It’s summer time which means I finally get time to catch up reading! I know right, people still read for fun? I went to my local Barnes and Nobles and to my surprise, Crazy Rich Asians was in the recommended section. I read this book four years ago when it was published. I enjoyed it and I put in back on the shelf. Now flash forward to 2018, Crazy Rich Asians has been developed into a major film – representing Asians in a way we’ve never seen on the big screen. For once we weren’t the token best friend of the white guy who makes a few laughable Asian jokes. The trailer depicted Asians in an extravagant, complex, and even sexy way.
I was pumped up so I wanted to read other books from Asian authors whose stories I could finally relate to. But there were none at the bookstore. Ok, that’s fine — I’ll just google some. But my search brought up little to no modern, relatable books for the young Asian American.
There’s something majorly wrong here! Hopefully, as society progresses we will find more representation in books, in movies, and in every profession at the highest levels.
For all the creatives who are looking for relatable content that will make you think, remember, and be inspired by here is a collection of must-reads/watch/listen for the modern day Asian American:
I used to be that kid who went to the library and read every book in the young adult section. I specifically remember picking this book solely because of the cover photo with eyes that looked like mine. At the time I was probably only in the 4th or 5th grade so I knew little to nothing about Asian traditions or race issues outside of my own home. I also grew up in Texas so…there’s that. This book opened up my eyes to the what it meant, as a girl, to have to have Asian eyes and at what length girls would go to change them
On a recent trip to New York City, I came across Shana Roark outside of the Whitey where she was offering to write poems for strangers on any topic for whatever price they chose. The poem she wrote for me was so beautiful and touching I knew I had to buy her book. Although her poems are relatable to all, there was a handful of them that really touched on being Asian and struggling with this dual identity of being just enough “white” that was comfortable to others while being fetishized in ways for being Asian. Her book was an overall amazing collection of poems that felt so relatable I almost thought she was writing about me. Follow her @thesupergirlreject
Everyone knows the ABG (azn bby girl) but this podcast redefines the modern day Asian American women. Three women sit down for candid conversation about everything from fckbois to Asian representation in the media. I’ve been listening since episode one and it’s definitely an entertaining way to unwind while still staying current on modern dilemmas that Asian women encounter.
YouTube has been an incredible sphere of influence for Asian creatives for many many years. I pretty sure most of the things I’m going to list you already watch or know of. If not, give them a shot!
Yappie is brand new series by Wong Fu Productions that only has two episodes out so far (unless you paid to binge watch the whole series). Yappie stands for Young Asian Professional, a stereotypical Asian who prides on a comfortable and simple life through working hard and following the “typical” route. The show takes this stereotype and really shows the complexity of the different “Yappie” characters who unveil deeper issues that bring to life some modern day hardships of Asian Americans. You will definitely relate to this.
With the many beauty influencers and vloggers on YouTube throughout the years, Weylie and Wah continue to my favorites.
Weylie’s personal channel features some fashion and beauty videos but what I look forward to most are her Girl Talk videos. As embarrassing as it is, sometimes they make me cry because they’re just so REAL and relatable. If you’ve never watched her videos here are two that will leave you hooked. Next thing you know, you’ll be years deep in her old videos.
Growing Up Chinese American | MY STRUGGLES: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbhsXa7FzUM
Girl Talk | Body Positivity, F*ckboys & Relationships: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FO0j3YFTRI
You should also check out their vlog channel Wahlie. They really are such a down to earth couple who are super proud to represent their Asian culture in their daily lives. Plus they have the cutest doggies ever. I promise, you will be h o o k e d !!