As harmful narratives spread around the country, it’s important to amplify the voices, stories, and work of the AAPI community
When is AAPI Heritage Month?
May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, celebrating the culture and diversity within the AAPI community.
Why do we celebrate AAPI Heritage Month?
According to Cynthia Choi, co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action and co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate the month is a time to speak out, share stories, and debunk myths about Asian communities.
"Our history is also filled with incredible stories of resilience, of persistence, of determination, to fight for our basic rights," Choi told NPR. "This is a celebration of our history, of our culture ... and all the different ways in which our community has really demonstrated that we're not only here to stay, we are a part of this fabric — a part of this country."
Given the rise in APPI violence over the past few years, we’ve seen the harm of reductive stereotypes about Asian communities. We also saw the proliferation of the model minority myth this year through Edward Bloom (boo boo, tomato tomato) and his anti-Affirmative Action case using an Asian plaintiff. Big yikes all around!
Asian Americans, whether they were born here or are immigrants, are subjected to the perpetual foreigner stereotype. This is the phenomenon in which people of Asian descent are treated like outsiders in America, instead of as part of the fabric of American culture. People always assume they are “from” somewhere else, and Asians are often excluded from cultural narratives and even conversations about race and inclusion.
This is the root of many awkward conversations, sure, but it’s also a source of so much of the violence perpetrated on the community. We can see this in recent years, and also in practices like Japanese internment camps during WW2, where many Japanese people, including American-born citizens, were sequestered in camps just because of their heritage. AAPI Heritage Month is an important time to amplify these moments in our history and connect them to aspects of our current climate that need changing and addressing.
As harmful narratives spread around the country, it’s important to amplify the voices, stories, and work of the AAPI community.
As a lover of film and TV, one way I experience other cultures and stories is through art. As Hollywood has gotten more diverse, storytelling is more expansive. Now, more features are complicating AAPI representation through a dynamic and diverse lens.
Streaming platforms are making the most major strides toward representation. According to a report by both the data and analytics media company Nielsen and the nonprofit Gold House, streaming programs have twice the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) representation that broadcast programs have — with even more disparity compared to cable programs, to which streaming has three times the representation.
However, there is still work to do on all fronts. As consumers, watching AAPI-led and created content will encourage the industry to keep taking steps in the right direction.
Here are some of the best AAPI-focused titles to stream now:
A road rage incident between two strangers — a failing contractor and an unfulfilled entrepreneur — sparks a feud that brings out their darkest impulses. This surprising, empathetic, energetic tale is captivating and compassionate. You won't be able to look away.
Everything, Everywhere, All At Once
Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively known as Daniels, the film is a hilarious and big-hearted sci-fi action adventure about an exhausted Chinese American woman (Michelle Yeoh) who goes on an existential, metaphysical journey to find herself, fix her family, and do her taxes.
Always Be My Maybe
Childhood sweethearts have a falling out and don't speak for 15 years, only reconnecting as adults when Sasha runs into Marcus in San Francisco. Although the old sparks are still there, the couple live in different worlds. Plus, the viral Keanu Reeves meme is from here.
Crazy Rich Asians
Rachel Chu is happy to accompany her longtime boyfriend, Nick, to his best friend's wedding in Singapore. She's also surprised to learn that Nick's family is extremely wealthy and he's considered one of the country's most eligible bachelors. Thrust into the spotlight, Rachel must now contend with jealous socialites, quirky relatives and something far, far worse -- Nick's disapproving mother.
Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.
A Korean American family moves to an Arkansas farm in search of its own American dream. Amidst the challenges of this new life in the strange and rugged Ozarks, they discover the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.
Jong-soo runs into Hae-mi, a girl who once lived in his neighborhood, and she asks him to watch her cat while she's out of town. When she returns, she introduces him to Ben, a man she met on the trip. Ben proceeds to tell Jong-soo about his hobby.
Hundreds of cash-strapped contestants accept an invitation to compete in children's games for a tempting prize, but the stakes are deadly.
A group of queer best friends gather in the Fire Island Pines for their annual week of love and laughter, but when a sudden change of events jeopardizes their summer in gay paradise, their bonds as a chosen family are pushed to the limit.
Your Name Engraved Here Within
Adapted from the Director Patrick Liu's high school memories, Your Name Engraved Herein is about two high school boys in an all-male boarding school exploring their friendship and genuine love for each other against the backdrop of the 1980s when Taiwan recently lifted its strict martial law, amid a transition from conservative society to become the most LGBTQ-friendly country in Asia. When the boarding school begins admitting females, their relationship faces an ultimate test with the emergence of a schoolgirl.
The Half of It
A shy, Chinese-American student helps the school jock woo a girl whom, secretly, they both desire. They find themselves connecting and learning about the nature of love.
To All the Boys
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once? Lara Jean Song Covey’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control when the love letters for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all– are mysteriously mailed out. From New York Times Bestselling Author, Jenny Han, the film adaption of the popular YA novel stars Lana Condor (Alita: Battle Angel, X-Men: Apocalypse), Janel Parrish (Pretty Little Liars) and Noah Centineo (Sierra Burgess Is A Loser, The Fosters), directed by Susan Johnson.
The Summer I Turned Pretty
Check out the official trailer for The Summer I Turned Pretty, a new series based on the New York Times bestselling book. Every summer, Belly and her family head to the Fishers’ beach house in Cousins. Every summer is the same… until Belly turns sixteen. Relationships will be tested, painful truths will be revealed, and Belly will be forever changed. It’s a summer of first love, first heartbreak and growing up — it's the summer she turns pretty.