Insights of Outsiders

#AZNxBLM is calling for solidarity between members and allies of our Asian community and the Black Lives Matter movement.

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.

Welcome to the second week of #AZNxBLM releases! Did you miss last week’s kick-off? Never fear. From a candid conversation between public radio nerds on naming mixed-race kids, to a dance film on love, grief, and justice, you can find all of our inaugural projects here.

Every Thursday for Asian Pacific Heritage Month, we’re departing from ROCK PAPER RADIO’s usual format to bring you a new collection of solidarity-inspired projects from our crew of 21 artist-activists. Missing our old ways? Check out our archives here. If you’re new to our ROCK PAPER RADIO family and you’re wondering what this is all about, here’s our 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.

Thanks in advance for spreading the word. The best way to follow along and to be the first to know when new projects drop is to join us on Instagram @rockpaperradio, and to keep an eye on our new website here. #AZNxBLM is a project of ROCK PAPER RADIO and The Slants Foundation.

I SEE COLOR

Joe Kye is a violinist-looper, composer, and storyteller. Austin Antoine is a multifaceted performance artist who blurs lines between music, poetry, and theatrics.

This 4-min interview featuring Joe and Austin discussing identity, masculinity, and the power of the stage, is one part of I SEE COLOR. Standby for part two - Austin and Joe’s latest song will be released in next week’s #AZNxBLM drop. Both pieces are focused on dismantling the concept of “colorblindness” and exploring the power of seeing and acknowledging all parts of ourselves and others, including race.

A DAPPER RECKONING

Mellina White is a tech professional and political writer originally from Florida. Jen Yoshimura is an engineer and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion coach originally from Hawaii.

A Dapper Reckoning is a 33-minute film about the intersection of style, race, and lesbian identity. Central themes include the exploration of the politics of fashion, masculine-of-center QPOC identity, and the limits of labels. Cinematography and editing by Craig Downing.

INTERRACIAL ON-SCREEN

Iris (Yi Youn) Kim is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles who covers Asian American identity, politics, and culture.

Read Iris’ full profile of Cinema Latte Productions filmmakers Kelly Chen and Lorraine Wheat here: Interracial On-Screen: How two filmmakers are making sense of their own Black and Asian experiences through art.

As a Chinese American and Black filmmaking duo, Chen and Wheat started the production company following last year’s BLM protests with the aim of telling human-driven dramas and romances that examine complex conversations on race. Cinema Latte’s first film, Unspoken Vows, explores a romantic relationship between a Black woman and an Asian American male police officer in the wake of yet another police shooting.

STAR SPANGLED SAKURA (ANTHEM FOR UNITY)

Junko and Philip Harris are a married couple with a daughter, Kari. Junko is Japanese, Philip is Black. Shimokita Bam Bam is their Boston-based, multicultural, family band that blends American R&B and Japanese pop.

Star Spangled Sakura (Anthem For Unity) is Shimokita Bam Bam’s version of the Black national anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing; mashed up with the American national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner; along with the traditional Japanese folk song, Sakura, Sakura, with Kari paying tribute to Jimi Hendrix.

Guitar - Kari Harris. Piano - Junko Harris. Bass, virtual koto and additional virtual instruments - Philip Harris. Mixing and mastering by ADG Mastering, videography by Natalie Fox Photography, and custom yukata by Studio Hyacinth.

PEOPLE OF COLOR

Moses Sun is an analog, digital, and mixed media artist based in Seattle. Tân Nguyen is a Vietnamese communication designer based in both the US and in Vietnam.

People of Color is a collaborative design project 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.

LET’S HEAR IT FOR UNLIKELY OPTIMISTS

That’s a wrap on issue 42, friends.

Shout out to all of our #AZNxBLM artist-activists, The Slants Foundation, TED’s Mystery Experiment, the very dapper Keri Zierler who produced our #AZNxBLM trailer, and to all of you—our ROCK PAPER RADIO fam.

This movement is only possible because a bunch of misfits and unlikely optimists have come together to say, yes, art matters, and we might be awkward and unsure but we’re going to figure out a way to build something together anyway.

See you next Thursday.

K.

You can find ROCK PAPER RADIO on Instagram and Twitter @RockPaperRadio. You can help spread the word about our community of misfits and unlikely optimists by sharing this issue on the social medias with a comment that says AT LAST. #AZNxBLM IS HERE. Or something like that.