s so awkward. So we, yeah, I’ve been called his wife. I don’t know. But actually never happens when I’m out with my mom. They always understand that we’re related. But yeah, that’s a very unique thing, I think. So I’m glad, so much that someone else has dealt with that.
And yeah I’m done speaking.
Masami: Yeah, there’s just, so I don’t know, just unawareness is that the whole proximity is creates comfort and understanding, but there’s not there. They just don’t understand and get very mixed up. I dunno, this confusing Alex yet had a response. Did
Alex Chester: actually, Jenny, have you heard of almost Asian, she does a skit that is brilliant.
That is about that. Like how they assume her dad is her older boyfriend. Yeah, you should check it out if you haven’t seen it. It’s very funny, but I will. What’s it called almost [01:03:00] Asian it’s by Katie Malia. She’s wonderful. Yeah, I think you’ll, I think everyone in this room will appreciate all of her skits that she has come up with.
They are on the nose and just a compass, the whole experience of being mixed Asian. But I was gonna say we’re talking about like representation and not having to say that we’re mixed or that w I explain our presence and in TV film, and I have to say Disney is actually starting to do a very good job at this.
We’re covering a couple of things for them in our next issue. And wa getting a chance to see some of those screeners. I was like, wow, go Disney. This was not the case 10, 15 years ago, but they are definitely doing some good stuff for the mixed API community. I have to say. And randomly Tony is going to be featured in our next issue as well.
But I [01:04:00] just, yeah, I just had to share that I was very pleasantly surprised and and Lauren LOA who one of the writers of man is, has written some really cool stuff. She wrote a play that’s, she’s just a brilliant writer and I’ll let her talk about herself, but yeah, that’s all I to say.
I’m done talking.
Masami: Yes, Lauren. Yeah. I would love to hear about your creative writing and what what you’re building and what storylines you’re trying to create to do either represent or what you feel like needs to be represented.
Lauren Lola: Yeah. The play that Alex is referring to is, has since been converted into a short film and
Masami: wait, can you hear me?
Yeah, it was a little choppy at the beginning, but you’re okay now.
Lauren Lola: Okay. Yeah, I did a play now, short film called and every with an S one and it’s very, Filipino-American focused, which is my heritage. And, I touched on it briefly earlier, but I’ll say it again. I did not grow up [01:05:00] with too much of a connection to my Filipino side then.
So from my adolescence on, it was all about, it’s been about reconnecting with that side of my family. And so I think this is just another iteration of that. It’s I’m at a place now where I feel ready to incorporate Philippine American characters into my stories and do it as authentically as it can possibly be.
And yeah, I’m just like, I’m trying to figure out how to answer this question, but as far as incorporating my, like the mixed race portion of it, I’m getting there. I think I’ve been a bit resistant to it for the longest time. One of them being that I’ve been worried that people would read or watch.
I’ve written, they’d be like, oh, this person’s based on the author because she’s also mixed race because that never happens to white people. And then I got to the point where I felt like now I feel ready to even do that. Even though, once again, even though I feel like there’s a lot of mixed race Filipinos in the [01:06:00] industry now, especially in the music industry, it’s a narrative that hasn’t been as, so roughly explored.
Especially when there’s, of the mixed race Asians. I see a lot on screen these days. A lot of them are east Asian, which is a conversation in of itself. Southeast Asians having began a lot of their do in my opinion. So to help contribute to that, it’s about representing these two different sides of me being mixed race and also just being Filipino-American.
So when you’re being interviewed with an asphalt is definitely a step in one of those directions. And then a few weeks ago, and Alex, you don’t know this yet. You’re about to find out for the first time, a few weeks ago, I got attached to be the writer for an animated film.
Masami: Yeah. Oh my God.
Lauren Lola: And it’s a very, it’s a very Filipino story.
I think that there’s an all Filipino team behind it. I can’t really say what it’s about right now, but there will be a crowdfunding campaign [01:07:00] for it this fall. So tune in for that, but in the conversation with the director leading up to whether or not I wanted to take this on, he reached out to me personally, asking if they want to do this.
And I’m like, I don’t know, man like the imposter syndrome is real. Like I’ve never worked for animation. I don’t know this story too well that I’m going to be writing. And I’m also a mixed race. Cause I’m like, are you sure you want me to be the one doing this? I don’t know. I don’t know. And he said yes, because you don’t know the story.
And I’m like, my lack of knowledge is an advantage. And he said, yes. And here’s why, because when you do learn about it, you’ll be able to give it a fresh perspective to it. Maybe one that even I don’t have, and I’m like, oh never thought of it that way. I gave it another, I thought about it for the next few days.
And then I said, yeah, I’m in. So that’s slowly starting to become in process or slowly starting to become in progress. I’m [01:08:00] not sure if anybody I said has made sense, but that is my answer. And I’m done speaking.
Masami: That was great graduations on getting that position. And I think that there’s a lot to be done to that.
Whether it be, have you feel like you can speak on your background in a culture, I think for a long time, I didn’t speak about Asian culture at all. I didn’t mean to speak about it and write about it. Even the first script I wrote with Asian, I’d only written scripts with white people.
That was my first four scripts, I think about it. And then when I decided to put Asian characters in I actually, my first one was Asian women, but it was also based, it all just had so many tropes. Like I think I just had so much bad perspective what Asian and Japanese not culture, but characters could look like and what would be interesting.
And I was always playing to what the media is already like looking for. So it was always, things like Godzilla or movies, or, bonds. I was like figuring out like, oh, these are the popular [01:09:00] things. And I think that clouded my mind as well, but at the same time, being not so involved with the culture and then coming into it, what I found was I’m very interested in learning more instead of thinking are already know are, and.
So I’m not. So I like what your, even your director says, like you are coming in with a fresh perspective because when you do learn the story, when you do get an understanding, you’re going to come with a new appreciation for it. But something that, in an older, or in a different perspective, that, how does it make you feel instead of someone who’s already lived it with that story for so long?
I think that’s, it’s a really, it’s not an advantage to do your degree because then you’re even, you’ll eat. Even if you have to go research and do more, you’re going to learn things that some people are already know, but they might only know surface level. You’re going to find out more, so much. I think that’s, I love that perspective as well.
Lauren Lola: I [01:10:00] appreciate you hearing that.
Ryan Alexander Holmes: I have a experience that I almost want to say is the opposite. I was raised with my Chinese family in a Chinese neighborhood, and I had this experience with my writer friend. Who’s going through the writing process at Sundance. He had wrote a he’s black and Thai and had wrote a story about Thai people.
And I remember asking him like, do you feel like comfortable? Is that almost is that allowed for you to write a story about just Thai people that aren’t like mixed? They’re just tie. And he’s yeah, bro. Like, why cannot? And I had to ask myself, like, why can’t I talk about what it’s like to be a Chinese man or write a Chinese story when I was literally raised Chinese.
And it was a crazy moment where I’m like, wait, hold up. Like, why don’t I even think that way I was, I’m li I’m literally [01:11:00] Chinese. Yes. Like the world maybe has ostracized me and made me feel like I’m not. And I, to them, I don’t look like it, but I literally had a Chinese accent. I grew up celebrating all the holidays.
I speak the language, but yet still in my mind, talking to my friend and I’m so glad I had that conversation. I’m like, I can write a story about a Chinese person and Chinese people, especially in the Asian American experience, because my experience is the Asian American experience. And it’s funny too, because it’s so funny.
Just me being myself and me constantly making content, speaking about my experience and Asian Americans will reflect my fears and what I felt like I couldn’t do still to this day. And now I’m strong enough to be like, wow, they’re so wrong. And they’re so conditioned to ostracize me still and think that they [01:12:00] are like a hundred percent justified in the way that they’re saying.
And the words that they’re saying you, you don’t understand what it’s like to be like us. You’re you have no idea what the Asian American spirits is like. And I’m like, and now I just laugh because I’m like, I do very much and it’s sad, but also ironic and funny that you would say that I don’t, so it’s it.
I constantly have these Eureka Dawn of awakening moments over and over as I explore constantly in my writing and in my content creation and also just being an actor and I’m looking at these breakdowns and I just did a show. That’s not released yet on apple TV where I’m speaking Chinese. And I remember getting that audition and I’m like, where, who else are they going to find that can do this?
That, that is black can do a British accent and can speak Chinese. If I don’t get this. [01:13:00] I have to get, I have to get this role. I really want to meet and talk to the person, the other person that would get this role. So we could be best friends for life, but the more that I express myself, the more these opportunities come stood in play a Chinese man, but I got to do something that I never thought that I would be able to do.
I’m done speaking.
Masami: Incredible. Rachel or Manu. Naomi.
Rachel Michiko Whitney: Yeah. One Lauren, congratulations. That’s very exciting. And then going off of what both you and Ryan were just talking about speaking for myself and it sounds like you guys were in the same boat and maybe other people are too. I feel like, I always think, oh, I don’t know if I’m right for this.
I don’t know if I’m good enough for this. I don’t know if like my background makes me qualified for this and then I have friends I would probably say mostly white men who would never think twice about that. And they’re just like, [01:14:00] I’m going to do this. I’m going to do that. And it’s actually inspiring sometimes just to see people just go over things without questioning whether or not they’re qualified and maybe they are, maybe they’re not.
But I know that’s something that I have to work on personally is like being a little bit more confident in my ability and to write stories that maybe, I don’t think ID write for like the the gangster story that I’m working on. One, because it’s a true story. And I talked with the guy and he’s half Japanese American, and I think that really meant a lot for him.
And, but I was like, I don’t know why this person would ever give me the rights to his story, but, I worked really hard and I did so much research. I was able to talk to him whenever I needed to. And yeah, so I think Lauren, you’re going to do a great job and you’re, you definitely deserve the job that you got.
Okay. I’m done.
Lauren Lola: Thank you so much, Rachel.
Masami: That’s [01:15:00] really cool. Yeah. I think that’s being able to speak with people who understand what everybody’s working on and try to help each other duties do interesting stories. And when, even when I find mixed Asians, especially mixed Japanese Americans, like I understand your story too a lot.
And I think, and we’ll get to that question. Actually. I wanted to get that now, too. Alex, Rachel and Naomi were all Japanese American mixed, right? Is everybody, did everybody have a family in the camps?
Naomi Sedgwick: So I had an interesting, I think my family has an interesting background in that they were living in Hawaii. So I actually think a majority of my family were not in the camps, but they were here in the
Masami: states. Got it. Yeah. And Hawaii, he’s got his own story of that too, what it was and what didn’t did not happen there.
And some people were in camps, but it just wasn’t as massive removal [01:16:00] as the west coast. But we know something I think about and what I’ve done in my research of Japanese American culture and history is that there was such a forced assimilation that a lot of Japanese didn’t marry into Japanese cultures anymore.
They really married into the white assimilation. I see that with my family. And I see that with a lot of my friends, families, and it’s just, it’s that’s a, I don’t want to say it’s a norm, but it’s definitely a pattern that I’ve seen throughout history in our Japanese American culture, because it’s so I know a lot of people were just, it was, you were forced not to be Japanese.
And so when everybody like a force similar to that, they would just be so against being with other Japanese. That was a huge thing. Community was very much lost after the war and you will have out outward, outward marriages. So I just, I found that to be interesting. That’s, it’s the same thing with names, a lot of us have, American English, first names and even myself as Bible and things.
I [01:17:00] heard that I was in a rap once. I’m just an Asian with a a Bible name yeah, that’s me, because you just feel like it was just a way of looking at it, a racer. And I just, I don’t know. I find that when I find other Japanese Americans and there’s that difference between does that difference too?
Because not every Japanese American the Senate wasn’t camps nor some people who came before the war and the shin Nikkei who come after the war. And there’s a huge difference in that perspective as well. So even when I talk, when I have people talking about camps and like your family wasn’t even there, that intergenerational trauma is very different from you than it is from me and what it is, even from folks, somebody from Hawaii.
So like even I have a problem with a story that’s going around now. I’m like you, I don’t know if you should be able to tell that story because that’s really not their story. And that’s why, and then that’s how I see it even in, especially in our culture, but in other cultures, as well as the generational [01:18:00] differences in storytelling make a very big difference to and so even if you’re mixed what’s the story.
When somebody figures out that they’re makes their whole entire family doesn’t either look like it feel like it, but they feel different. Like if I’m being honest with myself and my and being here is. I grew up. Yeah. Not being, feeling like I was Asian. I wasn’t, my family was ostracized, not ostracized from the family, but my father ostracized us from the rest of the Japanese side of my family.
And then later in life, did I start to appreciate my Japanese culture? And now I know grandma’s my best friend and I can see why family is and all the traumas in our past. But like my sisters don’t think they’re Asian. They know they’re Asian, but they don’t, they’re not Asian. They will, I’m American.
And they push away that culture and they’re very white passing. So they don’t get that same thing, but they don’t also embrace the culture. [01:19:00] And like when I’m in a family dinner, I feel like I’m the only Asian there. And that feels really weird too. And that, and I don’t know if anyone else feels that as well sometimes.
Lauren Lola: David, do you mind if I chime in? So even though I’m not Japanese American, I actually find a lot of what you just said, very relatable. And this is why, so I’m third generation Filipino American. My grandfather was an immigrant from a region called Pico in the Philippines. And so I feel like for me, with my field paper conference, I think, especially within here in the bay area, which is where I live.
Yeah, a lot of them either they’re the children of immigrants or they’re 1.5 generation kids. Like they came here when they were really young. And so as far as family dynamics slash generational experiences [01:20:00] goes, I probably have more in common with you. Then I deal with a majority of my Filipino American friends, which is so funny to say, because you look at the history is at the Filipino American community and the Japanese American community.
Very different, but very similar experience to you. Like my dad cut us off from our Filipino heritage because his father I’m just going to say it. His father was emotionally, mentally abusive and he didn’t want like even before I came along, like he was worried about what kind of father he would be.
And so I guess for him, like the most logistical thing was to cut us off from our Filipino heritage, which was why I didn’t grow up a lot around the culture or the food or the traditions or anything like that until I became much older. But I think through my own pursuit with connect, reconnecting with that side of my family I think that has opened up his eyes and his mind to remembering like the good aspects of [01:21:00] being Filipino that doesn’t have anything to do with who his father was.
And that involves going out for a Filipino food once in a while, getting to see, what bill Pima connectors are making a big in Hollywood right now getting to, hear stories from my dad about his favorite Dita who was, just definitely one of the most impactful people in his life and so on.
Like I think with any culture really, there’s there’s good things and bad things about it. And so in this instance, it was just all about remembering what the good things are about being Filipino-American and embracing that. And I’m done speaking,
Soma Helmi: Jenny.
Jenny Lee-Gilmore: Yeah. This is Jenny speaking.
I think I’m having one of those, what Ryan called an epiphany moment. I think that’s what he called it where I’m just realizing how many different. Stories and diversity there is with, within the umbrella of what mixed Asian and Asian means. I think we, we all have [01:22:00] such different backgrounds or those similarities and with an Asian that is such an umbrella term, because I often with my own bias think mixed Asian is Caucasian east Asian, and obviously it’s not.
But I also think that’s the only mixed Asian I’ve been surrounded by. But there is so much diversity within that. And then how we also relate to our own identities as mixed race. I think initially hearing like Rachel, and as a Naomi, talking about your project together about being mixed race, I was like, that sounds so cool.
And then I was like, oh shit, wait, I like, I want to do a project like that. And then now I’m realizing, wait, there is space for all of us to do that. And there’s space for all of us to tell our stories because they’re also different. And there was not just one slot or spot for a mixed race show, if that makes sense.
And I’m done speaking.
Masami: Yeah. Thank you, Ryan. And Rachel, and then I want to go and call on Tony for a question.[01:23:00]
Ryan Alexander Holmes: Man history so important. I think I’ve launched into embracing my Asian heritage publicly within the past, like year and a half. And it came from so much pain from my brother and I, we grew up being called the N-word by our fellow Asian kids that we grew up with and they said it with an entitlement because to them like, oh, you’re Chinese.
So we can say it because like you’re Chinese, but it didn’t matter that like they weren’t black and it didn’t matter how much pain that. So a lot of our childhood was this remembrance looking back of the pain that we experienced from our own people. And I think healing from that, the way that I healed from that was expressing, that I am Chinese, whether you like it or not, and being very,[01:24:00] at sometimes explosive with it.
And I’m glad I was, because now I’m like, look, they were kids, they didn’t get it. And it’s the system, it’s a system that’s broken, it’s a system that pins us against each other and makes us think that our identities are different when our identities make us justified in otherizing each other or feeling that there’s a hierarchy when there isn’t, it erases the humanity that we see in each other.
And I say this to talk about history as well. Like when you talked about Japanese internment, it’s oh, so the government took your shit. And I think about, the Chinese exclusion act, that’s my Chinese side. I have family that went through that. And I think in my black side and, not just enslavement, but red lining and today with police brutality, like the system is broken and I’m always thinking wow, what would happen if we really understood our history, [01:25:00] as whether you’re white and Asian, black and Asian, Southeast Asian, east Asian, under the umbrella of Americanness.
And my mother is an immigrant, so I’m first, I’m a first generation on my mother’s side. But because you can’t be half, I am a first-generation. And I think about history in that way, that it’s actually a unifying force when it’s told in the correct way. And I just love, I just really love conversations like this because they inspire me and they make me feel like I’m not alone.
They make me realize that there is a whole community of people that are creating content that I can be a part of and not necessarily be in as an actor, but like just to watch it and experience it is being a part of it. And it helps me do what I do. And it helps me realize, like I don’t have to pander to the system.
The system is broken and it’s almost like the system is a broken [01:26:00] mirror and we’re trying to look beautiful in this broken mirror and we’re already beautiful. And we’re manipulating our faces to, to satisfy this broken mirror when we’re already beautiful,
Masami: done speaking. Not in my head here.
Yeah. It, this system is that broken system, but, and the history is so important for us to learn about even our ourselves and we don’t that history doesn’t even have to be the dark side of things. We talked about the Japanese incarceration one or two and trying to exclusion act. When Lauren was talking about in Filipino history and how Japanese-Americans in Philippines are different, we’re also very similar.
In Hawaii, 1920, a wahoo, the Japanese and Filipinos both went on strike for the plantation workers. It was like one of the longest strikes in American history for labor and they won, they w they’ll say that they, the history of Bush will say that they don’t think it was whose success, but they also raise their rate wages by like a dollar or 60 [01:27:00] cents more a day and got the plantation workers to no, the owners to pay them more and treat them better and do that.
So in the end, it wasn’t success, even if they had people died of hunger and starvation because of the money. But that also became the Japanese and Filipino problem. And that happened as well. And when everybody went to California, that was the F the farm workers, Japanese Americans, a lot more farm workers and plantation workers just picking vegetables and produce.
I think there’s a lot of similarities within our cultures as well that we can pull out that needs to be highlighted. And when we hear that history I find a lot of strength and understanding where we have power and where we’ve come together and said, this is wrong. We have to work together and make this happen.
And it works. So I think that’s really important. Yeah. And again, like Brian said, being a part of it, not even being a part of the project specifically, but being a part of the history and conversations like this is a great conversation. I’ve enjoyed it so far. Cause there are so many different perspectives.
Ryan Alexander Holmes: Thank you, David. [01:28:00] Thank
Masami: you. And Rachel, you had a response that no one has to Tony. A couple of questions. Yes.
Rachel Michiko Whitney: Hi, it’s Rachel so quickly. I just wanted to say thank you to Jenny for what you said about there being space for our stories, because there is space. We have to fight for our own stories.
We had to fight for other stories that sometimes it feels like within the mixed Asian community, within the Asian-American community, it seems like we’re competing against one another, but really like we can all lift each other up that is possible. And at least that’s like the mindset that I have and I would like to continue have moving forward.
And then regarding history my grandmother grew up in Boyle Heights with, at the time was predominantly Japanese American. This was in the twenties, thirties, beginning of the forties. And then she was sent to roar Arkansas. And my grandfather grew up in Stockton, California in Northern California.
And he was also sent to roar [01:29:00] Arkansas. And that is where they met and they fell in love. They ended up moving back to Northern California. My grandma actually just turned 97 yesterday and it’s tough because she talks about camp, but in a, we went, w we I made friends, I went to dances.
I, I met my husband cause that’s the way that she’s dealt with it. And then after the war, she and my grandfather never went back to Japan. They stopped speaking Japanese only when they were talking to family members who only spoke Japanese and, they didn’t pass on. They didn’t have their kids learn Japanese.
And I actually went to Japanese school when I was younger and then I forgot everything. And now I’m relearning. Cause I still have never been to Japan to this day and I would like to go and I would like to be able to speak a little bit. But yeah, it just, I always wonder about that. After the war, how, my grandparents [01:30:00] tried to be as Americanized as possible.
Masami: Yeah. It’s really rough. And that history goes super deep, but across the cultures, that’s everybody trying to be to fit in and be a part of American culture just so that they don’t feel different yet. We were always be looked at differently.
Masami: I think that’s a struggle of the American experience that we have.
And, but it’s still growing. I’ve definitely seen changes over the couple of decades, even in the past couple years, that conversation is growing and becoming something very different. And what does that mean? I think it’s, even places like mixed Asian media and how they’re really bringing the conversation to the table and yeah, like Jen, like Jenny was mentioning too.
It’s like there isn’t. A slot for one there’s multiple stories and multiple perspectives. It’s just we can’t just have one Asian movie. Cause it’s just, there’s so many, it doesn’t have to only be one Hollywood might make you think there [01:31:00] can only be one, but we are the next generation of Hollywood.
So we’re going to have so many different stories to build everybody, tell us, tell the story you want to tell. I’m not my thing right now is I’m not writing about mixed Asian stories. That’s not the thing that I I’m honestly, that’s not my not goals at this moment. My Mo my goals are a Japanese stories, but that’s because I find so that’s where I find myself pulling into, but that’s, mixed Asian stories.
I would love to hear what people want to, what those stories can look like. Cause I think there have been movies and shows that have been done well and some that have not. And there’s so much for Hollywood to be. But continuing on Tony, I would love to ask you a little bit about your career background as well.
And how you’ve navigated you’ve been a professional dancer and I go into acting, but building that career for yourself has being mixed or being Asian, been a part of your career life. And, or is that something that’s new that you’re embracing a little more[01:32:00]
Tony Giroux: once I think wanted to touch on even the story that Alex has talked about it with like commercials or I think a few people mentioned that they did commercials as actors.
And for me, starting off as a dancer, with dance specific claim, your I’m with dance on screen. Cause I’ve also did dance like onstage, but in general, they’re looking for people to fit in the background in a way that’s That has like something exciting or that has that diversity.
And so it always worked as an advantage actually for me when I was a dancer. And then when I started moving towards like the commercial stuff maybe about five years ago, that’s when I felt like being mixed race was like the in thing. And so I hadn’t, I hadn’t been in the industry as a dancer prior to that for about five years and I would do commercial castings.
And then all of a sudden, one year I get five bookings back to back within six weeks. And I’m thinking like, what is going on? [01:33:00] And it was all of a sudden, and I think that’s when there was an uproar with the Oscars about being all the nominees being Caucasian. And I think that’s when the conversation started.
And even at the time too, when I got my representation by that, my management, it was part of the conversation, every single yeah. You’re, you’re mixed race and this could be a an asset. And then for me, obviously I think I started identifying a lot more as a mixed race and owning both of my cultures actually more in more recent years.
But in terms of the indie industry, it was, I think at first I understood being mixed race as this kind of, oh, it’s a hot commodity or, a very typical things that people say oh my God, I want half her babies. Cause they’re so cute. And I think there’s this stereotype around our appeal [01:34:00] physically, but yet not necessarily a desire to scratch beneath the surface.
And it’s so I think for a bit I was getting that response from people like, oh yeah you’re a pretty face, but then there’s not more, there’s no more interest. To know more. And I think that was hard actually. And for me, like I pride myself in the craft that I do and like working my ass off.
And so then a lot of times when people say, oh, oh yeah, you’re you got it because, because you’re half or this and whatnot, it’s, it was a bit frustrating. And then now, coming into being an actor, it’s actually, now I’m understanding the much more nuanced politics of it, some of the things that I’ve said about casting and understanding that I think I’m still a wild card in that the industry hasn’t really tapped further than just, oh, it’s it makes for an appeal aesthetically P appealing look, because even, the big mixed race leads, that we have a really bad [01:35:00] actor names, but the guy who plays in crazy rich Asians, or, we have the guy in the room warrior actually I haven’t watched warriors,
Masami: so I can’t speak for that.
It’s to be Golding and Andrew Koji. Okay. Yeah. And when
Tony Giroux: you see I would say like alias through B-list mixed race people there, there’s still, isn’t a huge pursuits or of what that story is, of being mixed race. And so I think in a lot of ways, it’s up to us to, to tell these stories and to do what we can to to shed light on one side being mixed rates, even when I was on set of sugar and spice holiday, which was the holiday film I was, it was really nice actually to be elite so that I could have more creative say and to have the conversation of okay, like w what is it that I can add that showcases.
Extra nuance of not just being Asian-American with being mixed race Asian-American. And so those are definitely things that I’m [01:36:00] trying to constantly think about. And, even with the show motherland, I’ve had a few comments from fans of saying how delightful it was for them to see someone who looked like them on screen and, and I think there’s no greater reward in terms of representation to make someone feel seen.
And we’ve talked a lot about it today in the conversation, but,
Masami: I think there’s for anybody
Tony Giroux: to see themselves in the media leads to so much a sense of belonging. And I think that’s got so much to do with our sense of identity within society. And so that’s a fight, I’m definitely wanting to keep going towards, in a way I need it is a fight because I don’t feel like we have a space or, a show or a demographic that, or a platform for mixed race demographic let alone, mixed Asian, whatever that means, like Jenny said, I think it’s such a big umbrella.
So that’s yeah, those are some some thoughts
Masami: on that. No, I think that’s [01:37:00] as deep man. I think that’s the thing is, what do you see yourself as a see yourself on screen and having, people tell you that’s, I think it’s really thank you because you represented me. I didn’t see myself that’s I’m not active, but I feel like that’s it might be is a rewarding experience and biggest compliment, right?
Just like you played in, you were there. Yeah, I got a follow up question for something early. You said, your managers and reps wanting to play into it. Do you feel like your representation or maybe it’s the Hollywood system because your managers and that Do you feel like that’s it’s tokenizing and that they’re using that.
You can use it to your advantage and that’s a way to do it, but because they’re not playing, they’re playing, it’s like playing the race card, but then not letting you play the race, it’s they don’t actually have an interest in the, you said surface level of that. How do you feel about that part of it?
And what does that what would you want changed? What would you say to your [01:38:00] people and say Hey, I want to, this is how I want to be respected in this way, or I don’t know. I’m kidding.
Tony Giroux: Sorry, just to clarify, you’re asking the question specifically with my management,
Masami: not necessarily your management, but I think the topic is this happens to some people and it near you’re here to represent that part is, if people are asked me to be mixed or yet you are mixed, and then they’re asking you, like it’s check, marking a box.
It’s like saying, oh, now we have the Asian. But if they’re asking you to be mixed and you’re playing that role, oh, now we have someone who’s mixed now we’re diverse or whatever, but then you don’t get to, I don’t know, play into that role. You’re only just there for the looks like you said. What would you want changed or how would you want that conversation to be had that you don’t want to be?
The check marks on check mark on the box, over the
Tony Giroux: hit, as much as I don’t want to be young. Sometimes I accept it and man, it’s part of the game. And these are things like, like I said, early, I accept being a wild card. Sometimes I just accept being, the [01:39:00] checkmark for the producers and and I think that’s, part of being an actor and I think part of being ethnic or ethnically ambiguous, and I think that’s how, that’s how relay got so much let’s say like commercial work even beforehand, because I had the look and now.
That we are in the talks of diversity. I’m aware that, they’re trying to put forward more diversity and that sometimes, I have not now I might get considered because I have mixed heritage background that over someone who doesn’t and, and it’s harsh.
I think it’s a really harsh industry and that’s something that I’ve accepted. He’s I think, especially being a dancer, like being a dancer is so tough. And so I think I came into the acting world having an understanding that, okay, like this is going to be a wild ride and I’m going to try and latch onto the moments of that.
I love in terms of the craft and the practice, but I’m aware there’s going to be a lot of a lot of shit, a lot of politics that aren’t fun to be part of. So [01:40:00] in a way, I think I accept aspects of that and and, sometimes that’s enough to get me in the room or that’s enough to get me in the conversation or in the production.
And then it’s up to me to how I deal with that, and then being part of a project, then I try to see, okay, is there ways that I can add part of the story that I want to tell, or, what Ryan was talking about this purpose of having a greater impact on the world. Okay. Okay. How is it then that I make that happen for myself, but in a way so in a way, yeah it’s like this dance of trying to figure out okay.
Right now it is part of the conversation. And so I think let’s write that and let’s lean into it and make some more noise from it. Let’s look at our voices, heard whether we’re first seen as a pretty face and as a, Haffer, exciting baby thing, or or if I’m getting bought in to tell my story, I think ultimately the goal is to be able [01:41:00] to tell my story.
And I think ultimately that comes with also seniority. I think when we, when you get to a level in this industry where you are, either number one in the call sheet, or you are the producer or director, then you know, you’re really getting to make these choices or have these conversations to be able to influence our, our society or influences stories in a way that we feel are more inclusive.
But until then, it’s also okay, how do we get to that spot? And I’m not going to, as much as it sucks sometimes to be judged for appearances or just my heritage, it’s part of it. And I think it’s a very judgmental industry that we’re in and I don’t take it personally, I just try and see, okay, this is here.
I can jump into it because of that. But a lot of it is okay, there’s a lot of rejection as well, but, and then starting to touch on the change that I’d like to see. I think it’s always, yeah, a matter of if we can continuously [01:42:00] move towards having more humanness in the industry, whatever that means.
And I think it’s the way I see it as always going things about, with more heart, and like the idea of if we’re all in, in a room thinking, writing a story or whatnot, like China and connect to our hearts. And I think that it’s very, it’s a very broad or general term that I use, but I think it also, to me, it really resonates to what it means to think okay, am I honoring who this human is, whether that, or would they who this humanist through this story that I’m saying, whether it’s comedy, whether it’s drama, whether it’s sitcom, what are ways that I can always revert it back to properly representing.
Yeah, that’s in a long ramble. These, those are some thoughts.
Masami: No, that’s good. I thank you, Tony. I appreciate rambles. And like I said, people know you rambles, it’s get the thoughts out. That’s the whole thing, because this is not a, these [01:43:00] questions and answers are never going to be short.
They’re nuance. There’s no right or wrong answer, but we’re still having the conversation, and it’s building, that’s the whole even just you just saying, it’s that’s the game. And I think it’s right. It’s as much as we want the humanity in this industry and be really woke and really nice, and everybody understanding it it’s it’s an industry that people make money off of.
And especially for actors have to look a certain way or they want a certain thing. That’s what you can get. I might not, I might try to go out to those even before I start acting. It’s I’m not trying to mix roles, but I also know my power and identity that if they want diversity and Asian-ness, I can use that to my advantage.
Even if it that’s something that we’re not, we’re taught not to take in, are like even white people will go. And it’s oh, it’s not about race. It should be everybody. That’s what you want to think. But then it becomes down to it, as big as true racism and just a neglecting of cultures that when this starts to become talking about diversity, that we have to so many, you always say people, you say play the race card, but really it’s [01:44:00] like charging it to the race card.
It’s I’m going to use my identity to start making some money off of it. And
Tony Giroux: and I was moving. So just something also to add on that, I think something to remember too, is that, the producers and the people who are behind the camera, whether, Caucasian or not, or Asian, they’re, we’re in a time of change and they’re taking risks with trying to push for change.
These projects that we are able to hop on, whether it’s, as small, they play a role or a lead part. For me, I always remember that, these producers and people who are behind this project, the casting directors, everybody’s trying to take risks. And that’s something really inspiring and something that I’m really proud to be part of.
And even with the lifetime film, the producers, I think most of them, we had a lot of Asian creatives in it, but, the producers were Caucasian and like they were talking about how this was a huge leap for lifetime to do something like that. And obviously, and, they were worried and concerned that, it might not work [01:45:00] out because it’s do it’s them stepping out of a mold of that they’re used to, or a formula that they’re used to working.
And so for me, it’s always, it’s a matter of okay, like as much as I want to be properly represented, I also understand I’ve got to show up, do a job that people are counting for me to do. And is there a space, for me to tell my story that is very important to me, but also this person’s taking a chance on me.
And so let’s find a way to make it a win-win Without always being a social justice warrior, if that
Masami: makes sense. Yeah, for sure. Nancy really good perspective as well. Thank you, Tony. So I just opened up the hand raising. So if anybody would like to come up for a Q and a, we’re going to have Jenny asked she has a question for the group and then if you want to ask some questions and we’ll get to, and we’re an hour or two, just coming up on that.
So if thank you so much for the panel for being here and doing long. I know, I think we might’ve said two hours, but if you you need to go, you need to hop off, feel free to do you can say, bye. You can [01:46:00] also just quietly leave, like in the bottom left hand corner says but again, thank you so much to the panelists for coming, and this has been just a wonderful conversation to have.
And thank you for all for being here, but yeah, so we’ll open up the hands. We’ll get some questions Q and a in the queue. And then but first there, Jenny love for you to pose the question to the group right now and then we’ll open it up. Yeah. So I had a question, it’s something I couldn’t really come up with a cohesive articulate answer myself.
And the question is how do you feel about monoracial fully Asian actors playing mixed race characters and vice versa?
Oh yeah. Lauren speaking. I don’t blame you for not having a full fledged answer to that, Jenny, because to be honest, I don’t know. And I think it’s one of those things where maybe I think it’s okay if you don’t know. I think back to, prior [01:47:00] experiences of my work being produced for stage and screen, and so take interview with an ASP for instance, and they made it very clear to the producer saying you they’re cast Filipino Americans in these roles because this is a story about it.
And they did that. And honestly, given the context of the story that I wrote, I wouldn’t have minded if one or both of them went to being mixed race, Filipino Americans. I think another instance was actually from earlier this year, when a teacher, as an arts high school in Canada, randomly reached out and asked if she can use a script by written to be produced for a class she was teaching and they made it very clear to her.
These are the characters in your observation, descent, do you have students who are Asian descendants who can play these characters? And she said, yes, but I was thinking of casting some other kids who are color for these roles. And I had to make it very clear to her. No, and this is why I sent her like this whole long explanation saying why you need to cast Asian actors [01:48:00] in these roles.
And it worked because she got convinced. And mind you, this was like I think right around the, I think this was maybe right before the shooting in Atlanta, actually. So it was very crucial that, this was being told correctly because it was about anti-Asian hate. But then I think about some of the more, mainstream examples of full Asians being cast as mixed Asians and vice versa.
Like I think we all remember when a couple of years ago when it was announced, a Henry Golden would be playing Nick young increase rotations. And the response was what the hell he’s part wife? Why is he cast in this role? Although I want to argue on his behalf in that John M Chu, the director was saying, I want all the Asians in this piece, I want all the Asians in this movie, he didn’t care if he were east Asian and Southeast Asian mix or wherever he didn’t care if he were from the U S or Australia or whoever as it goes to show, if you look at the cast.
And so it was so funny when I see that and [01:49:00] then. In 20 18, 2 days after crazy rotations came out to all the boys, I loved before it came out and Netflix long, a condor who was April Vietnamese-American woman was playing a large gene who I believe is supposed to be mixed race Korean American.
And I think the same people who are complaining about Henry Golding did not say a word about her casting. So I don’t know. It just seems weird that for those who do have opinions to go back and forth on how they feel about the situation. Honestly, I think that maybe if someone like Darren, Chris were cast as Nick young, I think there were been an even bigger outrage because he’s very white passing.
But yeah, like as far as, whether or not it’s ethically reasonable to cast one as the other and vice versa, I don’t know. But if anyone else has an opinion about that, I’d love to hear it. And I’m done speaking,
Alex, did you want to add on I D I, I just wanted to thank you Lauren, for answering [01:50:00] that. And I think it’s true. It’s not, there’s no like right or wrong or one answer. I think what I’m learning from this is that it’s a really case by case basis and whatever is most authentic and what serves the character in story best.
I think that would be my answer, and I’m done speaking Alex, you had a response. I was just gonna say that. Yeah, it’s until there is enough work to go around for everyone, then we really shouldn’t be tearing each other down. And the, I think we need to be uplifting each other. Yes, we should complain when things are stereotypes and all of that stuff.
But like when it comes to, oh no, this person isn’t mixed or this person is full, it’s just. For one thing you’re not in the casting room, you’re not allowed to ask the person. What are you, even though it gets done all the damn time it’s against the wall. So there’s also that, I just think that we just that’s, when it comes down to, we just need to keep creating stories.
We need to keep creating the work and putting it out there and supporting [01:51:00] each other in our communities because otherwise nothing will change. This is Alex and I’m done speaking. Thank you, Alex. Yeah. Does anybody else have a response before I sign? I think sometimes Tony was talking about social justice work warriors, feel like sometimes we can conflate that, white people are the majority in this industry, but we’re not, this is not a fight against whiteness.
It’s a fight for equality. Those are two very different things. And I think Henry Golding may have fallen in the cross. Hairs are a lot of mixed race, especially white and Asian actors have fallen into that, those cross hairs. When really I see it as, just what was said before if this is a win for all of us more, we have lifts other mixed Asians.
The more other mixed Asians can enter the scene that wind for Henry Golding is a win for me. Like I then maybe I’m one step closer [01:52:00] to being in crazy rich Asians, as a mixed Asian, it’s not a wage in verse Blasian thing, but it’s very easy to fall into that understanding of things. But once again, that’s the system and how it has worked so deeply in our minds to make us fight against each other and think that we’re so justified in that fight when really we’re not fighting for what we’re actually fighting for, which is equality.
So I agree that it’s a case by case basis and when people are put in those positions, we’ve got to remember that. The people who are creating it are making these decisions. The actors are grateful for the opportunity. So even when we point the blame, like who are we really blaming? That’s also something that we really got to think about when we our society needs to think about when they have conversations, like the conversation about Henry Golding and mixed race, Asians playing these Asian roles.[01:53:00]
No, I think that’s huge. I think that’s the whole thing is that it’s like who has the power in a situation, right? It’s like when we talk about power in the system, it’s like is this racist because they have the power and they’re talking down to us. But, I think in the other sense too, is like this whole, the idea of mixed playing full roles lot of times is that, I was at, I had a conversation, a club room a couple of weeks back a while ago.
And then someone hit someone DMV in the back and they’re like, why are there only half Asians on here? And I was like, what does it matter it degree? And it’s we just had the people who were on the panel. It wasn’t because someone was half. And I was just because that’s what it was. And that felt, I don’t know, that felt discriminatory that this is what we are.
It just doesn’t because we weren’t even talking about identity. At that point, we was talking about tacking and the industry was representation [01:54:00] as a whole. And I think that was something that there was I felt a little hurt by that, but, I feel like Henry Golding and Andrew Kojak, no one said anything about Andrew Koji either.
Like he’s basically playing Bruce Lee in this story of warrior. And no one said anything about that. And I think that’s hard because as a mixed person, if I. I’m generally Japanese passing. I might not look full Japanese and Japanese are like, nah, you’re not full. What are you? But I’m like, that’s okay.
At the same time, the Hollywood is the perspective of the accent. I can play east Asia to a certain degree. So I was in a role in, or going out for something you can just, as a background, what I want somebody to say you can’t play that role because you’re half like, but I’m also, again, like Ryan says, I’m full Asian and full.
Why does matter? And if I can narrow it to a degree, Hollywood is playing like magic and appearances. So if I look a certain part and I can play it, does it really [01:55:00] matter to a degree? But yeah. I’m more mad. Whoever said it earlier about the white woman who explained that to have Asian girl that irks me a little more, I don’t know how it would feel if it, if full, somebody was quote unquote, full Asian to play half mixed.
If that can be a thing, I don’t even know it as Islamic condor mix. I’m not adopted. So that’s interesting it’s itself because they get multicultural or identity in any differences in crisis. So I know that it is a case by case and, I think we should open up that competition a little more some other time as well because cross ethnic identities and cross identity roles to play.
Like how does that, what is the industry doing to change then? How. He’s going to change over time. I feel like everyone
Tony Giroux: should take a 23andme test when it comes to casting. If they, if it becomes like specific about, oh, he can only play like Caucasian, if you’re Caucasian. Okay. [01:56:00] Let’s do a DNA and meet or whatever that test is, because ultimately I think we all become, we’re all a mix of something.
Masami: Yeah. And it’s and that’s like too far, right? We don’t want to be typecast only to the roles you were only mixed, especially right now. And we have not enough jobs, but at the same time, it’s also about play. Cause if we only said Romeo and Juliet can only be played by English, white people, we’d never have those opportunities to play those.
So it’s very, it doesn’t mean he’s a nuanced conversations about it. Alex, you had something else in. I was also going to say, I feel like there’s also a big difference between whether you’re half or not, but Asian Americans versus Asian Asians, like you are from the motherland. And I think that there is a nuance there when it comes to what roles people are comfortable with portraying as well.
I know for myself, like I’m not necessarily comfortable playing someone that it has to have an accent, unless I it’s not, if it’s like a first gen immigrant story, it’s stuff [01:57:00] like that. Just because like I’m so far removed from my Japanese language culture. No one in my family speaks Japanese.
So that’s just for me personally. But I think a lot of people have to take it on by personal what they’re comfortable with this too. Yeah. Oh yeah. I would, I don’t think I ever feel like comfortable playing someone. Yeah. For Asian, but from an Asian I’ve never gone to Japan and try to play roles there because it’s just, that’s just wrong.
I’d be the hakujin coming in and be like, Hey, you’re an American gin. And you’re definitely not Japanese or American. I’m like, yeah, pretty much. But playing roles that are Asian American, like I can, I feel like that would be, that’s okay with me because if we’re, if I’m speaking English and that’s my role and that’s my background, that makes a lot of sense.
But yeah, there is that identity difference between those, this cultural backgrounds. But also I feel like even if I had to put on an accent, I’d feel like that’s what I’d probably do it wrong, but also like appropriation of even my own [01:58:00] identity to take on a role that doesn’t feel right.
I don’t know. Anybody else have ran a response to this question or before we get to it, I just want to say a devil’s advocate here. I have a best friend who I went to grad school with for acting and he’s playing a Russian on the show and ain’t nobody, they’re not having these conversations. You know what I mean?
There’s a respect and a reverence that we have. And I think that there is more wiggle room than maybe we allow ourselves because we really are those things. We really are those things. And I feel like we’re allowed to do those things, but that’s just how I feel. And but we honor the people that actually come from those environments and that’s important too, but I just wanted to throw that, that devil’s advocacy in there.
To add something. Yeah, go ahead and go with conversation and then we’re going to move to no, we’ll move to Luke. He’s in waiting patient. Oh, sorry. No, I just want to add [01:59:00] what I think that what people perceive as the problem with the whole Henry Golding situation is actually two things. I think the first thing is.
Is that it makes it look like it for Hollywood, like being mixed is more sellable than being, full Asian, if that makes sense. And that’s what frustrates people, I’m full Filipino, but I definitely feel that insecurity as an actor to look more mixed, opposed to look fully Filipino.
So that’s the first thing. And then I think a second thing that people were frustrated about is more in terms of from an acting standpoint, like actors put so much work into their craft and, decades of training and then Henry Golding was a TV host that got an, a major acting job [02:00:00] and crazy rich Asians.
No, I agree. Kian, thank you for ramp that point. Cause yeah, that was the struggle is that people feel like, or Hollywood sees like mixes, ethnically ambiguous. You’re looking more white passing before. I dunno if it’s just that typecasting of this or I don’t even know what their, how much of where the word lies into that.
But they, there is that trend of, especially like issues like Asian male roles. Like you can’t be full Asian, gotta be a little mixed. And I don’t like that either. I don’t like that they would cast roles like that because someone doesn’t look or like you look too Asian and what does that have to do with anything?
Why doesn’t that work for somebody? I totally agree. And it’s just there’s a lot Nandi wants us to, so thank you for bringing that up. But yes, now that we’re moving on to, what’s going to our Q and a Luke Luke Jensen, how are you doing today? Thank you for coming up to us.[02:01:00]
Great. Thank you. Thanks. For putting this on I feel like I’ve not been in a room with this many hoppers, unless it’s a family reunion. And which has led to some Epiphanes for the last, our 10 for instance I didn’t realize some of the things that were actually what feels like common to this Hoppa experience.
For instance, it seems like a lot of people have touched on like a theme of doubt, whether that’s current or in the past, doubting your own story or your own authenticity. And I feel like a lot of that does come from, lack of representation and in a way where, we’ve talked about Hollywood wanting mixed faces, but it doesn’t feel like they want mixed stories.
And I feel like those are two very different things, like for instance, maybe this is a blind spot, but my name is Luke Fujimoto Jensen. And I don’t, I’d never heard anybody who had a name that sounded like mine in mainstream media as a fictional character until Maya [02:02:00] ECE Peters in pen 15.
And that was two years ago, that was the first time I had heard a name like that. And I didn’t even realize that I’d never heard a name like that in media until I heard one and realized, whoa, that was like, I’ve not heard that before. And just never seeing something that simple. I think, I don’t know if that, is part of what’s casting this doubt, and that kind of a thing.
But I guess I’m just wondering if everybody else’s experience is that when they’re talking to people who even want to be open-minded and are striving to be open-minded and want to be allies, they still don’t tend to default think about mixed stories. They still tend to just by default. Think of stories in this sort of these clean columns of white or black or Asian or Latin X.
Because it just seems like those actual authentic stories are in any kind of penetrating mainstream way almost don’t exist, especially for mixed Asians. [02:03:00] It seems like that whole burden in those penetrating mainstream shows is falling largely on my earth skin right now, which feels unfair not to just our community, but it feels unfair to her too.
So yeah, I guess that was the, just the question of if people are finding that in their own experience as well, in terms of even when people want to be open-minded they just, they don’t think of those kinds of liminal spaces that are a lot of us tend to live in. Yeah. That’s a good question.
Good question. To pose to cause yeah. I, you don’t see those roles and having the roles put on one person, I, it was so heavily is daunting. And hopefully that they’re doing it well, and she, I think Maya’s doing an amazing job doing it. But how does it, why, yeah. Why does Hollywood only want it makes faces, but not mixed stories.
It’s it’s, they don’t understand. And I understand, like they don’t understand a lot of things with this things to learn. And I think maybe the older generation of [02:04:00] Hollywood just a generational generationally for the most part is that they’re mano Monarch culture ish. It’s I think you can only have a mixed person if you have two different cultures coming together and that’s only been increasing in the past couple of years, but historically Hollywood’s kind of in the older yeah.
Thirties forties, not even thirties, forties, fifties, and sixties, where it’s their parents would have had, have been mixed in that understanding. So what does that, where does that conversation lie about what stories are trying to be told? Because I would love to know how many mixed mixed identities and mixed folks and even mixed Asians specifically are in Hollywood executive suites, who are decision-makers.
It’s probably not a lot, especially if there’s not a lot of Asians in general, there’s probably less even mixed. So I’m wondering, when that happens, what other stories will be greenlit, what other stories would they want to see? Cause there is a population, a huge population of mixed identities that we’re going to want to see how parents and [02:05:00] their children and where it works and what stories are going to be told.
How well are they going to be told and in what, in how nuanced it’s going to be. So I like that a lot. Does anybody else have a response for Luke? I would say that that’s the responsibility I think of being in this industry and being one of the few and also being a creator writer, actors that we have to champion Maya, we have to champion Henry, we have to champion each other in order for that space to grow.
So I see it more as not ah, damn like she has to get rid of that whole thing by herself. She has all of us and we’re all working towards that same goal, and she can help us get there as well.
Hi, this is Jenny. Firstly, thank you, Luke for sharing. And for your question I think I’m still pretty new to the industry only a few years. Yeah. I [02:06:00] think I’m starting to reject the idea that I’m waiting for like a Caucasian man in Hollywood to care about my stories and more building my own team and giving myself permission to all these stories and just seeing the creators in this chat here.
It gives me hope that our next generation will care because there’s more diversity of the people in power who make the decisions. Oh, and I’m done speaking. Thanks. Now it will, we’re going to grow as even just the people on this panel, we’re all growing up in our Hollywood emerging careers and we will become those decision-makers one day and that’s how we’re going to, that’s how we’re going to change this industry.
So thank you, Luke. And I know you’re a writer as well. So then we get to have you on as well. And continue this conversation with you because that’s how we keep building. And as long as we keep the conversation rolling, that’s how it builds. That’s how we’re building community in itself and how the conversation will change.
We [02:07:00] won’t have to be have so many questions that are so difficult to answer because there’s not one answer, but we will have more, more thoughtful, formed thoughts about that’s what’s will come down the future. So thank you Kenna’s here. Kenneth put this whole panel together for as I’m so thankful for everything she’s done.
Putting this though Kenna, so glad to have you. Hi guys. I’m so happy. This finally is happening and thank you for bearing with my annoying emails over the past week. So I just want to say first and foremost, thank you. And this conversation has been awesome to listen to. But I guess my question, this is for anybody here, do you have any like advice or inspirational messages for the next generation of multi-ethnic and mixed creatives?
That will most definitely come after you. And just I guess anything that you’ve learned that you may think that could be important for them to [02:08:00] hear. Yeah. Thanks, Kara. I’d love to yes. Or anybody’s open for this, but I’d love to hear from Nam and Rachel, I haven’t heard from you in a few minutes.
I’m trying to think like what advice I have. But I think like change happens just from being brave. And I think, just knowing what your values are, knowing, what you stand for. And I think at some point we’ll all have a seat at the table and if, we might not always be able to make change, but I think, the least we could do is, bring things up and have a conversation and it doesn’t have to be, a heated conversation.
I think just talking about it is super important. And I guess my advice is to just have conversations, there’s not a right or wrong answer, that’s it for now, Rachel? Hi, it’s Rachel. Yes, just going off of that, I [02:09:00] think know your values, know your point of view, talk to people have a strong work ethic that always helps and, Keep persisting.
I think it’s, it is a really tough industry for so many reasons. And it’s really important to have a group of people that you can go to, to talk to. I’m so grateful that I have Naomi in my life. We talk all the time, a lot of times about being mixed race, just because, growing up, I, there was one other mixed Asian kid at my school.
And so I think I’m really now starting to learn more about myself and but things take time. My mom was a Japanese American actress in the eighties and I look at what she went through and, it’s not perfect where we are today. It never will be maybe, but we can keep heading in the right direction.
And I look to my mom a lot for inspiration because I see what she went through and what she did. And [02:10:00] that, that also helps me to keep going. Yeah, thank you. I just, we’re not gonna this conversation doesn’t end the struggle doesn’t end, but the thing that will always persist is the dedication to, and the ambition that you stay, stay with your craft keep building that’s.
So we’re all doing that and I think that’s the best way to keep the, keep moving forward, building that table. I think my advice is, explore that mixed identity. What does it mean to you? What what does it mean? What does it mean to society as a whole, to, from an outside perspective, but also understanding what’s the inside perspective?
What, cause people who aren’t mixed, aren’t going to be able to have the conversation so clearly if at all, but so what’s their perspective of. Mixed identities and families, but then as an inside perspective, what does it mean to you? What does it mean for your family? How have you [02:11:00] recognized your identity?
What does it mean about your family who recognizes it or doesn’t recognize it? Your parents, different cultures where, what foods have been changed over time and what’s the history. Even if I look at my, even the, I look at my, my, even my appetite for food for like many years, we didn’t have a lot Asian food.
I know we never had Japanese Curry. Apparently my dad said he made it once and my mom said it smelled, so he never made it again. And I remember I actually remembered this morning that I was making dumplings or potstickers once mom came home from work and she’s this sounds like a fart.
And I was, and this is going back to the old childhood, cafeteria thing, or like eating food smells. And this is coming from my own mom. So what does that mean? And it’s only going to come from an inside perspective. So explore that, explore. It that’s the story you want to tell?
How does that play into your [02:12:00] stories and what do you feel about that as the best way to express yourself? So I don’t know. That’s my thoughts and advice. Anybody else have any ideas and advice? Hi, this is Jenny. Firstly, thank you, Kenna for organizing this and for all your hard work and creating this platform for us.
A piece of advice I always tell myself is to work on projects that really speak to my heart. I think. You got to the point in your career where you can start to pick and choose projects. So for me, I always try to do projects that speak to me, be authentic. I really want to be growing up.
I also think a good piece of advice is as you get higher up in the food use to open the door open. Yeah. I gotta wipe you because I gotta talk to the people and just that I think we’ve all probably got to where we are today because people took a chance on us. So I think it’s always good [02:13:00] to do the same to other people that are up and coming and just to give people a shot and to be kind.
So that’s, I’m done talking.
Alison, do you want to respond? I was just going to say I think my advice would be just to know that you’re enough, there’s no right or wrong way for you to identify as a mixed person. You can change your mind daily, monthly, yearly, weekly. It doesn’t matter any time of the day. You get to be, you get to choose to be you and embrace you.
And I would also offer the advice of go to therapy. It’s amazing. Surround yourself with people that are true to the word that get stuff done. And when they say they will get it done and if you don’t see it, create it because I bet there’s a need for it out there. And I really hope that the future generations of mixed people will be more well adjusted.
And like maybe there won’t be the need for mixed Asian media anymore. [02:14:00] And I think that be beautiful. So I’m done talking. Yeah. I’d hope that there might not be any, but I will always want mixed Asian media to be around because I think that’s the conversation that the world will always have. Then, the next five generations from now, we’re also want to have this conversation and find community, even if it’s not in the form, that it is that the conversation doesn’t need to be had of what does it mean, but at the same time to find people who gravitate towards other people and the interviews that you do that ask the questions about being mixed.
And what does that identity mean? We’ll always be curious about people who need to learn and who want to learn about other people as well. And it’s a college, it’s a beacon. You will hopefully, maybe it’ll get to the point where it’s more of a celebration of us being mixed people, because I really do believe that it’s a super power to be mixed and to have these beautiful cultures and creates inside of us all.
So hopefully at some point it will just be, we’re just going to celebrate how cool we are. And honestly, that’s what the festival is [02:15:00] about. So thank you for creating the space tonight and thank you Kenna for having us all. Yeah. It’s so beautiful. And Ryan, did you have any advice before we move on to you, Yvette?
They all said it. My beautiful, mixed people have said everything, but I would also say that just be yourself, man. Like I think a lot of mixed people when we grow up, we think that we have to choose a side or we have to be something. And really, we can literally just do whatever we want and we can like whatever we want, we can do whatever hobbies we want.
We could play whatever sports. I used to think that because I was black and looked black and that I had to like rap music and stop skateboarding. And I wonder what it would have been like if, there were black skateboarders and mixed skateboarders around so that I could just be like, nah, I think I’m just going to skateboard.
And actually, so I champion just doing whatever you want to do as a mixed person. Yes. [02:16:00] You just, don’t just be who you want to be. And this sometimes racism, you have to play that factor as the other thing too. Tony.
Tony, you can go first and there might be back. Oh, go for it. Yeah. All right. My word of advice, borrowing from Nike is just do it. I think that not exclusive to the mixed race community, obviously, but like in general, you’ll hear people say, oh, I want to do this, but this thing, or this thing is holding me back.
I’ve seen it happen so many times. There’s so many people throughout my life and I’ve just always one, the lesson I’ve learned from them is to do the opposite of that. Just if there’s something that you want to do it, just go for it. Look, we’re millennials. We have the resources, it make something happen.
But if a giant studio is going to turn us away, we could just do it ourselves. So there’s no excuse not to go after what you want to do. Just do it. And then don’t speaking,[02:17:00]
Tony, I have to leave. So I’m sorry if I’m interrupting. I just want to, I just really want to say bye and thank you Kenna and thank you, David. And thank everyone that’s here. I’m definitely inspired and going to create even more stuff. And I love you guys. I want to stay in contact. But I have to go now.
Thank you so much. They used to do on the train. Yeah, I know I’m up next before he jumps off Ryan. And one of the things I wanted to say, we just really acknowledged some people and I really wanted to acknowledge just some of the vulnerability and openness that you’ve brought. I’ve even just read your Instagram page and just the, when you talked about being made fun of there has just been like a level of maturity and insight and vulnerability to what you brought to the stage the day.
And before you hop off, I really wanted to say, I appreciated that. I appreciate that so much. Thank you so much. Thank you very much. Ryan brought a lot. I [02:18:00] appreciate you always in this conversation to thank us and without further ado, Tony, thank you guys. Wow. Yeah, spread the love. I’m in my car, so I I might have the background noise, but yeah.
I would say be kind to yourself as at least I’m speaking from my own experience wanting, yeah, just being more kind to myself. And I think one extend
Tony Giroux: what David, what you talked about exploring yourself
Masami: and exploring what it means to be you. I think being mixed race has so many complicated nuances that aren’t directly available really anywhere, but within your own research.
I think our parents can’t tell us exactly who we are because they’re most likely from different backgrounds. And for me, those were huge questions that I’m finally, now starting to really dig under and what it means to be me and and as much as then, through that, [02:19:00] then.
Able to what, even what Ryan was saying about yeah, just be who you are, but that is such a hard statement, and that’s why I say, be kind to yourself because man, I think I’ve chased that idea of trying to just be who I am,
Tony Giroux: but so much of it is but who is
Masami: that? And I’m like I don’t even know, there’s this like empty void in me and I’m like what what is what is Tony?
Like? What does it mean to be Chinese? What does it mean to be French? What does it mean to be Canadian? All those questions that I think if
Tony Giroux: we’re patient and brave with
Masami: ourselves, then I think it allows
Tony Giroux: for great exploration and then to being able to bring that story forth, to
Masami: share with others and keep the S
Tony Giroux: the circle of love going that
Yeah. Very much. Is that the exploration and inner thought, I think even what Alex said to you is find your therapist. I definitely need to find my I’ll be honest. I haven’t found one yet that I enjoy, but yeah it’s, it’ll help bring it out and understand what it means to be you that’s the [02:20:00] whole thing.
The event is, it gives you that nice to meet you. Thank you so much for being here in a way so patiently. I know you DM me and stuff yeah. Would you like to add to the conversation or ask any questions? So just yours. Yeah. Thank you. I really wanted to come up here and say one, that this has been a really fantastic room.
Just, I’ve learned quite a bit just from so many different people and I love, how people brought in history. Just for some context, I’m in a lot of rooms where we talk about, race centered on different groups and it’s always such an opportunity to learn. About a different group and the mix of history and family and your feelings and your emotion is so rich.
And so I’ve just really appreciated listening to everyone. And Tony vary a lot earlier on, you talked about, the industry is the way it is and, the idea of, accepting [02:21:00] that, what reality is while still going for your dream. And I just thought that was beautiful.
I th I don’t just to be able to hold that, that, to be able to hold those two contrasting thoughts. Cause that’s often one of the challenges when we are people who are looking for, a quality is it can be overburdening, it can be difficult. And just being able to hold that space for yourself and also just hold space that sometimes humanity is not going to go with the pace that you would really like.
So I’m just really appreciative of everything that’s been said and the vulnerability that people have had and the wisdom that have been shared on the stage. That’s really wanting to apply to everyone.
Thank you so much for being here and listening to you’ve been here for almost the whole conversation. So I really appreciate that. You’re curious and open to, new conversation that’s and yeah, and it said in the back challenge, there’s a lot of parallels between different communities and that’s the, that’s what I want to hear more [02:22:00] too, is like all these parallels we don’t want to hear, I want to hear the differences as well.
And each community needs their own space to express those, but defined parallels and similarities. And I think that wounds is closer and understanding each other in, in, in feeling it in a certain way, even if it’s not the exact same way, it’s this feeling that I understand what you’re going through.
I think that’s what we want to hearing. Yeah. And I think that is so true. So I was born in Nigeria, grew up in the U S and so I’m one, one race. But my parents are both from one country that I’m from, but I have multicultural experience. Cause they would tell me you might be in America, outside the house, but when you’re in the house, you’re not, you’re in Nigeria.
And then the discussions that people have within the black community immigrants versus, African Americans and even I took Asian American history blessed to in college and learn more about what the journey was like, like pre 1950 immigration post 1950.
I purposely also, we didn’t have an [02:23:00] ethics studies major, but I created one and then I do DEI work. But I really do think there’s so much that has been said on the stage where if not to lessen in any way, anything, but if you, to your point, David, if you take away whether it was Chinese or Filipino, when you insert whether it was Hispanic or my, my mom’s I’m not this isn’t my mom, but someone talking about being like a friend of mine, cheats people always tell her she’s black, she’s Lebanese and Venezuelan.
And the frustration that she feels that people tell her on a regular basis, that she’s one identity that she isn’t, and she’s not really connected with her Lebanese background, but she’s more connected with the better Venezuela background. And, there’s so much that we all feel and can’t see. And so there are a lot of parallels and I definitely agree that there are spaces where we need to understand ourselves, but also I think that if we could listen to other people’s situations, we would start to see the parallels and see [02:24:00] that, it is not a fight against each other for a spot or slot or a fight.
Against white. It is a fight against a hierarchy that is ranking us. It is a fight against, a structure and looking to change it. And that’s something that we can do together and notice that we actually want the same things. And sometimes we don’t always see that right away and I will permanently land my mic there.
Thank you so much. Oh, that was beautiful. I think that’s, yeah, there is just so much that we can learn from each other and feel it and understand where we’re stronger United. And this, the system is, has separated us, has erased us, in every community, just in different ways.
And now that we’re having more nuanced conversations, outbreaks and outbreaks is a bad word for it, but breaking new breaking ground of new roles, you mean something like that? Reservation, dogs and stuff like people [02:25:00] are having new stories and when we start to learn and appreciate it and talk about it and see from different cultures, that’s when we start to be more United in self and find those similarities.
Yeah. Thank you so much. You bet anybody have a response and you want to ask them questions as well. All right then. Thank you so much. I appreciate you being here and bringing your perspective was really great. Mario dude, so good to have you back. How are you doing today? I’m doing good manic.
I can’t complain. I’m on a plane is it’s good to be here and thank you for the space. And it’s good to hear all these stories and I hope everyone was doing good. Yeah. Yeah, man. We’re doing just fine. Yeah. Do you have something you want to bring to the table or ask a question? Oh, here, man. Absolutely. I wish Ryan was still here because I know he’d be able to add to some of this, but I’m gonna try to figure out how to centralize my thoughts.
I, I brought him some points So in, in the book after Orientalism written by [02:26:00] bill ma Mulan, ISA, it was a quote by WT to boys that says Asia is the fraternal twin to Africa and the struggle against white colonialism. And as I’ve been like digesting that and digesting that in media and studying, study more on, on Asian-American films and Asian films within relation to black culture as well, like I’ve only seen like four examples, like faking the funk, cutthroat city, buggy and goop, which ranged from an antagonistic relationship between African-Americans Asians or cultural appropriation to cultural appreciation.
And I’m glad to hear on the side note, I’m glad to hear in the Henry Golden situation. Cause I remember years ago the whole blow back from the situation where Emma Stone was cast it as a half Japanese person for that Hawaiian movie. I couldn’t, I can’t remember, but are there more stories specifically in film of mixed race Asians specifically, and the struggles within that and how can we utilize those stories into bridging the gaps [02:27:00] between Afro Asian solidarity and even white and Asian solidarity and specifically within also the Wayans who essentially are the middle ground between a side of the co side of the coin of anti-colonialism and are maybe unwitting parties of the beneficiaries of colonialism.
How are you guys paving the way for your stories to be told of your mixed race struggles and mixed race identities taking into account and consideration Americanization and thank you and done. Dude, you always bring the deep questions here. I love it. Does anybody have a response for mark.
Cool. I’ll take one. If everyone wants to keep thinking on it. I can’t think of too many mixed Asian stories. That’s the problem too. I can’t point out too many. I’ve seen a lot of like mixed Asian relationships where one, one someone’s Asian and someone’s not Asian. That’s a conversation in itself, but yeah, I don’t, I only see [02:28:00] it’s like, when I see your role, even something like PacSun from never have I ever he’s mixed again.
I don’t see his parents. I don’t think he is as we see his father, but I don’t see his mother. And you see his grandfather, both who are Japanese American, but it’s they used it to that that advantage because he’s Japanese American and Alex is, it seems like Alex has to go. So Alex, it was so good to have you and thank you for it.
Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure being here for you all and meeting you all have a lovely evening. Yeah. And definitely Alex to follow up a mixed Asian media Fest. Memphis is coming up in September. So your tickets you, I yeah, and I think, but I think again, I feel like it was pulling up playing under the fact, but it was just brought it out too much.
It wasn’t, it was like, he’s more like he’s Japanese than he is mixed, even though he says he’s mixed, but there was no, there wasn’t [02:29:00] a conversation of being mixed, even same thing with them, Penn 15. It’s there’s they, the father’s gone. I E and you only see the mother, as far as I remember, he comes back for an episode or two.
And so that’s great, but I don’t think there was a conversation. So it’s just like representation, but nothing. It pushes the culture because of the representation, rather than pushing the culture, because they’re mixed in talking about being mixed, which is like a good thing and a bad thing, because you don’t necessarily need the story to be about being mixed.
It could just be without having it to be a part of the story. But at the same time, I would love to see someone who really takes that into effect that brings out both sides and has more family drama around it. We have family drama in our own family, just because of lost identity and all those things.
I would love to see more of that along with Asian and black and Asian solidarity and relationships [02:30:00] that aren’t, that isn’t the joke, but end of the joke I always think of that it was Norbert someone’s that one’s Asian and I can look, but it was like a joke about it and that was the end, or you can have rush hour and they’re not mixed.
Neither of these conversations were mixed. They just two separate, I think it needs to be more. Does anybody else have a, have any, either responses or ideas, because I think it’s as a, it’s an ongoing conversation for sure.
I’m sorry. I know I asked a loaded question. Yeah. Actually, Mario, can you, if you don’t mind, can you repeat the question? Okay. For sure. I’ll cut to the bullet points. Are there more specific, are there more stories of mixed race Asians in film, specifically the touch on the topic and how, and if not, how are you paving the way to tell your mixed race stories and the struggle of that in term with taking in consideration Americanization?
I think the Americanization of being [02:31:00] mixed race, I think probably plays a big role into how we identify. Like you’ll hear some people say I’m half, this I’m quarter this, and it wasn’t until a couple of years ago where I just stopped using those labels altogether, because it just feels like I’m a daring to, monoracial people just to make it easier on them when I’m like, no, I’m not pie chart.
I’m not going to make it easy on you. And I know that’s not a movie that’s just life. But yeah, as far as the movie goes see if I’m having a think about it. It was probably means that I, there isn’t one in existence as of right now. And I’m hoping that as I continue to do more writing both in terms of present more Philippine American content, as well as mixed race content that can hope I can, quietly break down the, colonizers lens on being mixed race, especially from, from my lens being built.
The American for those that don’t know of the Philippines was colonized many times. So I think, part of that [02:32:00] is just breaking down into getting to the essence of, what that part of my heritage is all about. And I don’t know what the answer to your question, but I’m going to leave it there for.
No. That was great answer. I can’t think of, I can’t think of one. I can’t, I can see there’s a bit of some shows, but I can’t think of one in regards to a movie or movies and I’m a film historian. So I’ve studied film as well as the 1920s and earlier than that, so it just boggles my mind in that aspect.
And I remember when I was having I was having a coffee with DIT, with David and we were, and he was telling me of that story about the the black lawyers that were helping the the Japanese interment camps. And I’m just like, and I had never heard of that before. And I’m just like, why aren’t these stories being told?
And because these are the stories that people need to understand. So we understand the unity between our cultures, especially in the climate that we’re in, where it’s been. Antagonistic or [02:33:00] combatitive like I was watching LA 92, a couple days ago. And just seeing the video of like the Koreans with the guns and the AK 40 sevens perfecting their store, crying about America and their American dream being compromised, just tried while trying to protect their stores from, AK the variety blacks.
It was just, it was a lot to bare my soul. So that’s why I was, I felt compelled to ask this question and ask them more, especially, and center it around mixed Asians, because that is a core of our demographic in this conversation. Yeah, dude, thank you. I think that’s the conversation we need to keep having is, what stories are going to be told and what keeps getting passed.
And sometimes it’s see stories get not necessarily Greenland, but they’ll go to deadline Hollywood or something. And then I won’t hear it for years. Like they just put it up for conversation. I think someone there was supposed to be like an HBO show centered on women power, like women, activists, and one of the episodes was supposed to be.
Yuri Kochiyama, which, the store [02:34:00] here and Malcolm X, and I would have loved to see that. But I swear that was like two years ago or three years ago that someone had mentioned that in deadline, I haven’t seen anything since. So what does that, what’s that going to be, Rachel? Yes. I just actually thought of a film from 1957, I think not a mixed Asian person, but a mixed race couple.
It’s called CYO NATA with Marlon Brando and, it’s from 1957, so it’s very problematic, but it is a love story about between a Japanese woman and an American soldier. And Neosha Mackie. I think that’s her name won an Oscar, which is crazy. I just learned about this recently that a Japanese woman like won an Oscar in 1958.
But that’s an interesting film to watch. And then another show that I thought of that looks at the mixed race experience is a mixed dish [02:35:00] and and she is half black, half white. And, it’s network TV, so it’s very on the nose, but it like thoroughly explores her being a mixed race kid growing up.
And I watched the first season, I enjoyed it and I’m done. Yeah. Mayumi academy from famine blue. That’s the right name, but she got it for an Oscar for supporting an actress on that role. And I think that’s, that film history that we don’t know about, that’s the stuff I keep wanting to push out.
We’re supposed to have graphics on our Instagram, but we’ve fallen behind. Because that history is there and I would, I’m going to need to push our graphics team and our research team to find more mixed people and see what roles there are that have been lost to history.
I think that’s more to talk about. So yeah. Thank you, Mara, for that question. That’s that gets us into a lot of different conversations that makes us even think more like what other movies and stuff are out there that we can pull them pull up. It’s really good. So thank you. Thank you for having me, man.
Appreciate [02:36:00] it, man. We’re going to get to Tiffany and David just wanted to say, again, thank you so much for the panelists. I know we’re almost at three hours out of the conversation and I haven’t been on clubhouse for a three hour room and forever. So I actually really enjoy being back on clubhouse for deep conversations like this, that aren’t that are, there is no one answer.
No, one’s trying to be the smartest person in the room. No, one’s trying to sell anything and do stuff. We’re just having a real real conversation about topics that really matter. So I thank you, everybody for being here, everybody was staying in the room and listening as audience members is, a lot of you stayed for many hours.
And so this is really great to have everybody and know, thank you for being here. Tiffany, welcome to the stage. I see you’re near the clubhouse, so welcome. Thanks, David. And thank you everyone for having this event panel on clubhouse. I’ve been on it once before and actually had a chance to speak a little bit more about my own is mixed experience.
My mom is from Korea, my dad’s from [02:37:00] North Carolina. And I was just curious, like I, I’m not an actor or writer, but I am a film editor. So I’m interested to hear from the writers of the group and any storyteller to be Frank. Cause we all are doing that. What part of the mixed experience would you want to explore?
Would it be like a psychological drama or a thriller. Would it be a family drama? Would it be a comedy of errors? Would it be a spy thriller? If you were to imagine having a protagonist who was mixed, what would that be like in a story? Wow. That’s also when you stop talking to your time with Mike.
Yeah. Thank you. That’s a really great question to bring to the panel. So yeah. Open to the panelists. Jenny, Naomi, Lauren, and Rachel any, what do you want to see? That’s a great question.
I think that there are so [02:38:00] many like mixed characters that I want to see on the screen. I think I think what it would look like to be a thriller, like a mixed kind of story and a thriller would be interesting. And I can’t even at this moment, think what that would be.
But I’m fascinated by thriller, so I’d love to see one. But I think the one, that Rachel and I are working on is really just like about life. And I think that’s also just super interesting is there’s just so many nuances that like have people experience in life. And so for me, I’m always, personally interested in these, like character-driven, TV shows and films.
And for me, like that is super interesting on its own. Cause there’s just so much to explore. There’s like family, there’s friends there’s work and there are those experiences. Like for me, it’s a half person just like never. And I think that makes for an interesting show.
Even if it’s not like super high concept it’s just life and that’s, I think for me, like why I watch TV [02:39:00] in a way is like to see myself reflected or Yeah. So for me life and kind of talking about these topics in a comedic way, I really enjoy that’s it. Yeah. I would say I’d like to see all of those stories.
There are so many different ways to explore being mixed, whether it’s, how Naomi and I are doing it through more dromedy it’s, the tone is more like insecure, just like real life. But a thriller would be really interesting to, and whether that’s exploring being mixed in the storyline or a thriller where the lead happens to be mixed Asian, that would be cool too.
I think. Yeah. There are so many different ways to see those storylines play out and I hope that they’re all told. Okay, I’m done.[02:40:00]
Yeah. Thank you, Naomi. Rachel, those are no, we’re not subjected to one genre or another. I think that’s really important. And I have to change my screen time thing. I think my phone’s going to lock me out if I don’t do this, so I’ll have to do this real quickly. And that should be good.
Yeah. And that’s my question. I think I’m a family drama writer. Mostly historical, but my, I think my niche is like family drama. I’m not a comedian, no way. But that’s something I want to play with. Cause I know I have family issues and like you might, my aunts are Asian and they’re full Japanese American and I have those conversations.
You’re not full Asian. Like you don’t know. You don’t have to tell me that as you really mean. And just because you’re insecure, doesn’t need to break it down in your own nephew to say, you’re not Asian enough. And I know that’s the stuff I want to see. Cause that’s what we have to deal with sometimes.
That’s not all, that’s never fun. And those, the conversations we do have, the other [02:41:00] thing I would love to see is like a thriller or a mystery of something. And they the kind of comedy behind it is that, maybe someone’s white passing or Asian passing and then they don’t, but they don’t know their parents when they’re looking for them.
Nah, you can’t be this white woman. It’s that’s not, that doesn’t sound right. And I’m like, wait, what happened? Maybe there is some history, they’re fixing you’re out. That they’re like something joke. It’s like the mystery is that they’re mixed, but they overlook it because they don’t think that they can, that someone’s mixed or, I think that would be interesting to see what that how does that play into the storyline of itself that doesn’t hit itself over the head, but he hits his, the part that if we didn’t know, we wouldn’t know.
And that brings out the storyline of, how those parents meet. Was it that the, if the Philippines and there’s the the army base that someone meets somebody and how does that play out? There’s so many different ways that people get mixed into [02:42:00] relationships for whether it be in for love or just in situations or war.
And then they either stay together or they’re divorced for different reasons. There’s so many different ways. So I think that’s just the stories I would want to hear and the history behind different ways that people have these mixes. No, there is no one way and there’s multiple ways of how people met.
So in me, I can guess just, there’s just a lot to, a lot of movies. Play into those things and not be so expletive about it, but also really important to the story. I don’t know, Lauren or Jenny any responses? Some of the ideas I am thinking of already exist and we’re showing them at Memphis next month.
I don’t think I’m allowed to say what they are, but all I can say is check out manifest. But for me as a writer, like I love speculative fiction. I think that’s my niche as a writer. The most recent novel I wrote, which [02:43:00] came out almost five years ago now is centered on a mixed race, Japanese American woman who has a cognitive ability that lets her see memories of inanimate objects.
And then race over the summer, I wrote a pilot for a writing program. I applied to about a mixed Filipino American girl who turns out she has the ability to turn into a werewolf on through her Portuguese father’s side of the family. Yeah, he just re really liked to see all kinds of stories during mixed race Asians.
Like just all kinds, whether it be in the speculative world or in just like everyday coming of age, contemporary dramas or comedies, or however you want to put it. I just want to see them everywhere all over the place. And I am done speaking. I can’t wait for manifesto to know that it’s going to be so many movies and I’ve never seen, excuse me, I have something in my mouth.
And just seeing myself see myself represented in some way. I think [02:44:00] that’s going to be really cool. So if you’re interested in mixed race stories, like mixed Asian stories, definitely go Chicago manifest September 13 through 26, 13 through 19. September 15th to the 19th. Yeah, definitely go check them out.
I’m sure Lauren’s got a link somewhere on her bio somewhere and places. Jenny, do you have any response? Yeah. It’s a hard one because I write in a lot of different genres. I think the only thing I’ve written that is specifically to do with mixed race was actually a short documentary visual essay, which was more of a reflective piece.
I usually do write in dromedy. I am writing a psychological horror right now which is based on my experience with having narcolepsy, but I’ve never thought of putting mixed race into an another genre of drama. And I think that would be super interesting. I did just act in a short film as through the Vancouver Asian film festival called switch city, which tackles mixed race [02:45:00] identity through a kind of a futuristic Saifai mystery.
And they don’t ever call people by their race. There are different rival gangs, and the lead is struggling with being part of two different gangs. And he has to pick which gang he identifies with more. So it’s more of an analogy to mixed race. But I’d love to see any genre with a mixed race character in, and I’m done speaking.
Every genre should happen right. Through every degree. And so they’re just, we’re everywhere, we’re, I think we’re just not views visible in the media. So it feels like there’s only so few, but really where there’s a lot of people. So yeah. Thank you so much, Tiffany, for that question. Is that a good satisfactory, no, definitely. It was. I was just putting that out there just as like a. Imagine if, or I don’t know. What if question, but thank you all for answering and I think I will check out manifest for sure. And yeah, definitely stay in touch as well. We’d love to hear more from [02:46:00] editors. We know we want to have strong Asian leaders adversely in the Asian culture, but also diversity within the the film industry as well.
A lot of behind the scenes and people don’t get to talk about. I don’t, I started out as an editor and post-production in the world and that does that competition doesn’t get talked about enough. I think there’s a lot of talk about writers and directors and actors and producers and execs, but really there’s a lot of editors who that’s, they create the story, right?
They they put things together and making images matter. So please stay in touch. When we can please join that conversation when we have it and Lauren, and it sounds like you got to go, so thank you so much for being here, participating in being a part of the conversation has been wonderful to meet you.
Yeah. Nice to meet you too, David, and also to everyone else on the panel. And it was great to be here and I hope we can do this again soon. Everyone have a good night. I, yeah, for sure. And last, but definitely not least David on how are you? And what’s been going on, man. Thanks for being here.
I’m [02:47:00] good. I’m fine. Everything has been great. So you talked a little bit about not wanting to lose history. So I want to give a little bit of history and then I’ll give something more present date. In 1955, there was a movie called love is a mini splendid thing. It was a story about a, an, a white American in a war veteran who falls in love with a woman in Asia.
And they ended up living happily ever after in San Francisco. In 1967, that show that movie was adapted and debuted in that, during that time period, it was adapted for a daytime soap opera called love is a mini splendor thing. The actress who was multiracial, her name is Nancy sway.
She is, has a Chinese parent and on one side and the other side with native American and Scottish parentage debuted as the first Asian American actress to ever be a lead in a television series and the first Asian American actress [02:48:00] to ever be a lead in the daytime soap opera was debuted as the lead of that show for six months.
She was on every day for 15 minutes, and she was eventually written out of this show because Irna Phillips who really pushed for her and pushed for her to be in an interracial romance was not allowed by the network to engage in sets things. So they ended up riding her out and the show maybe lasted another year and a half before the show was, or a couple of years before the show was canceled.
But she literally is. She’s a little known fact of history was like the first multiracial and first Asian American woman to be a lead in a television series at all a year later in 1968 light-skinned African-American Ellen Hollywood become a more successful lead in a daytime soap opera one life to live, but that’s different modern day modern day show.
I may have mentioned that a room before queen sugar has Don garner, who is half Chinese, which has a Chinese mother and an African-American father has been starring for more than five seats. [02:49:00] On the own drama series, queen sugar, I’m playing a mixed race woman also are her mixer. Although the mixed race character, she plays, she has a white mother and a black father on the show, but she is in real life Chinese and African-American, and she is one of the leads Lee, one of the three leads on the show, a member of a borderline family.
So she’s been quite successful in that regard, but in terms of the sort of, there was a narrative that kind of started coming out in the late eighties, early nineties and the daytime soap world where some of the shows decided they would add Asian-Americans to the show and the way they did it was to play the sort of story of the white man who left a baby in the Korean war.
And the child shows up at the door. These were the kind of stories that they pushed. The characters usually maybe lasted one or two years on the show before they were written out. And usually never to be mentioned again, largely because the white male actors who were playing the fathers, the of these children did not [02:50:00] like the stories.
They didn’t like it. So they would just not mention them again. But that has been at least in some form of television where they did try to do the sort of a mixed race thing. The actors obviously were not mixed race. There were full for Asian and obviously not have the background that they were supposed to be portraying.
But that was about as close as you could see there. And they would obviously explore the whole sort of, why didn’t why did you abandon me, that sort of thing. And once they got beyond the whole sort of story of feeling like an abandoned child by their, the white side of their family, they didn’t really have much use that was as much as the drama and those characters were generally speaking written out.
But yeah, I’d like to know your thoughts.
That’s wild. I didn’t know any of that. So thank you for bringing that part of the cinema and daytime history. I definitely need to look more like so propers and stuff, because now there’s a lot of that that we don’t look at as well. So thank you. You guys, anybody else have any opinions? Hi thank you, David, [02:51:00] for bringing that all to our attention and telling us about that.
I think for me, when I’m looking for media and TV and film, that features mixed race people. I also like to look of who’s creating it and who’s writing that content. Just to know that it’s not people who don’t, who aren’t from that background, trying to necessarily capitalize off of what they think could be successful or not.
I also think it’s interesting in those situations that the mixed race people were always very othered coming from outside of America or from another place, which is interesting. As someone who who has like a a mom who’s, who is Chinese Canadian and her Chinese family came to Canada in the early 19 hundreds.
So I think it’s interesting to see that those mixed race people weren’t part of the already American society. But it’s fascinating that was happening way back then. So I’d love to go back and watch those and see see what it’s [02:52:00] about. So thank you for bringing that to our attention and I’m done speaking.
Yeah, I think that’s the thing too, is that we don’t know how many storylines have been passed passed over or actually passed through in our history because that was the fifties that’s. That’s great. And then remade again. This is the eighties, right? So yeah, these are the stories we need to keep sharing and keep exploring and see what people have done before.
I’ve often looked back at the past passive like in my research of like Asian, American history, but also just Asian history and Asian cinema history. What if people have done not only here in America or Canada, but also abroad. I’ve seen the shows abroad about Asian Americans and it’s very different.
It’s very, it’s it’s not right. It’s just it’s I feel like that’s just I will be like America going to tell him a Filipino story without any Filipinos in it. It’s just different but really wrong. But yeah, that’s to see. [02:53:00] Yeah, I think that’s the biggest thing is to who’s creating the stories right?
Who tells them, and especially in today’s world, when we’re having this conversation over and over again, who like representation on screen is one thing, but it’s really the representation in the writer’s room. And the producers mean the director suddenly they have the director and that representation like that’s fine.
But the person who wrote the story is who tells the story, right? And usually the director takes the story, go further adapts. It’s really who’s who wrote the show in the first place. And you have things like move on where it’s four white writers talking about Asian stories. And I don’t know if anybody’s talked about it.
all four of the five writers are white and the Japanese American director, who’s also Hawaiian is other Asian writer on that staff. And he’s not even Chinese. So it was like, who gets to tell that story? It really screws with the [02:54:00] perspective. When you having mixed stories, you want to be able to have make.
Relate to that story. So I think that’s really important when we have these and who, and also who holds the history, who tells the history, my if cinema history classes in Holland, never talked about that. If they’re talking about Asian stories only it’s maybe only personally, but they don’t talk about all these different things.
They only talk about that quote, unquote classics. That’s a problem. It’s against the people who tell the stories, who keep the history, who continue to legacies, that’s, what’s going to matter. So yeah. Naomi, your Rachel, any responses to David’s share here. I don’t have any thing further to add, but thank you so much for the history lesson.
And I definitely want to explore my own history a little bit more. I do have to go and I’m just so thankful for this conversation and for meaning you all, and for so many of you staying for the three hours and listening. Thank you. [02:55:00] Thank you. Bye. Thank you so much. Yeah, we’re going to actually wrap up if Rachel has a response and we’re going to head out, I gotta make some dinner and do some more work, but yeah.
Thank you so much for knowing for joining us and Rachel you have in your response or no, nothing to add. Just thank you, David, for sharing. I didn’t know any of that. And yeah, I, wait, sorry, one second. I just go outside. I don’t know how many next Asian or Asian American writers were around in the eighties.
And Jenny’s point and your point as well, David, I think, yeah, it’s about mixed Asian people telling mixed days in FinTech and I feel good about that going forward. I think there are more. Mixed Asian is an American writers telling your stories and we need to keep fighting for them. And thank you, David, for putting this together.
This has been so wonderful. And thank you for having me. [02:56:00] Okay. I’m done. No, thank you everybody for joining and out of the listeners as well. David, thank you for your history lesson. I will take that forward as well. And you’re mixed here, right? David, my mom is mixed, so my mom is half Chinese.
Yeah. That’s the whole thing, if you’re a quarter, that’s the, people, I think I said, one person said they’re like, I’m 16 Chinese and it makes me Asian, yeah, it means you’re mixed Asian. And so you can come to the cookout and have the conversation as well.
That’s the whole, not excluding anybody here. I think that’s, it doesn’t matter how Asian you are. We at some point either you’re related to your family and your family’s with this with you. I think that’s what we bring along on our journeys. But anyways we’re gonna close out of here.
Great, wonderful conversation. I’m so glad we got to have this. I’m not, I’m also really glad that we had clubhouse. We have so many different people, new questions, different perspectives podcast just don’t work the same that way. And I’ve been in podcast world for awhile. So this has been [02:57:00] wonderful.
If it’s been like three hours, it’s been a great time, but everybody can join the conversation and it brings so many different perspectives. This has been super cool and I hope, definitely hope to have more. We’ll definitely keep having these as well. And it’ll be a while before we go, maybe come back to the mixed mixed conversation.
Cause we have to go through a lot of different conversation. But yeah, thank you so much for joining us, everybody on the panel, everybody in the audience who stayed for so long and we’re actually going to, we do these conversations weekly. So similar conversations about Asians and media and what was the conversation being had, who is who’s being centered, all of these different things.
And we’re probably going to move into Saturdays around 3:00 PM Pacific time, 6:00 PM Eastern time, mainly because one, your work days are pretty hard. It’s hard for me to stop work in the middle of a work week as well. And for our east coast folks, it’s going to it’s, three hours difference.
So it’s harder to have six o’clock to, or five o’clock to eight o’clock or now it’s 11 over there. So it makes people a little tired.[02:58:00] And we’re hoping we’ll have more audience people who can just join us on clubhouse and that’s, that’ll be the thing. But anyways thanks again for joining our strong Asian lead room.
You could find our conversations on a clubhouse here live, you find out this will, this has been recorded conversations as long as I have my computer works. Okay. We will have this replay on our podcast by tomorrow morning, if you didn’t want to share it someone who didn’t get to join the conversation, I know people wanted to join the conversation today that just busy.
And so that’s why we wanted to three places that people can continue and listen in. They’re not feeling left out and yeah, continue. We’re going to have a lot to offer in the next few weeks and months, and I’m glad to keep having this conversation. So Jenny, Rachel, do you have any last words you want to share in depart with us?
Just thank you, David, for being such a good host and to keeping the energy up all this time. I didn’t realize how late it was. And thank you everyone for listening in. I hope we can do this again soon for sure. Yeah. I know energy is important here. Keep it up, [02:59:00] Rachel.
Yes, I’ll just say thank you, David. It was nice meeting you, John. I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of a conversation with this many mixed Asian people. So that was really cool. And hopefully there’ll be more, yes, most definitely. There’ll be more and, definitely go check out manifest mam F E S T that’ll be from September 15th to the 19th, I’m hosting a couple of different panels and moderating a networking event.
There’s going to be tons of I think they’re going to screenplay contest and screen paint lab. There’s also a lot of short films that we’ll be playing. So this conversation was interesting to you and I’m interested in more content and conversations. Please go check them out as well. And all the folks on stage, we’re still hearing Rachel and Jenny cause they’re doing amazing work as well.
So thanks again for joining our clubhouse and we’ll see you next time and next week take care everybody. Thanks again for listening to our clubhouse recording. If you made it to this far in [03:00:00] three hours in. Wow, just thank you. So I appreciate it. This is part of my identity as well. So it’s not something that I’m an unskilled at talking about or something I don’t know anything about, but being mixed identity, being mixed Asian is a very different, I don’t know, there’s a lot to talk about and I want you to see them when we used to hear more stories and and just be a part of the conversation as long as we can still talk with each other.
And I think that was great about is that this panel that we had with everybody, again, thank you everybody for joining that we, had different perspectives and different ideas and there is no one, answer is no one wrong answer. And I really just having a really in-depth conversation about this was really fantastic.
Like you heard some people say here in the recording that this is something, they’ve never been, they don’t, we can’t remember whenever we been in a room with so many mixed Asians talking about it. So this is a, it’s an ongoing conversation. We’ll come back to this sometime. I’m sure. No, he’s in time before we [03:01:00] can get to it.
And before we get to talk about a lot of different things and can’t keep just having the mixed conversation but I also really appreciate the mixed Asian media team. So please go check out there. Ma’am fast at the middle of September, give them evolve. They are always talking about this conversation.
So definitely give them a follow. And I hope that the content continues, the conversation continues and that even you will bring up your own conversations as well. But again, thank you again for listening to our strong Asian lead clubhouse. We will be back next week with another couple of episodes.
We might have to do a little, take a little pause and hiatus as we yeah. Change, change hands of four different positions and produce a producer positions here at strong Asian lead and try to get things out, working out. So thank you so much. We will keep us and we’ll do our best here. So again, thank you so much and hope you had a great time and I guess there’s the last plug.
If you are enjoying these conversations and you feel like you’d like to support, we always have, our club [03:02:00] are a crowdfunding campaign going go on. Our website is strong Asian lead.com. I believe it’s slash crowdfunding, but it’s on the top of the website. You can see it in the left-hand corner and yeah, we would love your donations.
That’d be really helpful, but again, and we just need to do this and keep working towards it. We have a lot of stuff coming up and I hope that we can continue doing this because if we can’t continue, we might have to pretty be pretty slow. We won’t have the column to keep conversations, but I still gotta, everybody’s still got to eat Howard.
He’s got to get their roof over the head and I still have a lot to work on my screenplay stuff. I need my time back. But, and, we can’t, I can’t do everything without a team and I don’t want to not pay my team. I don’t want to compensate, not compensate my team for the hard work they’re doing.
And cause it’s really hard to do it alone. It’s really hard. I can’t do it alone. I physically can’t. And so if we come down to the point that we don’t have any more team members to work with us we are going to have to pause. So [03:03:00] that’s just the reality. I’m not going to sugar coat anything. This is what’s going to happen here.
A strong Asian lead if we don’t continue. So again, if you’ve listened to this podcast all the way to here this episode, it’s three hours long. And to a degree I’m begging here, I’m begging here for help. I’m bringing here for some extra cash in some way that he was sustainable, but really I just need the help really.
I need like some soap, someone on social media, someone on our route. I think we just found someone for our outreach team. Someone on our production and post and yeah it’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of work and if I don’t have somebody helping me do it I’m going to have to take a bus. So until I get paid some other way I still haven’t been paid this whole year.
I know people keep saying, make sure to pay yourself and we don’t have a lot of money to pay that. And if we use it, I don’t want to pay myself. We can’t use it my first something that we need. I don’t want to run into a problem that we can’t handle. That’s my reality [03:04:00] right now.
Thanks for listening to that for a second. I think I’m peaking this audio, but yeah, that’s I’m a little I’m asking for help. And if you’re at this end of the podcast, thank you for listening. All right. I’m outta here. Hope you all have a great weekend. We’ll be back next week. We’ll also have a lot more color palette conversations.
Hopefully pretty much weekly. I think we’re going to do, Saturdays and, I did to get watch Shang-chi, the legend of the 10 rings this past week. Thank you, Lawrence Yee. And we had a great discussion on the clubhouse. We can’t have any spoilers. We can’t tell you what’s going on. But I can’t wait to have the conversation open more open before and after the movie.
So when we have more perspectives, cause I have a lot of ideas and a lot of opinions and but at the end of the day, it wasn’t a great movie and it’s pretty much track and say. And so I hope that you I loved it. I hope you go watch it. But we will definitely have a more in-depth conversation when that comes out, because there’s a lot to talk about.
All right. I’m out of here. Talk to you later. Have a great evening. Thank you.[03:05:00] .