#AZNxBLM

20 creatives of color join forces to call for Asian and Black solidarity

ROCK PAPER RADIO is a dispatch for misfits & unlikely optimists by your favorite hapa haole, beet-pickling, public radio nerd. It’s a weekly email newsletter that shares three curiosities every Thursday - something to hold on to (that’s the ‘rock’), something to read (that’s the ‘paper‘), and something to listen to (you guessed it, that’s the ‘radio’). Themes include but are not limited to: rebel violinists, immortal jellyfish, revolution. Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word.
Liz Cartojano (right) & James Riley Mose (left) are movement artists based in Los Angeles. I See You is their dance film exploring Liz’s response to the Atlanta shooting in March, and James’ grappling with his feelings of immobilization during the BLM demonstrations in 2020. The film is a reflection of their experience as an interracial couple facing these reckonings together and apart.

Four months ago, I got some shocking big news - TED had selected me to be one of 300 people from seven different countries to receive $10,000 USD, no strings attached, as part of their Mystery Experiment.

Eager to put that windfall I did not earn to good use, I went on a walk through Seattle’s International District to brainstorm. I was stopped in my tracks by a red mural showing fists full of chopsticks raised triumphantly, defiantly: chopsticks in a bundle are unbreakable. After doing a little internet creeping, I found that the mural was created as a collaboration between Vietnamese artist Tân Nguyen and Black artist Moses Sun, which led me to this short film showing the piece coming to life. To the weariness of my tirelessly supportive wife, a new project was born: #AZNxBLM.

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If you’re new to ROCK PAPER RADIO and you’re wondering what this is all about, here’s the project’s mission:

#AZNxBLM is calling for solidarity and collaboration between members and allies of our Asian community and the Black Lives Matter movement. We are pro-community and anti-racist. We believe in the power of art and the insights of outsiders. We are cautiously but fiercely optimistic.

And—drumroll please—here are the 14 multimedia projects that have come from this quick and determined endeavor fueled by the 20 artist-activists of color who make up our #AZNxBLM crew. Thanks for sharing and listening/watching/reading/holding on. The news cycle might be eating us all alive, but I truly believe that art is action and we’re heading in the right direction, one surprising collaboration at a time.

#AZNxBLM is a project of ROCK PAPER RADIO and The Slants Foundation.

Maylin Tu is a writer who grew up in Maine and Beijing. She is now based in Los Angeles where she writes about pop culture, religion and identity. ‘There is no absolution’: An interview with Steph Cha is Tu’s interview with author Steph Cha, whose novel, Your House Will Pay, is a fictionalized account of the tragic 1991 killing of Latasha Harlins.

People of Color is a collaborative design project by Moses Sun and Tân Nguyen highlighting the power of collaboration and organizing between communities of color. The original designs are silk screened on paper and apparel and available for purchase at mxt.bigcartel.com.

Kristin Leong is the creator of #AZNxBLM and the misfit and unlikely optimist behind ROCK PAPER RADIO. Connect with her on Twitter @kristinleong, on Instagram @leongstagram, and subscribe to her weekly newsletter at RockPaperRadio.com.

You can find ROCK PAPER RADIO on Instagram and Twitter @RockPaperRadio.