Thursday, November 30, 2017

Mulan actor named; Disney's newest princess is Chinese.

AFTER CONDUCTING an international search and auditioning a thousand actors, Disney settled on who would play Mulan in their live-action telling of the Chinese tale.

Liu Yifei isn't a household name (in the U.S., anyway) but she's one of China's most popular actresses.

The upcoming film, directed by New Zealander Niki Caro, is based on Disney’s 1998 feature telling the story of a woman disguising herself as a man to fight against an invading army, saving her elderly father from getting drafte in the army.
Picking a Chinese actress to play the heroine Mulan allays the fear among Asian/Americans that the movie might get white-washed and have a white actress play the pivotal role.

But Disney has been adament to do the right thing in casting, much in the way the voice actors, all of whom were Pacific Islanders, were picked for the animated hit Moana,

In Liu, Disney has found someone who checks all the boxes:

  • Chinese descent: Check. She was born in Wuhan, China.
  • Speaks English: Check. As a child, she lived for a time in Queens, NYC.
  • Martial arts: Check. Several of her Chinese movies featured swordplay and fantastic choreographed fight scenes showing she can be a badass.

  • Singer: Check. Is there anything this actress can't do? On top of modeling and acting, she is also noted as a pop singer. Liu released her self-titled debut album in 2006 with Sony Music, and has more recently sung covers for soundtracks. Her ability to sing may mean that the live-action Mulan will feature some of the songs made famous in the animated version. The director at first said that the film would not be a musical but she now says she is open to making the project a musical. Listen to one of Liu's hits - in English!

  • Acting experience: Check. While most of her films have been made in China for Chinese audiences, she acted in English in 2008's The Forbidden Kingdom, alongside Jackie Chan and Jet Li, and 2014's Outcast, opposite Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen. She also starred opposite Emile Hirsch in Danish auteur Bille August's period romance The Chinese Widow, which opened the Shanghai International Film Festival in June.
  • Beautiful: Check, check, check and check. She is nicknamed "Fairy Sister" by the Chinese moviegoing public for her innocent looks. If a picture can say a thousand words ...

The rest of the cast hasn't been named yet. I can't wait to find out who will play Li Shang. The movie is scheduled for a 2019 release.

Muslim American leaders condemn Trump's retweeting of anti-Muslim videos

Muslim leaders condemned Donald Trump's retweeting of anti-Muslim video

WHEN WILL Republicans stand up for American values and denounce the racism emanating out of the White House?
In reaction to Trump's retweet of a anti-Muslim extremist Tweet, the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, responded to what it called Trump’s “incitement to violence against American Muslims” after he retweeted Islamophobic videos from an anti-Muslim British political leader who has been charged in the United Kingdom with “religious aggravated harassment.”
CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad challenged the Republican Party to stand up to the bigotry and hatred encouraged by the statements and tweets from the current occupant of the White House.
Joining CAIR at the Capitol Hill news conference in Washington, D.C., were representatives of the Muslim Public Affairs Council and South Asian Americans Leading Together.
The joint statement said:
This morning, millions of Americans were shocked but not surprised to see President Trump re-tweet anti-Muslim videos.
One of the videos has already been de-bunked by Snopes. The other two videos are unverified.
The videos were from a hate group known as “Britain First,” which calls for a comprehensive ban on Islam in the UK and to deport British Muslims, who’ve made the UK their home for generations.
President Trump’s actions are putting the lives and safety of American Muslim children and families at risk. 
Hate speech leads to hate crimes.  When hate speech and conspiracy theories against American minorities go unchallenged, they foster an atmosphere that causes hate crimes.
Throughout this year, CAIR offices nationwide received, on average, at least 1-2 daily reports of hate crimes targeting American Muslims, Muslim houses of worship, or people perceived as Muslim.
As numerous Americans who are Muslim or ‘looked Muslim’ were shot or beaten severely, we did not hear a word from this President.
During most of these attacks, attackers uttered or expressed the same anti-Muslim slurs repeated daily in mainstream headlines and often by President Trump himself.
This is a continuation of President Trump’s pattern of sexual, religious and racial harassment of many Americans. This includes Trump’s attempts to turn Americans against each other… and his standing by Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who was credibly accused of inappropriate contact with children.
Trump has infected the Republican Party and I am asking my Republican friends who believe in the words of the Declaration of Independence, in Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, in the 14th Amendment, and in the Constitution's guarantees of equal justice under law, to not sit idly by while all this injustice continues.
This is not a conservative or liberal issue; it is an American one.
I am asking our nation’s Republican leadership:
• When will you draw a line in the sand against this bigotry and harassment? 
• What will it take for the Republican Party to say that these actions do not represent the Grand Old Party? 
• When will you put country over party?
• When is the Republican Leadership, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, going to stand up for all Americans? This cannot be the America you want your children to live in.
Millions of Americans worry about our safety and future. 
We need Republican Party leadership to publicly affirm American values of religious freedom,
We need Republican Party leadership to join us in reminding our fellow Americans that while some may want to divide us, we are, and always will be, Americans, united as one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Trump retweeted three unverified, anti-Muslim videos posted by Britain First, a extremist right-wing party widely condemned as an extremist group that targets mosques and Muslims.

One of the three tweets includes unverified video with the caption "Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!" while another reads, "Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!"

Another video claims to show a "Muslim migrant" beating up a "Dutch boy on crutches."

The British government, including Prime Minister Theresa Maay, responded to Trump's actions in a statement, saying "it is wrong for the president to have done this."

"Britain First seeks to divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions. They cause anxiety to law-abiding people," the statement said. "British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far-right, which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents – decency, tolerance and respect."


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Chinese American prisoner attempted suicide in Iranian prison

Xiyue Wang with his wife and son before he left for Iran.

WITH THE HOLIDAY'S approaching, this time of year may cause the Chinese/American imprisoned in Iran to become more despondent.  Xiyue Wang, accused of spying for the U.S., recently tried to commit suicide, said his wife.

Qu Hua, the wife of a Chinese/American graduate student Xiyue Wang, who is behind bars in Iran, pleaded with the Trump administration on Tuesday (Nov. 28) to do more to secure her husband's release. 

In an exclusive broadcast interview with NBC News, Qu Hua revealed that her husband, Xiyue Wang, has attempted suicide during his almost 16 months in prison. 
"Only the U.S. government can sort this out, only the U.S. government can help us," she said. "I hope President Trump can open up a dialogue with Iranian authorities to discuss a resolution of my husband's case."

Late Sunday (Nov. 26), Iranian state TV aired a feature focused on Wang, a Chinese-born American graduate student at Princeton who is accused of passing confidential information about Iran to the US State Department. He was arrested while conducting research on the Qajar dynasty that once ruled Iran for his doctorate in late 19th and early 20th century Eurasian history, according to Princeton officials, who said he was in Iran to learn Farsi and conduct research for his dissertation.

The Iranian newscast aired Sunday (Nov. 26) accused Wang of trying to take around 4,500 documents from the country. An interrogator asks Wang why he did it, with other footage showing him emotional.
Xiyue Wang as he appeared in the Iranian newscast.
Iranian authorities allege Wang  scanned some 4,500 pages of digital documents, paid thousands of dollars to access archives he needed and sought access to confidential areas of Tehran libraries. State TV aired footage of him in what appeared to be an Iranian courtroom, those around him blurred out, as well as footage of him emotional and later talking to a camera, as well as an image of his Iranian visa and a school ID.

“About Iran in that regard, the more knowledge the United States possesses about Iran, the better for its policy toward Iran,” he said in the footage. “There is no doubt about it. It is quite obvious.” That quote made it appear as if he was justifying his so-called spying activities. Most likely that footage was taken out of context as he explained why he was doing historical research in Iran.
Wang, 36, is a Chinese-born naturalized American citizen. He and his wife have a 4-year-old son. 
Wang, a Princeton student, was arrested in August 2016 while carrying out research on Iran’s Qajar dynasty for his Ph.D., according to the university, his wife and the U.S. government.
For months, his wife and Princeton worked quietly toward winning his release without making a public statement. 
The case came to public attention this July after Iran announced that Wang had been sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was convicted of "spying under the cover of research," according to the Mizan Online News Agency, the Iranian judiciary’s news service. A spokesman for the judiciary alleged Wang had been "directly guided by America." Wang was also accused of seeking to access confidential areas of a library and "assisting a hostile government." 
He was kept in solitary confinement for 18 days before being transported to Evin Prison, the Tehran facility that houses most of the country's political prisoners. 
His condition has recently improved, but he is still "very desperate," his wife added. "He is extremely stressed, he has depression and he attempted to commit suicide, and he had multiple diseases." 
She had not seen her husband for more than a year until Iranian state TV aired footage lat e Sunday showing Wang and accusing him of trying to steal 4,500 documents. 
"I was shocked and I was extremely upset that my husband is misrepresented on Iran's state television," Qu told NBC News. "He went to Iran with all the required approvals. He openly and honestly disclosed his interests in looking at the historical documents."
Qu, 35, said she believes Iran knows that her husband is an legitimate scholar and that he was only targeted because he is an American.
"He's innocent and he is just a student. He has no connection with any government agency, he's not doing any secret project for any agency, for any secret institution," she told NBC.

WATCH the Iranian broadcast here ( Editor's Note: It is in Farsi. Sorry, I can't provide a translation, but portions are in English):

Advocates for Americans imprisoned in Iran have warned that Donald Trump's hardline stance toward the country would make the captives' release more difficult. Trump has branded Iran's government a "murderous regime" and warned of its "sinister vision for the future." 

Stephen Kotkin, Wang’s adviser at Princeton, told the Washington Post that Wang was a gifted scholar who was impressed with Persian culture.

“Xiyue Wang is a remarkable, linguistically gifted graduate student studying late 19th- and early 20th-century governance in predominantly Muslim regions — Qajar Iran, Afghanistan, imperial Russian Turkestan,” he said. “He is innocent of all the charges. In Tehran, Wang collected documents that were 100 years old. He has told me often of his exhilaration at the exquisiteness and depth of Persian civilization.”

According to CNN, Wang was raised in China and earned a bachelor's degree in South Asian studies from the University of Washington.

His Facebook page lists Beijing as his hometown, Wang is proficient in Pashto, a language spoken in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, and Hindi.

For a time, he worked as a translator for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where he helped Afghans traumatized by violence and death from the American-led war against the Taliban, according to the NY Times.

He also studied Russian and Eurasian studies at Harvard University, according to a biography of Wang from Princeton in Asia program, where he did a fellowship from 2008 to 2009.
Wang is one of seven U.S. citizens or permanent residents currently detained by Iran, according to The Associated Press. The State Department has expressed its concern about the reported deteriorating health of the prisoners.
Following Iran's announcement of the charges in July, the State Department called on the Tehran government to release Wang "and all other unjustly detained U.S. citizens, so that they can be reunited with their families." 
Qu said that the past year has tested her belief that her husband will return. 
"I don't know how long this will last, but every month I have hope that he can come home at any time, that they would automatically release him quietly," she said. "But my hope of his return has been shattered time and time again throughout the past year because all of this." 
She told NBC: "I will continue. I will never give up, because he's innocent." 

Fraternity members plead guilty, sentenced to probation for hazing death

The property where the hazing death of Michael Deng (insert) occurred.

Fourteen former members of an Asian/American fraternity were sentenced to probation Wednesday, (Nov. 29) after pleading guilty to reduced charges in the hazing death of a young man pledging to Pi Delta Psi.

They joined the 15 other young men who plead guilty Tuesday (Nov. 28).

On Tuesday, 17 defendants appeared in Monroe County Court of Common Picas in Stroudsburg, Penn. Tuesday (Nov. 28) to accept responsibility in the tragic death of Chun "Michael" Deng, 19, who died while undergoing one of the fraternity's initiation ceremonies.

As the result of plea bargains, all 29 of them plead guilty to reduced charges and sentenced to  The harshest punishment was meted out to Andy Meng, brother of Rep. Grace Meng. As former president of the fraternity, he received a stiffer sentence of 36 months probation.

“You are better than this,” Judge Margherita Patti-Worthington told the group. "Be individuals and do the right thing going forward. Don’t get caught up in group think.”

Some of the members pleaded guilty to charges including concealing or tampering with evidence. Others admitted to simple assault and lying to police.

Most of the members were sentenced to between 12 and 18 months on probation except for Meng and another defendant. Ka-wing Yuen received 5 years probation, 100 hours of community service and a $100 fine.

The four Pi Delts who pleaded guilty in May to more serious charges will face sentencing next week. Punishment will likely include time behind bars.

Last week, the fraternity was convicted of charges including aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter but acquitted of third-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter, both felonies.

In a ritual called the "glass ceiling" which was meant to teach the pledges of the bias they would face in society, Deng passed out after running the gauntlet of fraternity brothers who would hit, tackle or trip the pledges. The 2013 hazing of the New York's Baruch College students occurred at a rented  home in the Pocono Mountains, about 100 miles west of New York City.

During the incident, Deng was blindfolded, wore a 30-pound (14-kg) backpack and ran a gauntlet of fraternity members who tackled and knocked him down on the snow-covered ground in December 2013, police said.

The college students waited for more than an hour before driving him to a hospital, authorities said and that delay contributed to his death.

Rather than seeking help for Deng, who remained unconscious, the fraternity brothers reportedly Googled head injury symptoms and researched the cost of an ambulance before determining it would be too expensive. They allegedly called fraternity officers for advice on what to do.

Although deaths from fraternity hazings have occurred at several American colleges, prosecutors and defense lawyers said it was the first U.S. conviction of a fraternity for a death caused by hazing.

UPDATED Nov. 30 to include the second day of sentencing.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Kumail Nanjiani and Gal Gadot have so much in common

2017 is a big year for both actors Kumail Nanjiani and Gal Gadot.

AN INTERESTING INTERVIEW between Kumail Nanjiani and Gal Gadot was taped as part of  Variety's "Actors on Actors,"  in which the  two actors discover that as Hollywood "outsiders," they had so much in common.

Portions of the 30-minute interview was reprinted by Variety.

Kumaill Nanjiani: "I try the best I can."
Nanjiani: I don’t know what happened. Huge mistake. My parents wanted me to be a doctor.
Gadot: They wanted me to be a lawyer. We have so much in common.
Nanjiani: We’re both immigrants. We play immigrants in our movies.
Gadot: We both get asked all the time, “How do I pronounce your name?”
The interview goes on to talk about women's representation in the media and why Gadot got so emotional when seeing the Amazons' battle scene in Wonder Woman.

Nanjiani talks about the pressure of representing all things Pakistan, "I'm not the guy,"  he laments, "But, I know, whether I like it or not, I'm trying to do the best I can."

Both actors are having a great year. Coincidentally, the two had the opportunity to  host Saturday Night Live, this year. Both Nanjiani's The Big Sick, is often mentioned as a possible Oscar nominee in several categories, and that's also the case for Gadot's Wonder Woman. Stay tuned for the nominations for Academy Awards next year.

WATCH and enjoy the YouTube interview below:


Bruno Mars TV special airs Nov. 29

Bruno Mars' TV concert at the famed Apollo Theater is airing on CBS on Wednesday, Nov. 29.
"Burno Mars: 24K Magic Live At the Apollo," debuts Wednesday on CBS at 10 p.m. Eastern. He recorded the special at the Apollo Theater in New York's Harlem, performing the majority of his third album, "24K Magic."
Mars is the first Filipino/American to have his own concert special on U.S. television.
Last weekend, Bruno Mars cleaned up at the 2017 Soul Train Awards Sunday night, nearly sweeping the six categories in which he was nominated.
RELATED: '60 Minutes' looks at Bruno Mars
Mars took home awards for best R&B/soul male artist, video of the year, album of the year, song of the year and best dance performance.

Earlier this year, he won seven American Music Awards, including artist of the year. Mars picked up video of the year at the BET Awards, shared with Beyonce, and won his fifth Grammy Award earlier this year. His album 24K Magic reached double platinum.

He performed in the Apollo concert in the middle of his current tour so he and his musicians, his signature choreography are all on point.

Mars said he chose to film the one-hour special at the Apollo — which he calls "a magical place" — because of the venue's rich history in music and pop culture.
"People are going to get the best that I got," he said in a CBS interview.

'Chan is Missing' actor passes away

Wood Moy in "Chan is Missing."


TRAILBLAZING Asian/American actor Wood Moy died Nov. 8 at the age of 99, according to an obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Moy is best known for his iconic role as Jo in Wayne Wang’s classic 1982 film Chan is Missing. The film noir, shot in black and white, is highly regarded as the first Asian American film to gain not only theatrical distribution, but critical acclaim.

Moy played a cab driver, who together with his nephew Steve (Marc Hayashi), go in search for a man who took off with the $4,000 Jo wanted to use to buy a taxi license.

Their search for Chan unveils a multi-dimensional character quite different from the fortune cookie characterization portrayed in Charlie Chan films.

Moy was among the first group of actors to join San Francisco’s Asian American Theater Company which was founded by playwright Frank Chin in 1973. He was born in 1918 in Canton City, China and came to the United States in 1921. He graduated with a BA from New York University in 1941 and served in the U.S. Army’s 987th Signal Company, one of two all-Chinese American companies, during World War II from 1942-1945.

Moy’s other film credits include Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Class Action (1991) and Final Analysis (1992). His television credits include Knight Rider and Partners in Crime, both in 1984.

He also founded with his future wife, Mamie Louie, and his future brother-in-law, Henry Louie, East Wind, a Chinese American magazine. Mamie and Moy were married from 1947 until her death in 2007.

He is survived by children Lincoln Moy (Yvonne), Kenneth Moy (Hang Wah), and Cynthia Attiyeh (Michael) and grandchildren Brian, Matthew, Jacqueline, Travis, and Quentin.

His film Chan is Missing is a must see for any film buff or anyone interested in the portrayal of Asian Americans in Hollywood. It is still available for sale on Amazon.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

AAPI actors making the move from sidekick to star

Darren Criss will star in Versace: American Crime Story in January.

ASIAN/AMERICANS may be on the cusp of a Golden Age with an increased multifaceted presence on U.S. television.

One 10-episode miniseries will air in January and three sitcoms, four dramas and a dramedy starring Asian/Americans are in various stages of development.

In the next couple of years, these projects could be joining the six shows that already feature Asian/American actors in their leading roles: Master of None, Into the Badlands, Andi Mack, Quantico and Fresh Off the BoatThese five shows success has been proof enough for studio honchos to see that diverse casts can "cross over," so to speak, to attract audiences of all races. It is also recognition that audiences themselves, are growing more diverse and demanding to see shows that reflect their experiences.

The shows in various stages of development, might, or might not, get the OK from the studios for a full season. Some may fall to the wayside for any number of reasons, but some will most certainly make it all the way to our living rooms. One thing all the new shows show is that the immigrant story is an American story.

Versace: American Crime Story
Kicking off the new year is the acclaimed American Crime Story's 2018 production of Versace, a 10-episode mini-series starring Darren Criss as Albert Cunanan, the Filipino/American who killed fashion designer Versace. Based on the true story, Filipinos will face a dilemma. All at the same time, Filipinos will celebrate that a Filipino/American has an important pivotal role in a major television production; and at the same time, wince at the depiction of Cunanan, a deraged murderer, might cast an unsavory light on Filipino/Americans. I can hear my late parents tsk, tsk, "But, Eddie, not all Filipinos are like that."

Criss, best known up to now for his singing in TV's Glee and lately in the stage musical, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, can see a whole lot of new doors open for him if the role of the jealous, hedonistic megamaniac turns out to be the breakout role as it is projected to be.

Watch this Versace trailer:

Shooting is underway for Warrior, a 10-episode series ordered by Cinemax. The Bruce Lee inspired action drama will be executive produced by Justin Lin, Danielle Woodrow and Jonathan Tropper and Perfect Storm Entertainment, according to DeadlineWarrioris expected to fill a marquee spot in Cinemax new expanded line up of original primetime programming.

“We are brimming with excitement for this unique martial arts series combining Bruce Lee’s inspired conception with the immense storytelling talents of Jonathan Tropper and Justin Lin,” said Kary Antholis of Cinemax to Deadline.
Warrior is described as a gritty, action-packed crime drama set during the brutal Tong Wars of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the second half of the 19th century. The series follows Ah Sahm, a martial arts prodigy who immigrates from China to San Francisco under mysterious circumstances, and becomes a hatchet man for one of Chinatown’s most powerful tongs.
Tong Wars
Casting is underway for Netflix's Tong Wars, a 10-part saga set in San Francisco, 1905 to 1971 covering the history, influence and impact of the tongs, Chinese organizations that provided financial, political, legal assistance and protection for Chinese immigrants in the U.S. The almost all-Asian and bilingual cast will be directed by famed Chinese director Wong Kar-Wai. Because of its late start, it is unlikely it will debut in 2018.

Big Men
The premise for Big Men should draw an instant audience from Asian/Americans, especially Filipino/Americans, who are basketball fanatics. Written and executive produced by Brosh McKenna and Filipino/American writer Rene Gube, Big Men centers on an Asian/American rookie pro basketball player who dreams of a baller lifestyle but standing in his way are his 13-year-old twin sisters whom he co-parents with his overbearing immigrant father. 

Model Minorities Deadline reported earlier this month that Fox ordered a series pilot for Model Minorities. Sanjay Shah, Fresh Off the Boat executive producer and writer, said the series will explore the culture clash between first- and second-generation immigrants in a new series with 20th Century Fox.

Deadline says the show “follows a highly educated but struggling Indian-American who moves in with his uneducated, but rich, immigrant cousin.” No details are available on the show’s cast.

Make Divya Great Agan
The CW gave the greenlight to Blackish writer Devanshi Patel’s dramedy Make Divya Great Again. In it, an Indian/American woman named Divya makes up the perfect desi, albeit fictional, boyfriend to avoid an arranged marriage. Things go wrong when her ex-fiance dies in a darkly comical fashion and she becomes a suspect.

The dramedy's storyline sounds dark, witty, and full of colorful drama all at once. For instance, by inventing an Indian boyfriend, she is able to get out of her arranged marriage. And as if that’s that enough drama to deal with, she is challenged with having to clear her name as a suspect in the accidental death of her ex-fiance. 

RELATED: New TV season, new opportunities for AAPI actors
One of the most intriguing projects under development is one that is not even written yet and doesn't have a title. NBC has tabbed Sleepy Hollow co-showrunner Albert Kim for a script for an unnamed drama that sounds like it would be the Asian equivalent to Empire. Instead of the recording industry, the Korean/American family at the center of the plot would be in the business of electronics.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the NBC project revolves around a family-owned Korean electronics corporation that is rocked when its CEO dies on the eve of launching their American subsidiary, with his will revealing the existence of a previously unknown heir. 

Kim based the original concept on Korean chaebolsmultinational business conglomerates like Samsung that are run by single ruling families that often go through succession dramas. It is described as a multicultural soap, the story of a modern-day Anastasia — an ordinary woman who grew up halfway across the world in the U.S., unaware of her elite status as corporate royalty. "Poised to inherit fame, wealth and influence beyond her dreams, her emergence ignites a Shakespearean battle for power amongst her newfound siblings in the Los Angeles-based drama."

It is being produced by Lin Pictures, headed by Dan Lin, a Taiwanese-born American film producer. Lin Pictures has its hands on other projects that have Asian/American angles, including The Lego Movie, The Lego Batman Movie, The Lego Ninjago Movie, Sherlock Holmes, Death Note and more. 

Daniel Dae KIm as lots to smile about.

Daniel Dae Kim has bemoaned the lack of parts for Asian/American actors. He has kept himself busy since leaving Hawaii Five-0. He's one of the few actors to move behind the camera to try and do something about it. After the success of The Good Doctor, adapted from the Korean series of the same name, Kim, as a producer, hopes to hit the jackpot again with Re Jane, and Exhibit A, both adapted from Korean dramas. 

Kim received criticism from some circles for not casting an Asian/American as the lead in  The Good Doctor. If his two new projects find their way on air, he'll more than make up for  that criticism as he plans to have Asian/Americans as the main protagonists.

Re Jane
Re Jane is a comedy adaptation of the Patricia Park novel of the same name, has landed at TV Land. 
Set in the geographically close but highly disparate worlds of Flushing, Queens and Brooklyn, the single-camera comedy centers on Jane Re, a honhyol (mixed race) Korean-American woman who feels like an outsider in every sense: She didn’t attend an Ivy League school, she’s been fired from her first Wall Street job and at 5-foot-7 she towers over the other Korean-American women around her. 
Feeling trapped by Korean principles including nunchi (a combination of good manners, hierarchy and obligation) that have defined her life so far, Jane finds an opportunity to jump into a different life when she becomes an au pair to the adopted Chinese daughter of Beth and Ed, a couple of Brooklyn intellectuals. 
Exhibit A
Exhibit A is a legal drama based on the South Korean series My Lawyer, Mr. Jo, in the works at CBS.  According to Deadline, if Exhibit A is picked up to series, it would be the first U.S. non-action drama to feature an Asian/American lead. 

Written by Hawley, Exhibit A is based on the South Korean series My Lawyer, Mr. Jo. It centers on a disgraced Korean/American prosecutor who finds redemption as a defense lawyer when he pairs with a young idealistic attorney and the two fight for the underdogs of Los Angeles. 

UPDATED: Nov. 27, 11 a.m. to include Warrior.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Why Trump's tweets vs. African Americans should concern the AAPI community

Reynold Liang was one of the four Asian American men attacked for being in a predominantly
white neighborhood in New York City.

DONALD TRUMP almost ruined my Thanksgiving. His early morning tweets on Thanksgiving Day should raise a red flag for Asian/Americans and Pacific Islanders.

While I give thanks for so many things in my life, the current regime in Washington is not one of them.

In response to a Washington Post columnist Greg Sergent's supposition that Trump tends to attack African/Americans but let white misdeeds or insults go without response, Trump tweeted at 3:31 a.m., "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!" - all caps.

Instead of refuting Sergent's column's claims, Trump sends a message that - as a person of color - I interpret as, "Yeah - Make America  White Again."

Now, you might say I'm making a mountain out of molehill or that I'm too sensitive to racial jibes, but you have to see Trump's tweets or actions or executive orders in the overall context of Trump's political life, which I would say started when he began making birther accusations against President Obama in the spring of 2011.

“I have some real doubts,” Trump said in an interview on the “Today” show that year. He claimed to have sent his own investigators to Hawaii, where Obama was born. "I have people that actually have been studying it and they cannot believe what they're finding." Of course, that so-called evidence was never produced.

A strong argument can be made that his anti-black sentiments go back further when he took out a full-page ad condemning the Central Park Five, who were all African Americans,  and who were exonerated from that brutal attack on a female jogger. Another man, confessed to the crime in 2012 after DNA evidence linked him to the attack.

Trump still thinks the five boys, now men, are guilty of the brutal crime.

But, I'm digressing from my original statement. Suffice it to say, Trump's recent tweets vs. prominent and not-so-prominent African/Americans, plus his statements after the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, demonstrate that his animus against African/Americans still warps his world view.

In his blog, Sargent argued that Trump "goes out of his way to attack prominent African Americans," including basketball dad LaVar Ball and NFL athletes protesting racial inequities during the national prior to taking to the field.

Sargent responded on Twitter: "Trump's rage-tweets about LaVar Ball are part of a pattern. Trump regularly attacks high-profile African Americans to feed his supporters' belief that the system is rigged for minorities."

In San Francisco, this popped up.
For those of you who don't follow sports, Ball is the ego-driven father of some gifted sons who excel in basketball. His oldest son left UCLA early to play professionally with the L.A. Lakers. His younger son is still playing for the UCLA Bruins.

During a trip to China, young Ball was caught shoplifting along with two other UCLA players. The arrests occurred at the same time Trump happened to by in China. Trump claims he interceded and helped in the early release of the three college students. 

LaVar Ball said he had the situation under control and that Trump shouldn't take all the credit for his son's release. What motivated him to respond in such an off-handed manner is not known but he has a deserved reputation for making outlandish statements to bring attention to himself. 

But in reality, in the greater scheme of things in a world threatened by nuclear war, Russian meddling in U.S. elections and Supreme Court appointments, Ball is not worthy of a presidential response. However, Trump did respond in tweets posted around 2:30 a.m.:

"But it's hard to avoid noticing a gratuitously ugly pattern in Trump's responses, in which Trump vaguely suggests either that his targets are getting above their station, or that they're asking for too much and are insufficiently thankful for all that he has done for them," wrote Sargent.

Many white men who have criticized Trump don’t get the same backlash. The president has never tweeted about author Stephen King, who has publicly called him everything from “an idiot” to a “fake president.” Billionaire Tom Steyer recently started a multi-million dollar ad campaign calling for Trump’s impeachment. So far, Trump and the White House haven’t said a thing. The harshest comment about late night host Stephen Colbert's ridiculing the Trumpster almost daily, was a mild "unfunny."

Some of the prominent African/Americans that Trump attacked or belittled included ESPN reporter Jemele Hill, journalist April Ryan, NBA star Stephen Curry, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA., Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., and, of course, the majority of NFL players who took to their knees to make a statement about the racial inequities that still exist in our country.

Some Asian/Americans, especially those first-generation immigrants, still don't see the link between the civil rights of African/Americans and the well-being of the Asian/American community.

The growth of the white supremacy movement (with the implicit approval of the Trump regime) should concern all of us. While they make no bones about attacking African/Americans, Latinos and Muslims, history tells us they are talking about ALL people of color. Look at your skin.

"While few Asian Americans trace our roots to the Civil War, our history in this nation is deeply intertwined and impacted by white supremacy and nativism," says a statement from Asian Americans Advancing Justice. 

"At the turn of the 20th century, white mobs threatened -- and even lynched -- Chinese, Filipino, and South Asian immigrants, in part for fear they would taint (white) American culture. White supremacist groups helped to pass the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first law to ban an entire ethnic group. And white supremacy birthed 'alien land laws,' barring 'non-citizens' from owning land at a time when mainly Asians could not become U.S. citizens, and anti-miscegenation laws, prohibiting interracial marriage (a law that in California specifically singled out Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and other Asians). White supremacy also paved the way for the U.S. government to violate due process and incarcerate 120,000 Japanese Americans, many U.S. citizens, during World War II -- an action upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Korematsu vs. United States and never formally overturned."

From one of the earliest recorded hate crime in the 1800s when the white supremacist group, Arsonists of the Order of Caucasians, set on fire four Chinese men who they blamed for taking jobs from white workers; to earlier this year when two South Asian man were shot, one fatally, while enjoying an after-work drink with co-workers in Kansas City, the rise of white supremacists can no longer be ignored by Asian/Americans.

Indeed, hate crimes against Asian Americans are rising and getting more violent in direct proportion to the growing boldness of white supremacists. We cannot stand idly by, nor can we ignore the growing atmosphere of hate in the day-to-day encounters on commuter trains, as we shop for holiday presents, as we meet with our friends in restaurants and bars, as our children are bullied, as our places of worship are marred with vandalism or set afire, 

We are not exempt from the ignorance of racists, the hatred of bigots or the actions of the current regime in Washington.

"White supremacy drives the (Trump's) Muslim bans, seeking to ban entire groups of people based on their national origin and non-Christian religion," continues the AAAJ statement.

UCLA students protest attacks on Asians and Asian Americans on and near campus.

The AAAJ pointed two current policies that demonstrate the Trump regime's true sentiments towards Asian/Americans:

"First, when the President announced his support for the RAISE Act, an immigration bill that would gut the current family-based immigration system, which has brought millions of Asian, African, and Latin American immigrants into the U.S. and remade the racial demographics of the U.S. in the past 50 years. 

"And second, when the White House redirected federal civil rights resources to undo long-standing affirmative action policies. The administration’s purported claim to be fighting discrimination against Asian Americans flies counter to all other evidence that this administration and its allies and supporters seek to advance only the interests of fellow white Americans.

The DOJ questioning of Harvard's admission policies is not so much addressing some Asian/Americans' complaints, as it is more of an attack on the concept of affirmative action, the true goal of the Trump regime.

Years ago, Filipino/American essayist and author Carlos Bulosan wrote in his classic novel "America Is In the Heart":
America is also the nameless foreigner, the homeless refugee, the hungry boy begging for a job and the black body dangling on a tree. America is the illiterate immigrant who is ashamed that the world of books and intellectual opportunities are closed to him. We are all that nameless foreigner, that homeless refugee, that hungry boy, that illiterate immigrant and that lynched black body. All of us, from the first Adams to the last Filipino, native born or alien, educated or illiterate - We are America!
When unarmed African/Americans are shot by police,'when Latinos are called rapists, drug-dealers and singled out to show their "proof of legal residency" along our country's southern border; when Muslims can't fly on airplanes without attracting suspicion; or targeted by immigration restrictions; we Asian/Americans are also being targeted, called racial slurs, bullied and harassed.