Transcript: Responsibility of Hollywood
Masami: [00:00:00] before we get into today’s episode I want to invite you to a free virtual table read.
We are hosting with a group of writers and actors on Saturday, May 1st from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM Pacific time. And it’s 100% free to attend online. We are however, using it as a part of our crowdfunding campaign for strong Asian lead.
If you are listening to this podcast episode, you already know who we are, a strong Asian Lead. This is a special preview episode and an invite to all those who are already subscribed to our newsletter or keep constant with our social media posts.
We want to raise $50,000 to support the work here at strong Asian lead. Find a producer for this podcast. Maintain maintenance on our digital domains, pay our staff, expand our research and further our mission. We would love for you to attend our table, read and listen to new Asian American writers and actors who are upcoming in their emerging careers and if you can help with our campaign, I would be truly honored and will do my best to do right by your contribution.
We’ll have the campaign running all throughout may, but this event is only scheduled for May 1st, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. We’re kicking off asian-american [00:01:00] pacific islander heritage
so please come for one table read or stay for the whole marathon now onto the show.
Emi: . I believe that one day when people have enough respect and understanding of the beauty of different cultural nuances that all cultures have. Then we can go to a place where you could place the chopsticks there. You could just have the shoes at the door and that in itself explains the culture and identity, but we’re so far from that in America, because don’t even know our own history as Asian Americans.
don’t know the history of Asians in Asia, either because world history lessons the U S are so sparse few and far between. But we have to spend that time. I agree with you that we have to spend time as Asian Americans telling stories that quantify or qualify the beauty of Asian American so that we paint this really full picture of who we are.
[00:02:00] Take pride in everything that is Asian American, and then.
Have that respected.
[00:03:00] [00:04:00] [00:05:00]
You’re listening to strong Asian lead a podcast platform for Asians across the diaspora to share their stories about what it means to be an Asian creative in the entertainment industry.[00:06:00]
Throughout this podcast, you’ll hear me and my guests have deep discussions about the industry, the paths they forged and their unique experiences on and off the film set.
I’m your host, David Masami Moriya today is the launch of our first podcast. Thank you for tuning in our mission has strong Asian leaders to amplify the creative power of the Asian entertainment. Diaspora, create space for artists to tell their stories and provide resources to support emerging artists in their careers. You may or may not know who I am, but this podcast isn’t about me. It’s about you Asian Hollywood. And when I say Asian, Hollywood, I mean the entire Asian diaspora across the globe, who was an entertainer, performer writer, director, actor manager, Asian executives, grips, and electric, or anyone who loves to hear the Hollywood gossip. We work in an industry that has excluded us for long enough. And here on this podcast, we’re going to break that silence. The Asian Hollywood experiences, a unique story that needs a voice. And that’s why we created this podcast and [00:07:00] strong Asian lead. We’ve got so much to share with you over the next few months and years to come. We’ve already seen an overwhelming response on club Allison’s December, and we wanted to deepen those conversations here on a podcast.
This episode is longer than future episodes. And when you had recorded this late last year, so thank you for tuning in, and I promised to keep episodes shorter in the future.
We just know that these conversations about the industry are so rarely brought to the public and we’re giving Asians the platform to share their experiences with the world. So kick off your shoes, fire up your walk and wash your rice because we’re cooking up some great content for y’all today.
I’m honored with the presence of Emi Lea Kamemoto
she is the founder of define change makers and inclusion and belonging, coaching and consulting company, and helped me. Co-found strong Asian lead in 2020. I mean, never imagined herself in Hollywood, but when the opportunity to join CAS human resource team, as an executive of learning and development, she dove right in her time at the creative artists agencies and our time working together on a strong Asian lead, convinced her that changing Hollywood’s representation.
That stories is critical [00:08:00] to , making this world better for our future. , I mean, I created strong Asian lead together early 20, 20, right after the pandemic hit, we had so many great conversations over zoom that we knew that we had to take these conversations out to the public.
We’ve been understanding what the Asian, Asian entertainment industry looks like and gathered the data to understand what it could look like in the future. .
Since then she’s moved on to her own entrepreneur adventures, but in the time that we worked together, we recorded many episodes together as cohost. So in future episodes, you will hear, I mean, I have more conversations one-on-one and to see what the landscape of Asian Hollywood looks like and what we can doing to change the future.
She’s a wonderful friend and an amazing business partner.
Every week we had hours of conversation together and I had just enjoyed every single one of them. I learned something new and we had discussions. I went so deep, we couldn’t record them all. And so,
I can’t wait to share this episode with you and a few episodes further with us and you’ll hear more of her in the future.[00:09:00]
Masami: With that being said, here is my conversation with Emmy lay, a common motto about the responsibility of Hollywood recorded November 2nd. This is a new podcast for us, but this is not a new conversation. Oh no, no, no, because we’ve been talking about this for months. Not only the podcast that we’ve been talking about, but the Hollywood industry within relation to Asian America, because as to Asian Americans, we’ve been looking at the industry from a sense of where are all the Asians, because as even if we’ve gone through strides of crazy rich Asians, the farewell parasite fresh off the boat, there’s still the percentage of Asian Americans who are not.
Being seen on screen and even the Asian scene on screen, aren’t always Asian American. And that’s, what’s a little troubling to me because as an Asian American who watches TV and film I don’t see myself and I don’t [00:10:00] see my culture being related even as an Asian-American, but more specifically as a Japanese American, because there are just some nuances that I don’t see.
And then. When society looks at Asian Americans on the screen, they see me as Asian. They don’t see me as Japanese American.
Emi: been having this conversation for hours on end over the course of 2020, because the lack of fair, accurate. Representation of our lived experiences and the lived experiences of other Asian-Americans within our own friend, community has impacted our lives. oftentimes the characters are given to Asian-American actors and actresses are very one dimensional, failing to cover the complexity and nuances of our own identities. And we’ve spoken a lot about how stereotypes impact the psychology and psyche of.
The individuals who have negative stereotypes against them. And if we are not [00:11:00] seeing the complexity of our characters and experiences on TV that can affect how complex and nuanced we think that we are.
Masami: It’s the negative stereotypes that we see about Asian-Americans, but it’s also the model minority myth of the positive stereotypes that we see, because not only are we seeing things like, Asians are bad drivers or . They don’t speak enough English, but by showing America, that they’re extra good at math and that they’re
or that they’re only doctors and lawyers, People assume that’s, you’re good at that. That you’re always good at that. People think I’m really good at great at math, I’m not bad at math, but I’m not like a genius. . I have to go find a calculator somewhere for every simple problem. It doesn’t matter, because of entertainment says that every Asian is great at math.
Emi: of kids struggle when they’re be being made fun of, because they don’t fit this
I’m getting an
they go usually you’re Asian, you were
Emi: to be good
Masami: at math. Like you just [00:12:00] get that. And that’s also harmful. And so even. Just the model minority myth. And for those who don’t know what the model minority myth, it was created by white sociologists that said the Asian Americans, Japanese Americans specifically at the time, they are good at these things.
And that’s why they are prospering
Emi: at integrating into society at Listening to they’re told. because the Asians they assimilate more the assimilate, they do their jobs to keep their heads down. They do the work, they are aligned to whiteness, right?
and by law, they were more aligned to whiteness. For many years, Asians were given more privileges than black Americans.
In 1965, the immigration laws. Allowed Asian-American immigrants back into the United States when, after many years of zero immigration of Asian-Americans, but same law that allowed for highly educated Asian-Americans to enter the [00:13:00] country actually also allowed in highly educated from Germany, Sweden, all these countries in Europe.
Emi: However, Biggest physical difference that American saw was yellow wave of immigrants of highly educated immigrants entering into suburban neighborhoods and going to good schools in the United States. Thus perpetuating this idea that Asian Americans or Asians were of a
Masami: They’re only going to send the best of the best, Only in America was only allowing in the best of the best,
idea that there’s a model minority,
Masami: right? So you can be a doctor in India, but when you come here and you have to get taxi driver, Like you just wouldn’t get those jobs because once you did come in, you weren’t allowed to have those jobs that you would be good at because of racism.
So why are we talking about this? Cause that’s a context to understand the entertainment industry cause it’s reflective of what society is. And if society is only being told what the entertainment industry [00:14:00] wants us to know, and Asian-Americans are not being portrayed. As human or as people with complexities and flaws that have strengths then
we need to start advocating for ourselves and saying, this is who we are. And we can’t just be doing it by one film or one thing and saying crazy. Rich Asians made a lot of money. Then we broke the barriers we won. No, that is just a band-aid for 2018. Because after that, what else really happened?
Few other movies per year. But. The critical mass of Asian Americans in America and the smaller percentage of the creatives who were coming out, aren’t getting enough voice. So many of my friends who are Asian-American, who were trying to make their dues and do their thing. Aren’t getting to the mainstream.
And if we had more people getting to the mainstream and doing the things, society would see us Asian Americans as a part of American society, instead of go back to China or go home, don’t think we belong here. [00:15:00] Natural foreigner syndrome right there, petrol Warner syndrome saying that , you don’t belong in America because you don’t look American.
And what does that mean? So we have to change that. And I think, and the way I see it in my philosophy is that we change it through the entertainment industry, because then if we have enough, we see enough in this. If seeing is believing, then we’re going to see the
american society entertainment will look more like American society in real life. That’s why we’re doing this podcast because we’ve been talking about this same topic over and over again, into great depth, but we haven’t really recorded it in a
,really high performance value.
Emi: and we don’t only want to talk about the problems within the entertainment industry. We want to be a part of the solution. only way we’re going to get there is to re-imagine how we can organize the very powerful influence of entertainment.
Toward social change. We know that there’s a correlation between what society understands and believes about the world and what is pushing out there. So why not [00:16:00] be part of the creation of that message that’s being put out the world? What does it look like of Asian-Americans are telling these stories are in the director’s chairs are helping find the talent.
In every part of the entertainment industry, when we are the ones that are creating the messaging of our experiences and our stories, it’s going to be the most authentic. It’s going to be the most correct and nuanced, and it’s going to impact the minds of Americans and hopefully the world as well, because that is the power of the entertainment industry in America.
And it’s its obligation I believe. And we both believe the industry is obligation is to make sure the world a better place, because if the entertainment industry is guiding what we think about certain groups of people and making us.
disrespect, discredit people who are different from us. It leads to problems within society. So I’ve come from the world of politics and I left the world of [00:17:00] politics because I thought the process and rate of change was so slow. I came to the world of entertainment because I believed it has an opportunity and an obligation.
much more impactful than just American politics to change the mindset of people around the world. And I couldn’t be more excited to be discussing this with you, David, because we come from perspectives, different seats within the entertainment industry I’ve been in on the agency side.
And then you’re a writer, a director creative, and that these two different perspectives while aren’t, they aren’t the whole picture. They allow us to see the different systems that have been put in place to push through certain stories and keep back other stories. And we want to imagine, what would it look like to be movement that allows Asian-American stories to move forward without hitting the gatekeepers, the walls, the barriers that exist right now in Hollywood to tell the full nuanced story of Asian Americana,
Masami: And we want the Asian Americans who are listening to this podcast to think about that as well. The thing about not [00:18:00] only just becoming the next best thing, but to really think about the industry. As something that the system. That’s system that has been built against us and that we have to not only, yes, make your creative things and do your arts because we do need to push that.
But we also have to fight this together as a community. Cause if we don’t find it, if we only find that single handedly, each person trying to advocate for ourselves then we’re not going to get very much further than the capitalist idea of I need to win. And I need to win so I can make the big
Box so I can do the thing to live, , but we need to work together so that we change the industry for not only ourselves, but our community and the next generation. So they don’t have the same problems that we’re having now, because right now, it’s so hard to get into a writer’s room or.
Be in a place that is predominantly Asian. I almost, every time I’m in a room or in this, on a set, I’m the only Asian
Emi: That’s a weird ratio for America and for Los Angeles in particular.
Masami: Very weird. Yeah, exactly. California. It’s [00:19:00] like most populations of Asians in the United States.
If I’m not, if I’m not.
Exactly. And that’s the most concentrated of it. And if we’re all in Southern California being in LA, like we need to start having , these conversations about this, because if we don’t start the conversation, we’re not really talking about it. We’re just trying to do ourselves, do our dura thing.
We both taken our side our jobs as we have in the past, but this is now our next thing, because as much as I might be a screenwriter and director and all the things in entertainment on the creative side, I still think it’s an extremely important to talk about the system and try to change the system from the inside.
Not in the same way that we think that, Oh, if we become more than the elites will change the system, because once you’re becoming elite, you are part of the system. need to
and build a new system, build a new table that we can all eat at.
Because if we, then we all do that, then we can start bringing other people in to that thing. But until we start thinking coming to the dinner table and coming to a [00:20:00] restaurant all together and. Okay. Have you ever been in a room where you’re the only Asian and then go into another room where you’re one of 10 Asians?
I think there’s just a different vibe. There’s just a different place. And you get to talk about this certain things that you just can’t talk about in other rooms because they don’t get it or they don’t believe you. They don’t think you’re worth the time to talk about it. We need to start coming together as a community in that sense, and talking about these systemic issues within Asian Hollywood, and then start to expand that idea about all the other cultures and all the other entertainment industry entertainment systems within the Latin X community, the black community, the native American community, because those are having the same problems that we’re having.
Emi: Made advances into areas that the Asian. The American community hasn’t we all need to be sharing our tools experiences, mistakes, successes, so that we can help one another share our experiences, our stories, because [00:21:00] everybody deserves every single community needs to have. Its stories told David you and I are Asian American.
So we can only speak with authority our lived experiences and our identities. that’s why we’re working on this for the Asian American community. there is so much to learn from other communities and for us to share with other communities as well.
Masami: — Intro break
And we’ll get into what strong Asian only means to us but first I want you to introduce yourself, who are you?
Emi: I’m Emily, Cami, Moto. I am a mixed race, first generation, Japanese American. So my dad, my mom and I moved from Japan to and my lived experience that I was part of a majority as a half Japanese living in Tokyo, set the stage for me. Once I moved to America too.
Really become obsessed with understanding who I was and what my identity was. And let me tell you, it’s a lifelong journey. I’m not quite there yet, but I care so much about [00:22:00] identity, my career has followed the path of working in the diversity and inclusion and equity space. And I’ve been consulting companies a lot of different industries on their diversity, equity and inclusion strategies. I am an activist and an organizer.
I’ve spent most of my career with people and, in human resources departments and in culture building departments. But in 2018, I had the privilege of jumping into the entertainment world an executive at an agency. And that is where I suddenly began to understand that organizing people.
To make a change within an organization or a company just the beginning of the potential that, I, as an individual had. Helping people understand their strengths and abilities and helping them those strengths and abilities to make the change that they want to see in whichever environment they’re in.
Most [00:23:00] recently in. Hollywood and in the entertainment space as well. So really, excited to be talking about the intersection of race, entertainment, equity, inclusion, all of these buzz words that I truly love. And I’m
david. Tell me a little bit about you.
Masami: So my name is David Moriya. I’m a fifth generation Japanese American. I was born in Southern California. I’m a mixed race in my mother’s white, my dad’s Japanese.
I lived in Southern California, right outside of LA it’s called Ontario. Nothing much. We call it a cow town. And I’ve been a photographer in New York. I’ve been filmmaker making music videos, and short films.
I studied screenwriting and film production in college. And when I went to New York, after the 2016 election, I create a small nonprofit , to help other photographers connect with non-profits so that nonprofits get photography and photographers get practice.
And so everybody kind of wins there, butin that movement, I was being taught about activism and social justice and racial justice and all these understandings of how the American system has played [00:24:00] against people of color. I was pointed out that I was a part of this conversation as a person of color.
I did not think I was. Japanese-American I did not think it was Asian-American thought I was a white American. When that was pointed, that was me. I really had to take on this idea of what it means to be Asian American. And so I wanted to use my my skills as a filmmaker to tell Asian-American stories from a cultural understanding, because.
I had to learn about my culture through Google and through interviews and talking to people about things. I’m still learning every day. So I also want to portray that into Asian-American films, because there are things that you can be taught and there’s things that you can’t be taught.
There’s things that I can learned from Google, but I can feel my heart that certain things aren’t right. Or. Certain things I can’t find Google, I can only find for my community. And so to put that thing, those things into film and entertainment I think that’s really important for the community to see that they’re being seen, not just from the Google side, but from really from the [00:25:00] community side, the activists and Simon, he says like we build as a community to share our stories and being loud and proud about it.
Hollywood and entertainment industry can really benefit from understanding Asian-American culture from different cultures because of the, over the diaspora.
There’s so many of us, different Asians from different places that there’s so much to be learned and almost none of it’s negative. It’s all about the positive things that you can learn from different types of food, different types of belief, systems, religions. There’s so many things that we start teaching within the entertainment industry through a very.
Easy consumable way that we can start to learn about each other and start to get the sense of unity within yourselves. So going, wrapping this all into what strong Asian lead is that’s what you and I are doing is really getting the people, our people, our community, to stand up for ourselves and work with each other as a community to build a new [00:26:00] Hollywood.
Emi: The moment I saw that you had strong Asian lead as your Instagram handle on your website. After we had our first conversation on zoom earlier this year, you helped me imagine, what does it look like to make a movement of strong Asian leads within the entertainment space where everybody’s identity is respected, has a place to share from and has a place to benefit other audiences from they have a platform.
You and I met at a young entertainment activist event. And when you messaged me on linked in, I saw your website, your Instagram handle, and you had taken the name strong Asian lead. Why did you choose to borrow something from a big entertainment company that we know? Tell me a little bit more about that story.
Masami: I’ve been thinking about this Asian American movement very small bits throughout the past couple of years. But what I found was when I started research the idea of an Asian American entertainment [00:27:00] and what I wanted to understand what other people were doing in other cultures.
So I had stumbled upon strong black lead, which is Netflix is movement for black American entertainment and how they are not just one genre. They’re having black leaders and black entertainment and leaders tell their stories and say, we belong here and we need to tell our stories authentically.
And when I started to look at more Netflix’s culture, they had strong black lead, strong female lead, strong LGBTQ lead, strong translate. They didn’t have strong Asian lead. And that was upsetting to me because it felt like they didn’t care because if they’re going to care about everybody else and really push for this storytelling,
where are they going to advocate for? Asian-Americans.
Emi: argue that they didn’t care if they’re not putting money, time or investment behind it, they don’t care. And that’s a problem that we see across the board. Marketing budgets for Asian Americans are much smaller than the percentage of Asian American buyers in [00:28:00] this country. And already the percentage that.
Asian-American identity takes up of the American psyche through what’s portrayed on television and movies and commercials, et cetera. It doesn’t even begin to represent our community all. And it’s a big problem to how much think space we believe we can take up and what voice we feel empowered to have in the spaces that we occupy.
Masami: it’s the same idea of racial justice is that once one person stands up, we can stand up for ourselves to nobody can really tell me, and they will tell me that I won’t be able to do this because you don’t have any choice. You don’t you’re Asian-Americans you guys are fine. You guys already have parasite crazy rich Asians, but this is something more than that. This is something more than just one movie or one film, one TV show. This is the idea that we need to advocate for ourselves within the industry. That we are not a genre. We can’t just put a dash of soy sauce on [00:29:00] it and make it look Asian or get an Asian character, but all white
Emi: You can’t just have Christina Aguilera put Foxy or cat eye eyeliner on when she sings songs from Milan
and it be representative of our history, culture and identity.
Masami: And when someone says to cut an Asian storyline for their background, because nobody cares about Asian cultures. Do you say that then we need to start standing up and saying, that’s not right, because then you’re erasing the entire culture.
And you’re doing it because Hollywood things that Asians don’t count and we’re here to say we do. And that’s what strong Asian leaders here for. We are going to change the industry’s idea of what it means to be Asian in the entertainment industry and what the entertainment industry can do, and its responsibility to Asians as a society and community.
Emi: That’s incredible. I saw that vision when we first spoke in February of 2020 before a lot of the madness of this [00:30:00] year took place and. Maybe because of all of the madness, especially , the rising anti-Asian sentiment across the country, you and I understand the absolute need for a strong Asian lead movement to take place across our country.
we know the entertainment industry. We’re learning more about the entertainment industry we are bringing in experts in all these different positions to help us understand. How we can make that movement possible . So I can’t wait to dive in more with you on this, David,
Masami: So in the entertainment industry that we’re currently living in, what would be a frame of reference for people who are doing this activism work? That’s similar to yours
Emi: when I think of an individual has used the entertainment space to make up massive amount of impact on people’s lives. I always think of Maya Angelo. She first and foremost was a poet performer singer songwriter entertainer. But what she was able to do is know her strengths [00:31:00] and abilities and no, the message that she wanted to share and relentlessly pursued that in her craft she taught individual people how to believe in themselves and to push against all of the blocks that were around them. In the entertainment industry in particular. And I think she inspired a lot of people in the entertainment industry to push against the gatekeeping, the red tape that said, Oh, you as a person of color or you as a woman or cannot fit in these certain types of roles.
She’s one of those people was like, you can’t put me in a box. I’m absolutely unstoppable. And we look upon as a social justice leader, not just an entertainer. , she started her career thinking that she could be a poet
and . She spread her reach and her ability from there. Are there any particular examples, but you’ve seen you mean you are an activist, writer, a director. When you’ve been creating your stories and when you’ve been consuming all the content that [00:32:00] you do to do the research for your work, how have you seen stereotypes impact Asian-American characters and the psyche of the Asian Americans watching that content?
Masami: I think it’s a mix of things. Not only is it what Asian Americans on television and film had been written as, and portrayed as people like long duck dong that’s not what really hurt me in seeing myself on screen. What it mostly was are things that surround the Japanese culture that are being portrayed incorrectly something, even if I am Japanese American, I was born in America, in California.
My dad was born in America. His mother was born in America. Her mother was born in America. So we’ve been here for a long time. Some of the culture has gone down, but at the same time, I was still getting the whole chinky Chong. Your Charlie Slurs against myself. And I think that’s, it’s not even that the [00:33:00] things that were portrayed on television were bad against me.
It’s that? There’s the lack of representation and giving him the heroes.In the eighties, when karate kid came out, everybody loved wanting to take karate. So they all just want it blew up, but it wasn’t necessarily because of mr. Miyagi, mr. Miyagi to them was like all those, he was a sensei to people.
He still was portrayed as that Miyagi. Kind of a stereotype and it was this Oh, you missed him. Yagi all of a sudden now, like it use it against me. he was was perfectly portrayed as a Japanese American who was a part of the four 42nd, like in that film, like they still, this people still use that against me.
Wow. As a reason to make fun of me. So they knew I was Asian. They knew I might know karate and that’s not what they would use. A lot of people get the Jackie Chan and call me Jackie, or, whatever. And what’s boosts Lee’s favorite drink, like just being like, give me those things.
It’s always, yeah. Even [00:34:00] the martial arts was not given to me as a strength. It was used against me because you are Asian. You probably know. Karate and I did. So it was hard to be like, yeah, I do know it, but now you’re making fun of me. But I could protect myself. And so it that’s a struggle in there.
Emi: That’s such a good point. I hadn’t thought about this before you shared, but representation of Asian Americans on TV shows your one Asian character is knowing everything that Asian culture. They are meant to represent everything about Asia. Or they are Asian-American and their characters don’t have anything that identifies them with culture at all.
It’s not there was an Asian friend, the sidekick, it’s not like he brought a bento in that scene. He had the same lunchbox as everybody else. because the charactersthat were speaking worlds that were Asian-American had to represent. Everything about [00:35:00] that culture are you saying that made you feel like if you were to put yourself in these positions, like playing Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh suddenly you would have to know everything and you had to represent an entire culture.
That’s many generations removed from you
Masami: Yeah. I think you see people like mr. Miyagi, who were very Japanese had that broken accent and he did play. You ever hear a standup it’s super American, and it’s really funny. But. Like the people who were playing Asian characters were very knowledgeable about the culture.
And I just didn’t. So there’s no in between. And in TV and film, it’s just, no, half and half of each, you’re not bringing somebody part of your life into American culture and American culture. And to here, you’re not bringing rice balls into lunch pails, or bringing French fries into bento boxes.
Emi: Plex nature of our human identity, right? Every single one of us is extremely complex as a human. Regardless of race. When you add on another layer of cultural [00:36:00] identity, that makes things even more complex, but that fails to be portrayed when there’s only one Asian person in a whole movie.
Masami: And one of the issues between putting a person of color. But specifically Asian-American characters is that it’s one character and they’re from one country. So you have mr. Meagan come from Japan, but you watch most of TV and television they’re coming from China.
Jackie Chan has been on. Tons of TV, and film stuff. So people know China. So when I would go to school and there was China day, and I’m the only Asian in the class I’m supposed to represent China. I brought in the fried rice, like, we’re good at making fried rice, But I’m Japanese American that’s not the same. And then people will still give me, it was called Charlie for a while. I’m like, that’s Vietnamese, that’s this, it’s a whole thing from the war.
Masami: It’s not Japanese. people would pull their eyes back and slant them, do the whole cheeky, Chong, lean long kind of stuff. And that’s. No that’s not fair. [00:37:00] And it’s racist, but at the same time, I think it’s because the entertainment industry and how they portrayed people on TV to have those broken accents which is fine.
That’s a real thing. That’s not a misrepresentation all the time, but people in the world don’t take it as that. They don’t take it as a reality. And that’s, they haven’t broken accents because they know two languages. They’d take it as they don’t know enough English. Cause they’re dumb. And so they use that as fodder to say Asians is a stupid until you said, Oh, your English is really good.
I’m like, I was born here. Yeah. We don’t, my family doesn’t know Japanese at all. None of my living relatives know Japanese. but the entertainment industry, every character at least knows two languages. Yeah. If there’s never seen as an advantage. No. Yeah. And that’s a part, that’s the part that kind of gets me to go and say, we need more representation of Asian-Americans on screen.
Pushing for culture, pushing for [00:38:00] that culture, not just being Asian American, because you can speak great English, or just because you can. Speak to that side of things. But when you’re telling a story that you are Asian American being in that story that you’re allowed to bring in some of that culture, like every time you go into somebody’s house, you should be taking off your shoes.
And that should be just a little bit of a thing. And maybe they teach the other kids in the room that, Oh, why did you, why didn’t you cover your shoes? You can leave your shoes on make it a kind of a thing. It’s just those small things that like, Oh, she would, you want to take off her shoes?
Emi: The non-Asian kid accidentally sticks their rice, their chopsticks upright in the rice bowl, which in Chinese and Japanese culture, and maybe other cultures represents. that you’re offering to dead people and you could even make a comedic scene out of it where, somebody launches themselves across the table to knock the chopsticks out of the rice bowl.
And there is, there’s a moment right there where an important port part [00:39:00] of culture can be taught and shared with the audience.
Masami: Yeah I that’s the symbolic stuff that we can be sharing too, I think the other half of it is so many, I’ve seen it happen. I can’t think of any specific television right now. I’ll come back with one, but a lot of times people will give an Asian-American actor a role, but if they’re going to an Asian restaurant, they will still give them forks and spoons. Now they may not necessarily that, but they’ll stay away from giving them extra Asian things to make them extra Asian. So actually the thing I was thinking of last night, I was watching Saturday night live.
And it was nice, the ISA ratio. And when they went on dates, they’re having her old boyfriends come by on her date. Cause
She dresses up as Elsa and goes in times square. So she’s seeing all people who are homeless and dress up in different things. And one of the guys who comes by is karate, Mick, I’m like, that’s great. But you have an Asian cast member in that whole cast, the white guy as the [00:40:00] karate guy, I’m like.
Oh, I would have respected a little more if you push that. Yeah. Tomorrow, because I want the Asian guys who have. the background of being Crotty, although it’s like bad portrayal, it wasn’t a bad pair of CRI who’s crazy guy, but at the same time, you’re, they’re not pushing for Asian people to do Asian things.
Another example is the Simon Tam case in the Supreme court. So Simon Tam his band, the slants,He was not allowed to trademark the slants because slants reverts to and Asian derogatory term. And the trademark said, you can’t have that because you’re Asian.
yeah, other people were allowed to
Trademark as slants, like a hundred other times before, but because they’re Asian, they weren’t allowed to do it. So he had to fight the Supreme court for like eight years band members came in and out. But he finally won the case because it’s a freedom of speech and he’s taking back the term.
If everybody else can take their derogatory terms and use them in normal culture in themselves, you’re taking back the [00:41:00] term for yourself. But like for us, I might say Jap. And I’m like, do other Japanese people, we might call something this Jap, but don’t say Jeff around me you’re not Japanese.
Don’t, that’s not your term. That’s ours. The point is that I think we need to let, Asian-Americans be authority of their culture.
Instead of letting other people be 40 of our culture. And that’s part of the representation. It’s the representation, not just on the screen, but that they’re allowed to represent their culture properly and in a way that makes them feel good. And that resonates with our people. Not necessarily just to represent and relate to the white people, but to relate to us because they’re representing us in.
Emi: If they don’t represent us and then they’re just playing their white culture, then they’re not representing us.I couldn’t agree more that television and film has limited itself to thinking that the main audience for television and film are white people or [00:42:00] majority culture. That means lots of financial impact is lost. If we don’t even consider. The Asian community, Asian American community has a culture is potentially willing to buy that media.
Most of the world is Asian. So if film and television made in America told stories of Asians and Asian Americans. There’s a lot of buying power and a lot of impact that this particular show or movie could make globally on that level. But if Asian Americans to pander to an audience that is white, then it doesn’t Us as Asian Americans to feel valued as an audience, I agree with you if Saturday night live had let Bowen yang play Mike, he can also speak to. The problematic notion of stereotyping, or even be like, a Chinese thing and that’s a Japanese thing. It just take one line to make a [00:43:00] clarification and be a point of education.
And I agree that Asian Americans have never been allowed to be the authority of their own stories. we rarely have the opportunity to be the authority of our own stories. Rarely have the opportunity to share the complexity of our own identities research shown that when presented with a certain stereotype, people begin to believe that they are that stereotype and the most common of that has been. Two groups of young women were given math tests. And one group was told that women are bad at math prior to taking the math test.
And the other group was not told anything. The group that was told that women are bad at math performed more poorly on that math test than the control group that wasn’t told anything. So that particular psychological study showed that when presented with a negative stereotype. That became the belief system of those individuals who were taking that test.
And we have negative stereotypes, even the [00:44:00] lack of complexity of Asian American identity time and time again, presented to us on TV and film. So it begins to make us think that we are the nerds, mathletes, the. Sexualized female characters, the emasculated male characters that has, been shown to have a deep impact on the identity of Asian Americans
Masami: . I wanna jump off that real quick because I totally agree . We’re being told who we are because we’re not taught, Asian-American culture.
I think the thing is for me is that we’re not taught our history. We’re not taught anything about Asian Americans in America, we’re taught a little bit of Chinese railroad Japanese incarceration camps. And that’s it like. These things happen to them, but then the rest of history is just gone.
So we’re taught all the white American history that they, quote unquote, conked the land and did the thing, they made these achievements of mankind to [00:45:00] take land and industrialization and if we are taught Asian American history, it’s in college. So it’s after that. It’s after the fact that we, some people don’t get to college, and so there’s a barrier of education. And then when we get there, even as an Asian American, I didn’t want to take the class.
I felt like I was what’s there to learn. But there’s so much to learn.
Emi: There weren’t even breadcrumbs given to you
in your younger education Asian American history to think, Oh, there’s something admirable or something to learn there. And to your point about education about other people’s history and like the black community or indigenous community, even that history is taught incorrectly.
On purpose to make people think that everything is okay now that there wasn’t great injustice. And I think the same thing exists. Some of the Asian American or Latin American history, it’s the continuing injustice. And injustice of [00:46:00] just 75 years ago Japanese Americans were put into concentration camps or In the eighties when Vincent chin was murdered.
This sort of history doesn’t even make our so that we don’t realize that injustice is still an active part of every day in this
Masami: Completely and because white America has the. Over the history books and the education system. They also have the control of our Hollywood. So whatever they want us to believe that’s, what’s going into film and television. , this is not education. It’s indoctrination they want us to know what they want us to know, not what we should know.
Emi: Not education. It’s indoctrination Elliott,
Jane Elliott is absolutely a real one.
We’re going to take a quick break to hear a word from our well not sponsors, but we just want to uplift some great people who are doing amazing work.
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Now back to my interview with Emmy lay a common motto.
I want to read this article from the Godrej papers in 1970.
I’ve read this, almost a year ago and It’s called Amerasian culture by Natsu?
Through Hollywood. We wanted to be the Cowboys instead of the Indians as children, we wanted to play the Americans, not the Japs hop, not the rubber [00:49:00] through Hollywood. The lines between good guy and bad guy were clearly drawn. And who wants to be the bad guy? If being the good guy and getting the girl. In the end means we’re Americans not jabs the Cowboys, not the Indians. Then what is the psychological effect on the mind of young Amerasian children of our hope for the future, through the media, the bad guy, good guy images created racial stereotypes.
the racial stereotypes furthered the concept of the great society of a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant and the myth of assimilation success.
Masami: Thus media has been used as a psychological oppressor against the people of color. unquote that’s what they’re teaching us. If you’re seeing who the enemy is always, it’s always the people of color then society in itself think that’s, what’s true because that’s what they’re always being told.
So the darker you are or whatever culture coming from, you’re so different that you are the enemy. But if we think about it in the way that we’re [00:50:00] all human and we all have different cultures and as long as we’re not attacking one another we become this planet of people with different ideas and different ways of life.
No one should be above or below each other or just in different areas. And we ha we’re using different resources from different types of different places. And that’s where Japan gets the rice farmers to get a native Americans in the land and spiritually just because they’re different doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
And television has made it difficult to understand. That’s what the truth is.
Emi: The incredible thing that this particular piece reminds me of is that Hollywood continues to portray a white savior as one of the best characters. Tom cruise and the last samurai, Matt Damon, and the great wall, neither of those characters needed to be white there. Those characters could have even existed in those countries at that time and order for these [00:51:00] cultures to be sellable in America, we had to put Oh, white face on the stories is problematic because it’s telling us.
That Asians can’t be the lead strong Asian lead is a movement remind all of us that within the story of our lives, we are the lead. I’m not going to lie that a part of my childhood, I wished I was white fully. And for the listeners out there. David and I are both half white, half Japanese and David’s Japanese American and I’m first-generation Japanese.
So come at this from the perspective of white means a majority culture in the U S and the, a white dominated storyline that kind of echoes throughout all of our media and entertainment space, we ourselves are part white. And we are part Asian as well. Growing up in Japan, I wanted to have blonde hair.
I wanted my name to be Regina and it wasn’t until I came to the States, [00:52:00] ironically, that I really began to understand that I was actually Japanese and I could hold on to that cultural identity as something beneficial because. It was something that made me stand out. I was lucky not to have experienced racist, haunting as a kid beyond, Oh, you’re so Asian.
Which, what does that even mean? You’re so Asian, but when we look at examples of. White saviors coming in to tell the Asian storyline to be the heroes of that story. It’s made me feel like an Asian lead. Isn’t impossible. And if my life is a story, if my life is a movie or a TV show, how could I possibly be the lead in my own show?
How could I imagine myself as a president or CEO, anything. Powerful as an Asian-American woman. And one of the reasons why our conversations kicked off right from the start was because you had [00:53:00] grabbed. The Instagram handle, strong Asian lead, and have that and proudly displayed on your website. That helped me think, Oh my God, we can be the strong Asian leaders and strong leads of our own lives.
And we can be the ones to create a movement where other people feel. Empowered to be the strong Asian leads of their lives and not be influenced by everybody else thinks Asian should be and what everybody else pigeonholes Asian-Americans to be
Masami: And what we pigeonhole ourselves to be. Cause I thought I was white and all the screenplays that I was writing. Or for white characters, . That’s all it would all I’d ever saw on TV. And it was always in films. It was being the 500 days of summer. It was being the Joyce and Gordon and Lovitz and like characters we resonate, but those are your famous actors.
Those are the only who you have as famous actors. And then you have the female leads or who were coming up around the 2015 to where I was getting [00:54:00] into still white. Like you didn’t look at anything. Nothing was coming in through my ad space. Anything that was coming up through my screens, nothing Asian, nothing anime.
I wasn’t looking at those things as well, but nothing was also being targeted at me for those things. never thought I was going to write something about Asian people, because I didn’t know about Asian culture. Anything you want, Asian films. You’re just get this pigeonholed into this idea that they’re going to be foreign. To do, always going to have subtitles.
Asian films own gonna be martial arts films, Bruce Lee films, bad karate films, all these things that aren’t necessarily American. And so I never saw myself as an Asian American and I didn’t see myself as. Asian. So I saw w almost white and being from my white household, we also were very separated from our Japanese side of the family for family reasons.
And I only saw myself in my white family and they never treated me any differently. Especially since my cousins are also Filipino , but it became this [00:55:00] idea. That when I realized I was Asian American was during a protest and someone had pointed out to me, verbally pointed out to me and says you’re Asian, you are a person of color.
And it hit me I didn’t understand it was a person of color because I was never accepted as a person of color. I always thought I was the sidekick. I was never the leader. I was always the sidekick.
I was always going to be told what to do and to do it and I’d get the job done. Like Asian boy, I’m going to get the job done. But that’s what my role was.
Emi: And you had been called out in your younger years as an Asian-American in a negative way. So being called a person of color, and that moment, when you had described the story to me before, it sounded like you were being. Reminded that you had a space to speak in that room because you are a person of color.
But prior to that, you had always been the identity of being a person of color had been negative, not a privilege.
Masami: It was never privilege. It was always [00:56:00] a negative light to being a person of color. Cause I always thought it was coming from colored people and that’s where the term came. But when I understood that they included everybody included the Asians. Cause I, and we’ve talked about this before that I’m black and Brown people say people of color,I don’t feel included.
I don’t feel included as someone who. Resonates more with yellow. If I was ever called yellow, no, one’s going to call me Brown Cause that’s not, we’re all tan and to a certain degree, but they wouldn’t call me Brown, brown or the lion X community maybe Indian community maybe the native American, but even then people would say red, red power was a huge thing back in the sixties as well. But yellow power and the yellow peril that’s we’re in that category, but we never feel included because it’s, part of the model minority myth that Asians are better.
Emi: Because they’re smarter, they get the better money. They have that whole thing. So they’re not categorized as this oppressed group. To that model minority myth as well, where Asian-Americans have perpetuated the [00:57:00] model minority myth because it paints Asian Americans in a favorable light. Combine that with the fact that we don’t know our history, we don’t know the that has happened Asian-Americans in this country.
And being every variety of person who has come from Asia all the way to Northeast Asia. And without that combination of knowing your history knowing what has created the model minority myth, it’s caused Asian Americans to think maybe we are better off even I felt that, Oh, as an Asian American, I am better off.
So thus I don’t have a place stand up and say, Hey, are really bad Asian Americans as well, because I’ve been told, Oh no, you’re so much better off. So you shouldn’t complain. Whereas actually we would actually be way better off if we were all complaining together, working to [00:58:00] understand that there is a shared history of oppression across all people of color within this country.
so much more complexity in these stories to be told that can help us unite with one another to advocate for change.
Masami: And if we’re not being taught that history the oppression. And we are taught that we are the better of the races, quote, unquote to be the model minority is a good thing. So just take it and that’s fine. And that when we do protests, we’re given you don’t get to protest because , you had the richest people in the world no, that’s not true.
And you’re. Putting on the mind that the white people have said that this is who we are and you’re being taught through the television. That’s who we are. So going back to Asian-Americans and entertainment, that’s where we’re being taught most of our cultural understanding of each other. And so that’s why it’s so important thatwhen I gone to this movement to understand that I need to change what I’m watching, just to understand [00:59:00] that I can’t just be watching white culture. I can just be watching the 500 days of summer and the Batman’s I need to start also watching when they see us to the yes. Finding other cultures to see what they’re doing written and directed by those people. Because otherwise you get things that are just not they’re being portrayed something else. Yeah. And that could be the unconscious bias.
That’s going to fall into those things. And if you’re someone who’s going to say, play it like this, otherwise you’re fired. Yeah. Play it with a stronger accent. Otherwise you’re not going to get it. Or we can’t hire , two Asian people because there’s too many Asian people like. Those things will start to come in and really mess things up.
That’s why it’s important to not only having the writer’s room, telling you stories from the story level. And because story level is about emotion and if you don’t know family and how the family works, then you’re going to mess it up. But then the directors who are going to say, I [01:00:00] want this castle this way, I want it written this way.
Act it this way. And if they’re not coming from a place of understanding that culture, the backgrounds, or the nuances of that, or to give the characters and the actors, the authority to say you are the person to tell this story, then you’re going to get things that aren’t factual, aren’t even resonate with those people.
And you’re going to get something that’s very one dimensional and. Possibly a stereotype. And when you make jokes and comedy rooms, it’s always going to be something like that. I can’t remember how many family guy, things that I’ve seen about Asians who are broken accidents, driving wrong and making jokes with them.
Cause then it’s funny. Yeah. And then someone had posted up recently. It was like this white woman had said every racist thing on stage. You’ve got tons. She’s got her own special. She’s on Netflix. Why is that? Okay. So if, but if anybody of color did that against white people, what do you think that would look like?
Emi: For example, [01:01:00] the Blackish episode that aired recently from last season, it was taken out because it was seen as too controversial. And the set setting is there’s a thunderstorm outside, massive rain. Everybody in the house is afraid, but it turns out they’re not actually afraid of the storm. They all keep talking about being afraid of stepping outside of their doors as black people in America, of , police brutality, afraid of budding against the minds of peers in school, because they differently about social justice, police brutality issues not one.
Oh, and the. The episode features the shady King who represents Donald Trump, but they never refer to Donald Trump’s name And there is never an insult made against white people or directly against the president. Only insinuating that he is causing a lot of the division within the country.[01:02:00]
That episode was not even allowed to be aired Ripped out of the episodes for the season. And it aired later the year after the social justice movements began again in June . That’s the one more example where any story line or any conversation that.
Is had amongst people of color about white oppression. It gets thrown through the machine of Hollywood washed of its color, and then maybe spit onto the air, or it doesn’t even make it in the first place.
Masami: Yeah white people are afraid to talk about it. They have that guilt. They don’t want to think about this is what my ancestors did or why should it be talk about race? We shouldn’t talk about race because it’s embarrassing to you because that’s what your culture did. white culture has done that historically for centuries. And when we talk about, as people of color, people get so defensive. And don’t want to talk about
Emi: [01:03:00] And it’s been an interesting moment in 2020 to see. young Asian Americans talking more about own experience, afraid to walk out the door, walk down the street as an Asian American. And we’ve seen generations of Asian-Americans before, who have been afraid of that, Understanding one, another stories has builds this empathy and builds this desire to work together, to combat the systems that have strategically and historically been placed to marginalize us, to make us feel like we are not the leads of our life, that we are not leaders because the threat of.
All of these individuals thinking that they’re leaders like how could there possibly be enough space for all these leaders that mentality that there’s only a few that can be powerful is really limiting
Masami: And bringing that back into the entertainment industry. It’s the same idea is that. Black America has been able to break down barriers within [01:04:00] entertainment to start telling their own stories, become strong black leaders and black actors and really coming up within the industry it’s the idea that Asian Americans coming out to protest were given this flack of you. Don’t get to do it because you not, you guys are okay.
We’re, you’re a mob minority. You’ve given you guys get the most college acceptances. You’re the best money. You’re not being killed by the police, but then when it comes to things like the entertainment industry, we don’t have the same. The stance. We’re still w the one person in the room, if that we still account for all the Asians.
If you’re Japanese, you have to know everything about China and Korea and Philippines. You have to know about all those things, because you’re at the Asian. And when you are the Asian, you’re usually the diversity hire. You’re still not given the authority to say that’s racist and wrong. Yeah. You can get shut out.
If you’re going to lose your job.
Emi: you can’t speak for all Asian Americans when it says, Hey, there’s a problem here.
Masami: You’re told that’s what your job is, but when you’re told that you’re being racist, that point, [01:05:00] you’re saying no. And because we’re getting people like the Marvel people saying Asian stories don’t count. So cut that part and it’s. We’re getting to that point that Asian American activists are doing things for social justice, whereas you and I we’re working towards that same thing within the entertainment industry, because if no one talks about it within the entertainment industry, it’s not going to get done.
We can’t fix the industry by just giving them more scripts and stories so that they can whitewash it. We have to start. Building our own studio system to say, this is ours. We are going to make our own films. We’re going to make, tell our own stories. And they’re going to resonate to our population that you’re not going to understand unless you bring us with you becausewe know our cultures, we know our different diversity’s. If you had , a random room of Asian-Americans in a writer’s room or writers class. There’s rarely going to be more than two of the same cultural backgrounds. [01:06:00] I’m an Asian-American writers class right now.
And I’m the only Japanese American. We need to start telling stories that we’re Americans like as much as I want more Asians on screen in general.
I think there’s this, there’s the sense of Asians don’t know English well enough or not. Good enough. And that’s why you get these things, these white actors playing Asian roles, because they can play English because people don’t automatically think Asians can speak English because they go, wow, your English is so good.
And there was, Yeah. And there was a reporter the other day who had bad tobacco racial encounters at the airport. And one of them, one of the people came up and he said, do you speak English? He was like, why would you think I don’t speak English? And so that’s what people think. People think we don’t think that.
And so we need to change that Zeit guys to say we are American by putting it in the television industry. Not only just putting us on the screen as culturally ambiguous. Or just story because it’s storing, like it’s much a cultural, you don’t have to think about it is nothing about being Asian.
It’s just that this is a story, but we need to start [01:07:00] incorporating these Asian things that makes us different from each Asian. Cause you know, you have things like Claudia Kishi is Japanese and they make her a Japanese story. You don’t just give someone who is not Japanese or Asian in general and just give her chopsticks and or do the small
Emi: we’re not ready for that yet. I believe that one day when people have enough respect and understanding of the beauty of different cultural nuances that all cultures have. Then we can go to a place where you could place the chopsticks there. You could just have the shoes at the door and that in itself explains the culture and identity, but we’re so far from that in America, because don’t even know our own history as Asian Americans.
don’t know the history of Asians in Asia, either because world history lessons the U S are so sparse few and far between. But we have to spend that time. I agree with you that we have to spend time as Asian [01:08:00] Americans telling stories that quantify or qualify the beauty of Asian American so that we paint this really full picture of who we are.
Take pride in everything that is Asian American, and then.
Have that respected. And until that respect is there, until becomes a norm that we can think of a Chinese person, a Japanese person as Indian person, a loud person. And think I know something about that culture that I respect and I think is valuable then until we reach that point, we’re not going to be able to.
Just drop a cultural nuance there because our society doesn’t know it enough about our identities to respect us and treat us with the kindness, equity, and equality that we as deserve as human beings. Clearly that’s unfortunate [01:09:00] lead the American way.
Masami: Entertainment is a teaching moment. Every time we watch something, we’re going to learn something. And that’s why bill Nye, the science guy was just so great with learning something while we’re being entertained.
But things that we’re watching, like , historical biopics, we’re learning something about somebody. AndA narrative story that is fictionalized. It’s like a queen and slim it’s about police brutality and how they would look like if a cop was going to shoot somebody and you had your phone out and you’re bringing your phone, you said you had your phone and you bring it out and getting shot.
That’s a moment to learn
Emi: Yes. And feel the injustice.
Masami: fielding justice that you know, that you just saw. You saw that’s what happened. And there was nothing that they had done wrong and they protected themselves because they had to. And if you had seen that, would you say they were still in their wrong cause.
is that morally right? Like it’s not even about the law at that point is the morally right? And these things are the same thing. Police and the government are [01:10:00] still humans and going to make morally wrong decisions. And. That’s an issue. They’re not perfect people and you can’t treat them as perfect people and you can’t cheat them.
Masami: Perfect people because they’re white and they’re in positions of power because they’re in positions of power. You have to treat them that they can still be human and that we have to hold them accountable. That’s what a democracy is. And the same thing within the entertainment industry, just because Hollywood has said, this is what it is.
Doesn’t mean they’re right. . And doesn’t mean we can’t change the Hollywood system by becoming the people to be the system. Yes. So we have to start coming as a critical mass, not only just being. The one screenplay. I have I written screenplays. I don’t want mine to be the only one that’s great.
And that breaks a barrier. I want us all to be doing very well. I want us all to be taking classes and doing things that give us the ability to tell these stories very succinctly.
[01:11:00] And I think there’s There’s a barrier within Asian-American cultures that Asian parents don’t let Asians code is art school and tell you screenplays, and you can’t be an actor. All these things that were pushed down by our parents and the society that says , you can only play Asian roles.
If you’re Asian, you play these accents. And , your parents might not believe in you to do these stories because they don’t see other Asians on screen because they don’t have any frame of
reference. I think my last point, is that, the education system, when we’re teaching film history, we don’t teach Asian-American film history. We don’t teach those things. We don’t get to hear about those people. We don’t hear. What Bruce Lee did for the entertainment industry or Jackie as he fought again? All those things and how he wasn’t allowed to make the films he wanted to make, but he made the films that he was being paid to make.
Not only is this for us to see ourselves on screen for us to have the ability and the authority to tell the stories that we have, but if Hollywood is representing America, what’s on a television is streaming into everybody’s TV and to around their world then that’s [01:12:00] what. It’s being portrayed as truth. Isn’t that terrifying? It’s brutally terrifying.
Cause the only thing you’re going to see is what’s in Hollywood and what’s on the news. So that’s only the things you’re going to see. So if you’re only seeing the things from the white perspective that. Black people of color are the criminals and the white people are the saviors. Then that’s what the psychological thing in your mind says.
That’s the truth. So we just start putting that, putting our perspective and really champion not only, yes, Asian-American stories, but all people of color stories to be able to tell our own stories and our own truths, . You can’t just put the one perspective, you have to have multiple perspectives that is the responsibility of Hollywood.
Emi: And the definition of history should never be limited to one perspective. History is never complete unless you put in the experiences of all parties involved. And I think it’s that I’ve shared with you since the beginning of our [01:13:00] conversations around strong Asian lead is that I wouldn’t be able to be fully invested in any project.
Around building a movement in less, we were going to pilot. How do we make an Asian American movement within the entertainment space and change the representation of Asian Americans? screen behind the screen, unless we were going to share the tools, the learnings, the mistakes, successes that we have had with other communities that haven’t had, their stories told yet, whether that’s.
Stories of people, folks with different abilities statuses or with different cultural identities, mixed cultural identity, this information, this movement a movement for all of us, but you and I are Asian-American so we can only speak with the authority of our own identities we’re not going to be doing that perfectly as well.
And that’s the beautiful thing about this podcast [01:14:00] is we’re going to get to play around with it. We’ll be able to explore, bring in guests with different opinions, different lived experiences, to be able to fill in the full picture of what does it look like to make a movement where Asian Americans are?
The authority of their own identity is where we’re defining our own narratives and the legacy that we are going to leave behind.
If we don’t have the conversation at all, we don’t get the chance to fail and recover from that failure. If we’re not going to explore how we can
an intersection of politics, policy, entertainment, activism, organizing, then we can never, re-imagine what system can look like. And it’s a muddled picture. It’s a messy process because not many have been able to walk this path before us. So I’m excited to be diving into this with you, David and exploring.
How we’re going to make issues of race, issues of politics and policy issues in the entertainment industry, a [01:15:00] combination of how we’re going to make these topics, these issues a solution that moves the needle forward for the Asian-American identity within country. That makes it possible for us to imagine being the strong Asian leads of our own lives.
we are planting the seeds for something new. And I really love that we’re doing this together becauseI have not found somebody who is so activated to do something about it, because all I can do myself is try to advocate the same way, but to do it was to do it alone.
Masami: You get shut down. And as an Asian American, you get shut down because you don’t know what you’re talking about, I’m one person to a white person that white person thinks they’re better than me, so that doesn’t help. But once you have started to have two people, you’re like, okay, maybe we should start listening because now you have no choice because now we could be relentless. And with your skills, your abilities, your. Beautiful mind of understanding how the world works and empathy for other people and really bring other [01:16:00] people of inclusion and diversity and equity. Like it’s so brilliant. And so heartwarming to feel like we can move, we can do something with this.
We can really change the industry. Not only change the industry. when the industry changes, society changes because then they see something different within the people they’re viewing on their screens. And I think not only is that important and crucial for our world, but society to move forward.
Emi: You’re making me blush and I agree with you. We’re organizing, right? We’re getting more than one voice together. To have these conversations and society needs to learn this because we don’t want history to repeat itself. We’ve seen repeat itself in this year almost much. And that’s what I think makes this podcast necessary now.
So I can’t wait to dive in. To what’s next with you. [01:17:00] next few episodes where we’re cutting deep we’re calling in and calling out the entertainment industry because we not only want the entertainment industry to change. We see the possibility what that change will bring society.
This isn’t about making money. This is about having people’s stories. Be heard, having. People’s experiences respected and loved. And the entertainment system is the complex tool that we’re going to use to do that. So we got this, David, we got it with everybody else. That’s and participating in the strong Asian lead movement.
We got this.
We want to call in that. We’re recording this episode. November 2nd, the election is tomorrow. the passion, the sense of urgency that you may be hearing in our voices is because we’re living in a very bizarre year, a very intense week across our country.
We couldn’t be more excited to be talking about representing [01:18:00] Asian-American stories, voices, identities, fairly and accurately, because we’ve seen the really dire results of this. Having been an afterthought Hollywood and entertainment With a lot of the anti-Asian sentiment that has taken place this year that continues to take place this year, the lack of voter turnout Asian-American communities as well is related to this.
And yes, we talk about the systems a lot on this part podcast, right?
Masami: down with the system,
Emi: with the system, changing the system. How did the system even get here? If you’re interested in entertainment in understanding why this industry has been built the way it has been, why it’s harder for people of color to get jobs .
And if you’re interested in changing that, then keep listening in, join our movement, help us figure out what it could look like to have strong Asian leads, be the owners of their own careers and identities within this industry.
Masami: Stay tuned, fight the power I completely agree. Like we need to have a conversation about this [01:19:00] and this is the first podcast episode, but this isn’t the first of very many, because We’ve been talking about this for months and we’ve been trying to get a, an idea of how to get this conversation to the world, because Emmy and I have an understanding.
This is important to us, and whenever we talk about it, we feel super jazzed, but we can’t just be in a bubble of ourselves. We need the community. We need you to start having the same conversations within your circles. And We want to hear from you. So follow us on Instagram, get us on Twitter.
send us an email maybe we’ll have you on the podcast. We want to talk about Hollywood has closed doors against us and how we have to, instead of knocking on every door, we look to the right and say, this is all whole other path over
We can build our own door.
Or, what, why even put a door barrier on it? We can build our own entry,
Masami: Fill the doorway, get the Shinto shrine up
and say, go straight through here. Welcome.
I want to personally think Amy for [01:20:00] this conversation, I’m always so honored with her presence and to have this conversation happen, he was just miraculous.
. It was still during the COVID and , we got together and made it happen. and every conversation that we have together is pretty much always this deep. So I just want to thank her again. And I wish her all the great glory and her next ventures.
I’ll have more conversations with I mean, in the future, as we already have podcast episodes recorded, they just need to be released until then. This has been strong Asian lead.
Thank you so much for listening to our pilot episode. We have so many more of these conversations ahead of us. Please stay tuned for next week’s episode, where we speak with scholar and writer, Nancy Wong Yoon. As we discuss her research, exploring Hollywood structural racism.
Nancy: I think the kind of motivation for all of us to keep going is to see that here are people who are working industry, where everything is stacked up against them. Even now, like one of the actors is Asian American on Twitter. And he’s a working actor who has to audition. He says that he’s [01:21:00] still being asked to do an accent in every audition. He goes to. this is like, hello, post crazy rotations. You think that everything’s going to get better, because you see, you just see Steven Yamila, getting a an Oscar nomination or but the truth is that there are still those stereotypes for the everyday after of color. So Asian-American actors are still dealing with the same problematic criteria that we’ve seen, since the beginning of Hollywood
Again, please come to our fundraising campaign launch on Saturday, May 1st from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
Pacific time. If you are unable to attend, that’s totally fine. We’ll have plenty more events in the future. Including more clubhouse rooms, webinars and advocacy posts on social media.
Again, we are doing a crowdfunding campaign. We want to raise $50,000 by the end of may. I know we can do it. So please donate. If you can, at the very least, please share with your friends and family anyone you can reach out to that you think would be interested in the work we’re doing would mean a great deal to me and my team.
You can find more firstname.lastname@example.org or find the link in our show notes. [01:22:00] Thanks again for listening. I’m your host, David Masami moreover morphea. , and this has been strong Asian lead. Stay safe out there