Kindred Journey 2- Iris Chang

Iris was an award-winning journalist and writer whose parents are both professors from Taiwan. She was born in the states and raised in Illinois. She worked for several newspapers as a journalist before becoming a writer. I believe researching articles, facts, and historical accuracy led to her wanting to write the immense books she wrote about Asians and Chinese Americans throughout history. Her first book, "Thread of the Silkworm" was about a Chinese professor named Tsien Hsue-shen who although brought incredible research and work to the United States, was unfairly targeted as a spy during the great "Red Scare" of the 1950s in the U.S.

"The Rape of Nanking", her second book, talked in depth about what Chinese women and men faced during World War 2 when the Japanese invaded the town of Nanjing. Her third book titled "The Chinese in America" highlighted the struggles of Chinese Americans and many Asian Americans in the US being made to feel like the "other" or not truly American simply because they are Asian. While doing research last month I came across Iris and remembered seeing her books. Sadly, Iris took her own life after a serious bout with depression and overuse -- maybe even misdiagnosis of --prescription medication. I love the fact that she unapologetically wrote about stories that are not talked about enough in history. Even older Asian Americans sometimes have an attitude of being tough despite the struggles they faced, and she is one of many scholars highlighting the stories and injustices of her people and those of others. RIP Iris Chang.

Kindred Journey 1- Equipto

Equipto (Ilych Sato) is being widely recognized for his activism in SF, being one of several educators or artists leading a hunger strike (11 days!) at the 17th St. police station in the Mission. The first time I heard of him was because of one of the Bay's oldest hip hop groups, Bored Stiff. Known for a deep voice and a relaxed flow, Equipto has been rhyming for two decades, at least. Together with the group they started putting out albums in the late '90s with over 6 LPs to their credit, and probably 10 times that from individual members who are not just musicians, but community advocates or teachers. I remember seeing him perform back in the 2000s with Andre Nickatina, mobbin, smokin, and just riding. Although I don't own any of his records, I always heard him featured on a track here or there and respect his flow. If you've listened to the Smoke Signals podcast you know him and Shawn have a big respect for music and culture that goes into and beyond underground hip hop. I know he's not claiming to be an activist and some people might have their issues with him, but I gotta give credit where it's due for taking a stand and confronting some of the struggles people (especially Black and Brown), are going through in SF. This Filipino American is affecting change by bringing attention to justice unserved.

This first portrait is part of a month long series I'll be doing dedicated to the Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Asian Diaspora within the US and beyond as a way to highlight people from the past and present that have broke barriers, set standards, inspired, or simply existed. I invite anyone to join me in celebrating them w/ art, photos, or words on your own platform. Big respect to those fighting for ethnic studies in our schools. There are so many stories that need to be told.

Coming Soon-One of a kind like me

One of a Kind, like me Unico, como yo is coming soon. Do me a favor and go follow Blood Orange Press on twitter or facebook for updates on the projects. Here's a photo of me and Blood Orange Press founder Janine Macbeth looking at final artwork for this incredible book due out very soon.


Stuff I've been listening to

Oakland home grown King! Just learning about this dude Terrance Martin Of course Anderson Paak. The Internet Oddisee


Character 109 - East Bay Dragons

I know of the East Bay Dragons from driving or walking by their clubhouse on E-14th st as a young man. I've never known anyone personally in the group, but I've always been aware of them and seen them riding through the town. They are one of the first Black motorcycle clubs in the US, if not the first. They were founded by Tobie Gene Levingston in 1959 and continue to ride to this day. Much like lowrider clubs they get a bad rap from media, but they do community events and try to give back. Although, just by seeing the care they put into their art is inspiring enough I think. There is a book out on them called "Soul on Bikes". I would love to see their story portrayed in a beautiful, nuanced, and truthful light either through narrative film, comics, podcast, documentary, or animation.


Characters 108- Katara & Toph

Katara and Toph chillin', catching up on old times. If you have children, you know who these characters are and what strength they represent as part of the Avatar series. One bends and controls water, one bends and controls earth/metal.


Whitewashing Asian Characters-Vox video

This is dope to me because it raises an issue that far too many people in filmmaking and those in power to green light or fund a film look over. I know you need known actresses to get people into the theater.I get it. But that is not an excuse for over 60 years worth of racist bullshit. Don't get me started, but please watch this video and share it if you agree. It's not just emotion, it is fact. And i'm glad vox did this because it challenges what has been "ok" to do for much too long.


Character 107-Sho-Nuff (Last Dragon)

Am I the prettiest?! Sho-Nuff! Do you remember this character? The actor that played him was Julius Carry the third. He died in 2008 unfortunately, but not before a long and extensive career acting in film and tv. The film is one of my all time favorites. The fact that I got to see a black protagonist who was into martial arts as a kid was pretty awesome. So were all the characters. But i especially loved Sho-Nuff!!


Character 106-Data (Goonies)

Data gliding across a zip line into the front screen door of Mikey's house. Anybody remember watching this movie as a kid? The Goonies was one of my favorite films as a kid. I loved all of the characters. There are definitely some problematic parts (Rosita) but the films search for treasure is what many kids are wishing for in this day and age of people being evicted. Anyways, whats your favorite line Data said? Do you remember which character was wearing a Purple Rain shirt?


Character 105- Anansi

This is Anansi as I imagine him/her. I imagine this Anansi as a being that holds wisdom, fights for good, is awkward, and is the key to much older stories.