So a little over 24 hours ago, I posted this on the Twitter machine:
Asian American creators — writers, artists, filmmakers, poets, actors, comics people, everybody! What are you working on? Let’s all talk it up and support the hell out of each other in 2018! #AsAmCreatorRollCall
— Greg Pak (@gregpak) December 21, 2017
Since then, the tweet’s been viewed over 115,000 times and dozens if not hundreds of Asian American creators have used the #AsAmCreatorRollCall hashtag to tout their work. And hundreds more people have retweeted those tweets.
And my heart’s grown three sizes.
Fifteen years ago, when my producers and I were taking our Asian American sci fi feature film Robot Stories to film festivals, I remember a distributor telling us to our faces that it seemed weird to him that the film had all these Asian people speaking English without accents. I think we just stared at him in astonishment. He didn’t say it in a rude manner; he wasn’t trying to be offensive. He just totally didn’t get it. He didn’t get the film, and he didn’t get us. Even though he literally talking to real live Asian Americans, he didn’t seem to understand that Asian Americans exist or could tell stories that other people could relate to.
In the end, Robot Stories played in over 75 film festivals and won dozens of awards. We self distributed the film theatrically, and with the help of a bunch of incredible grassroots Asian American film festivals, Asian American cultural groups, sci fi fan clubs, college organizations, and indie film fests, we played across the country and ended up getting picked up by Kino for a DVD release.
A lot has changed in fifteen years. But Asian American creators can still face tremendous difficulties getting stories about Asian American characters out into the world. But as I learned with Robot Stories and a bunch of other contemporary Asian American films like The Debut and Better Luck Tomorrow, when folks come together, we can make amazing things happen for each other.
So last night I saw the great Daniel Dae Kim retweet the great Justin Chon on Twitter:
— Daniel Dae Kim (@danieldaekim) December 20, 2017
And shortly thereafter, I saw Reappropriate say some smart things about a recent list of 100 influential Asian Americans:
Just please, if you share this list also take a minute to remember the unsung Asian Americans who are also doing the work but whose names no one really knows. They are equally as important and influential, and today I want to give all my love to them, too.
— Reappropriate (@reappropriate) December 21, 2017
And I found myself thinking about how each of us is more powerful than we realize — particularly when we work together. And that one of the easiest things in the world to do is talk up the things we love so others can find out about them.
So big, big love to everyone who’s shared something using the #AsAmCreatorRollCall tag, and big, big love to everyone who’s retweeted anything someone’s posted using that hashtag. Folks are out there doing absolutely incredible work every day. Let’s all continue sharing in 2018, building that beautiful audience for everyone, and making the world we want to live in.