Hyphen Magazine's logo.
A founding editor of the long-running Hyphen Magazine – the Asian American publication that launched its first issue in 2003 – has expressed frustration on social media after learning of the recent launch of Hyphen Media, a podcast company that claims to want to increase diversity in the audio space. Hyphen Media appears to have appropriated several aspects of Hyphen Magazine‘s brand identity, including its name, logo, and focus on Asian American story-telling. Whether these similarities are intentional or unintentional remains unclear.
Hyphen Magazine was founded in 2002 (around the same time as Reappropriate) by a small volunteer group of Asian American journalists and artists, most of them women. In the nearly twenty years since its inception in San Francisco, Hyphen Magazine has published numerous print issues, as well as maintained an active and incisive group blog. Altogether, that work has consistently elevated discourse around Asian American identity, and has been a powerful voice in the Asian American alternative media space.
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Journalist Helen Zia speaks at a protest seeking justice for Vincent Chin in the 1980's. (Photo credit: Corky Lee)
This post was updated on 5/29/21 to include new developments in this story, including comments from A-Major Media. This post was updated on 6/3/21 to include new comments by Annie Tan and Rosalind Chao.
Earlier this year, it was announced that Gemma Chan would be partnering with A-Major Media and M88 to produce a new star-studded podcast centered around the 1982 racially-motivated murder of Vincent Chin that sparked a nationwide protest galvanizing the Asian American community. That podcast — Hold Still, Vincent — involves a table read of a screenplay by the same name written by Johnny Ngo, and it features a star-studded cast of Asian American actors including Remy Hii as Vincent Chin, Rosalind Chao as Vincent’s mother Lily Chin, and Kelly Marie Tran as both Liza Chan and Helen Zia. Benedict Wong, Ki Hong Lee, Stephanie Hsu and Tzi Ma also make appearances. The podcast also features an interview with Asian American artists and activists moderated by John Cho. Hold Still, Vincent released all five episodes on May 27, and is also expected to be developed into a feature film.
Both podcast and film have excited the Asian American community because they are expected to introduce a pivotal moment in Asian American movement history to a wider audience. Many were disappointed therefore when Helen Zia — the journalist who played a central role in organizing the demands for justice for Chin and his family — revealed that neither she nor the Vincent Chin Estate have ever been contacted by the makers of Hold Still, Vincent.
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