Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month is absolutely not a celebratory month like Chinese New Years, but actually the time reserved by Congress in order to honor the immigration of the first Japanese citizen to the United States on May 7, 1843.
This period is also in remembrance of the completion of the transcontinental railroad that was manufactured by Chinese immigrants on May 10, 1869.
As Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month rolls in, you can not only celebrate by reading up about the history of Asian cultures and past struggles but also by watching these Asian-American YouTubers who each contribute stories and achievement to their communities.
Anna Akana rose from the ashes after the suicide of her little sister by turning to filmmaking on YouTube in 2011. Initially, Akana numbed her pain with drugs, but with the help of Margaret Cho who starred in a Comedy Central special, she realized her true calling to tell stories and generate laughter.
With her unique style of storytelling, she promotes suicide prevention, self-love and growth, healthy relationships and female empowerment. Alongside that, she has produced a few monologues and provides her fans advice through brief comedic skits and heartwarming videos.
In the past, she produced monthly short films but now regularly posts on her channel every Thursday. Furthermore, Akana recently starred as the figurative queen-bee protagonist in the new YouTube Red series “Youth and Consequences” and also held the role of executive producer for the show.
Exercising, in general, can be a pain to the average sedentary life. Often times, we don’t want to move from our seats, or just squeezing in gym time can also disrupt our tight schedules.
However, Cassey Ho, a certified Pilates instructor and founder of Blogilates, has found an inspirational solution. In her videos, she motivates her peers to exercise and live a healthy lifestyle.
Whether you want to tone your arms, thighs, butt or even fulfill that dream of getting abs, she actively organizes a workout routine that usually lasts no longer than ten minutes.
Additionally, by going to her website, you can sign up for her free Blogilates Fitness Planner Pack, in which you will receive a workout calendar, weekly meal planner, 30-day water challenge, grocery list and habit tracker. With time, consistency and dedication, you will be able to achieve your desired body image.
Excelling in their community college education and finding their passion in comedic acting, the two best friends Joe Jo and Bart Kwan started up their YouTube Channel JustKiddingFilms with their first skit “Chigga Hunting The Movie Don’t Be Racist Now” in 2011.
Hitting more views than they had anticipated, they continued their skits in hopes of tackling contemporary social and cultural issues through comedic portrayals. Later on, they posted silly music parodies and opened up a platform on sharing different perspectives regarding various topics such as personal relationships, ethnicity, sex, etc. with the support of their friends.
Branching out to other content, Jo and Kwan also respectively created JustKiddingParty (2011) and JustKiddingNews (2012). The former channel hosts challenges and various games such as Cards Against Humanity, Drunk Stoned or Stupid, Silent Library, Mafia and Jenga, whereas the latter welcomes open discussion amongst the crew about current events.
Mark Fischbach, also known as Markiplier, began his channel by uploading gameplay videos of the horror game “Amnesia: The Dark Descent” in 2012.
From then on, he continued to record videos of himself playing an array of different indie and horror games, as well as more mainstream ones such as “Crash Bandicoot” and “Getting Over It.” Usually, his playthroughs consist of yelling, screaming, cursing as well as occasional crying.
Several months after creating his channel, he even hosted his first charity for Child’s Play by dedicating 12 hours of his time to gaming. Notably, he was attending college during that same year, which ultimately shows his altruistic commitment to helping those who are less fortunate.
After his very successful charity, he has been hosting more charities through his live stream gameplay. Additionally, he posts vlogs where he voices his opinions about modern events and discusses various topics such as respect and reinspiring one’s self.
Safiya Nygaard possessed the role of video producer of BuzzFeed’s “Ladylike” series but decided to leave and have her own YouTube channel in 2014. During her time at Buzzfeed, she frequently advocated for women, mixed people and Asian inclusion, and also went over the topics of politics, business and do-it-yourself (DIY) tutorials.
Parting from the media company, she posts vlogs of herself wearing outfits that would have been worn in different time periods. She experiments wearing questionable outfits (e.g. clear plastic outfit, naked body swimsuit, etc.)
Even though she left BuzzFeed, she still participated in DIYs challenges. Working full-time on her channel, she even attempted using customizable make-up products such as lipstick, mascara, foundation and face masks.
Simultaneously she tried various period products and clothing that were supposed to be worn when women are in their menstrual cycles; some of the things she had tried are the diva cup, period leggings, period swimsuit and period yoga pants.
Wong Fu Productions
Established by Wesley Chan, Ted Fu and Phillip Wang who all met one another during their schooling years at the University of California, San Diego, Wong Fu Productions is an independent 2003 film-making company. Before its official establishment, the company was more of a side hobby in which the trio conducted video projects during their own free time.
The founders compose a huge variety of short, comedic and deep skits that feature Asian-American narratives that hit close to home for many. Expanding their content and mediums, Wong Fu Productions also produced a YouTube Red series “Single by 30” and Netflix show “Everything Before Us.”
The company creators, along with Far East Movement, have also founded International Secret Agents (ISA), which is a platform that allows Asian-Pacific Americans to share their stories and culture as well as uniting the Asian-Pacific American community.
Though Asian representation has certainly spawned more across media platforms in the past few years, progress still needs to be made. Asian-Americans are still frequently fetishized in music videos (take Nicki Minaj’s “Chun Li” for instance) and denied rightful roles in movies such as “Doctor Strange” and “Ghost in the Shell.”
Only recently have we seen a spike in important Asian characters in popular franchises such as Marvel, Star Wars and Star Trek. Even less so are movies like “The Big Sick,” “Ocean’s 8,” “Okja” and “I Can Speak” hitting the big screens.
However, there are certainly successes to be had. Shows like “The Good Place” and “Into the Badlands” have made serious leeway into the business, and on August 17 people can expect an all Asian cast in the movie “Crazy Rich Asians” starring Constance Wu from “Fresh Off the Boat” and the rapper Awkwafina.
All in all, Asian actors have just as much talent as any Hollywood actor, and people must honor the marginalized communities of color rather than ignore their achievements.