If you’re like most people, you are probably fed up by increasingly ridiculous and infuriating Ryan Lochte story. To that end, let’s take a moment to spotlight an Olympic swimmer who is far more deserving of our attention instead.
Most American Twitter users were first introduced Tongan swimmer Amini Fonua in the aftermath of that absolutely horrifying Daily Beast piece in which a reporter doxxed several closeted Olympians.
The openly gay Fonua’s ensuing tweetstorm about the lives of gay athletes was both eloquent and enlightening.
You don’t know me, but I’ve been with you since the very beginning.
I was organizing on-campus screenings when Justin Lin made Better Luck Tomorrow on nothing more than some shoestrings, a little spit, and a handful of maxed out credit cards. I shelled out my movie ticket money for American Pie and Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, and even gritted my teeth through the (many, many, shitty) sequels despite my being the polar opposite of these film franchises’ target demographics. I was there for you in Flashforwardand Sleepy Hollow and Selfie. I have supported you for over a decade as an immensely talented actor and one of Asian America’s break-out stars, and no one was more thrilled than I when you landed the part of Sulu in J. J. Abrams’ reboot of the Star Trek franchise; few actors deserved the opportunity more.
Asian American actors are a special bunch: to a person, you all seem to be thoughtful, reasoned, caring and politically conscious activist-actors who are deeply knowledgeable about mainstream media’s (under/mis)representation when it comes to people of colour. Perhaps it comes from the years during which you are forced to toil in acting obscurity as one of the industry’s few Asian American actors or directors, but when at last you get your “big break”, most of you use your newfound platforms to force a conversation on media diversity and better representation. I experience a moment of joyful anticipation every time I stumble across an interview with an Asian American actor, because — whether BD Wong, or Constance Wu, or Daniel Dae Kim, or Daniel Henney, or Aziz Ansari, or you — you use your respective spotlights to force a necessary conversation about Hollywood’s diversity holes. And, you all always have really great and thought-provoking things to say.
Before journalist Jarrett Hill broke the story of Melania Trump’s alleged plagiarism of Michelle Obama’s famous 2008 convention speech, it looked like one of the biggest social media moments of the night was the shock and dismay of music fans everywhere as Donald Trump entered the convention stage to the sounds of Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions.’
I’ve already written at length about why Donald Trump’s fear-mongering and race-baiting has exacerbated this country’s hostility towards people of colour, and how his rhetoric will ultimately prove damaging for the Republican Party. In the meanwhile, however, people of colour will have to find a way to survive a general election that has popularized derogatory and racist remarks — and open assault — towards non-White people. Today’s decision is by Trump is only more bad news, particularly for AAPI immigrants, women and LGBT individuals and other immigrants, LGBT folks, and other women of colour.
Episode 7 of Reappropriate: The Podcast is now live! In this episode, I’m joined by guests Juliet Shen (@juliet_shen, Fascinasians), KJ Park (@kyungjunpark), and Trungles (@trungles) to discuss how the interracial relationship issue within the AAPI community informs — and is informed by — notions of gender, sexuality and white supremacy. Definitely worth checking out!
You can stream the audio and video of the episode through YouTube (above) or just the audio version (below). Subscribe to the podcast through the iTunes store or through YouTube.
Next episode: Please join me next week (October 6th, 9pm EST / 6pm PST) for part two of my conversation with Cayden Mak (@cayden) of 18MillionRising on digital activism as decolonial tools of social change. You can RSVP to watch here!