12.30.2015

Open Thread: Saying Goodbye to the Blasian Narrative (#ShutItDown)

Wow.

I've been rehearsing what I was going to type all day, but now that I'm typing, I'm not even sure how to begin something like this.

I know some of you are waiting on the sequel to BAP's post, but that will not be the case.  Effective February 3rd, 2016 - which would be the Narrative's 6th Birthday - there will be no more Blasian Narrative.  By then our Twitter and Facebook accounts should be closed, and as well as our shop and official website.  Effective immediately, all comments will go into moderation, and this will be the only post accepting comments.  I am, however, willing to leave the AMBW Network intact because, well...videos.

This decision was not made lightly; in fact, I've been quite emotional for much of today, but optimistic.  Believe or not, we accomplished a lot here.  There was no blog quite like ours; we shed light on media and artists most folks didn't even know existed.  In addition to entertainment, we provided insight into Blasian history and sociology.  For over five years, we had a great run and amassed a wide fanbase.  I am thrilled to have met you guys and written with some of you guys, and I hope to still see a lot of you At the Bar, which has been feeling neglected for some time now.

See, I started this Narrative as a safe space for people interested in AMBW, a platform where independent artists could have a voice.  We were but one of many.  After speaking with and reading the work of blogger BAP - a shrewd, insightful, and extremely supportive online friend whom I'm so grateful to have met - I've come to realize that contrary to popular assumption, the biggest obstacle standing in the way of AMBW groups was never race; it's gender.

Women do the heavy lifting; it's a major part of social inequality which only women (and a man here and there) care to address. And since my 2016 resolution for myself and motto for all women (especially women of color) is "Put Thyself First", I want to explore a more woman-centered focus in my blogging.

I noticed that a lot of the AMBW groups are founded and run by women; I've also noticed that many of them often comment about shutting the groups doing or vlogging about why they've left the AMBW community (I myself have withdrawn from all groups save this one).  So I also want to encourage all women who find themselves doing all the work in groups where there are supposed to be male counterparts, to by all means #ShutItDown.  Close up shop, and refocus all that time, innovation, and money onto yourselves, and onto one another.

So...sistas of the Narrative, if you haven't already, I strongly suggest you get to know The Black Girls' Club; my fellow writers and I will be trying to expand that blog, and our Facebook family there is steadily growing.  I will also be spending early January on reorganizing and expanding Middle Child Press which, if you don't know, is a 100% woman-owned and woman-operated independent publishing house for women of color.  Our hope is to one day generate a large and steady enough revenue stream that we can create job opportunities for more women.

In the meantime, feel free to share your favorite memories of the Narrative on this post; I'm interested to see how many of you have been with us since the beginning, and I'm eager to reconnect with you.

This is your girl Ankh...signing off.

12.29.2015

Guest Post: Attraction to Black Women - Are Asian Men Keeping a Secret?

Big Asian Package, a.k.a. BAP, is a sex and kink-positive blogger who writes to encourage Asian men to embrace and express their sexuality. I was recently intrigued by one of his non-sex posts in which he stated, "Asian men, bros, let me have your attention for a moment. I don’t need to tell you about the discrimination, you’re living in it. You have to act if you want change. It’s a hostile environment, but the ladies are leading the charge, kicking all kinds of ass, and you’re not helping enough. So don’t think of it in terms of modesty, privacy, or hassle; think of it in terms of picking up a fair share of the work that we all agree needs to be done. Write your experiences. They are worthwhile." To my surprise this was in reference to AMWW relationships in which white women were doing more writing than Asian men. To anyone who follows AMBW, the same could be said about our groups and forums. So I emailed BAP and he replied almost immediately with this post. As this one focuses mainly on sexual attraction, he will write an additional post on the relationship aspect.

***

Are Asian men keeping sexual attraction to black women a secret? In a way, yes, I believe so.

The thing is, it is not really about black women in particular. It's less about the women themselves and who identifies as black vs. white vs. Latina vs. (insert ethnic group here), as much as it is about the tendency for many Asian men to keep their sex lives between them and their partners. While representing just my own experience, I don't think my point of view is unique - I have never felt compelled to contribute to casual workplace or schoolmate discussions about my sex life or desiring one kind of woman over another.

12.09.2015

Counting Down to 2016: New Year's Resolution #1

Okay, I feel like I haven't told one of my "stories" here in a long while, and I feel like I haven't done one of my New Year's Resolution posts in a long while.  So, without further ado, I want to combine the two with a story about my Asian male coworker whom we'll just call Adam.

Adam recently replaced someone else in the IT department at our company.  Now, when the other dude originally said, "Fuck it" and turned in his resignation, I'll be honest.  I lit incense and asked the gods if they could please-pretty-please let the corporate Powers That Be hire a cute Asian guy to replace him.

At the time, a couple of my coworkers were well aware of my attraction to Asian men, so when Adam was hired, they couldn't wait to tell me.  I, of course, remained cynical, because despite being a devout polytheist, I have noticed that on occasion, the gods will answer a prayer directly...only to fuck with the details.  They have a sense of humor to maintain, after all.

And when Adam was first hired, he was like a ghost.  I never saw him, hadn't been told his name yet, and for a couple of weeks, no one said anything about him.  There was no company memo announcing the arrival of a new employee, nor did he do the customary "greeting tour" where newbies are dragged from cubicle to cubicle for introductions.  So I simply refused to believe Adam really existed, until the head of IT mentioned him in passing during lunch one day.  Now, I should explain that Adam's real name sounds kinda Russian, so when I heard it, I rolled my eyes and was, like, "I knew it...it's another white dude."

But then...out of the blue one morning, I walk into work and nearly collide with a seriously adorable Filipino guy - tallish, on the slender side, very shy - and we both pause, as if to say, "Whaaaat...?"

12.01.2015

...And the other shoe drops on #IntotheBadlands

Two things: Issue #1 - Some of us have been waiting for the fuckery to begin where Sunny and Veil are concerned and in addition to having Quinn be all creepy and sleazy towards Veil, this week's episode threw us a hint in the form of Zephyr, a female Clipper with whom Sunny used to be "involved" and who's made it clear she wants to get back to tappin' that (not that we can blame her).

Zephyr doesn't bug me for the reasons that you'd think.  Let me start with the fact that the thought of two Clippers getting it on is hot, no matter if it's Guy-Guy, Girl-Girl, Guy-Girl, Three-Way Combos or what have you.  Clippers getting it on is the sort of fanfiction fodder that just basically writes itself.  'Cause you know they don't trust one another and probably hold onto their weapons even when they're going at it.

It is realistic that Sunny would have an ex, so the fact there was another woman once upon a time doesn't bug me.  He's a Clipper; in a exchange for a Clipper's loyalty, Barons are happy to let them have lovers.  Just by the way Sunny swigs off his flask alone lets us know he "had a life" before he met Veil.

That Zephyr is subtly presented as a "threat" to Sunny and Veil's relationship doesn't worry me.  At least this actress actually looks like a real warrior, which was a welcome sight.  But the fact that she - and the ex-Regent in the wheelchair - were cast as White is a missed opportunity on a show which, let's face it, is banking on its attempt at diversity to get somewhere in this world.

News flash, AMC: simply casting an Asian lead, a Black girlfriend we don't see much, and a White/Indian/Pakistani mixie sidekick and then burying them in a blinding sea of ever-expanding Whiteness does not a "diverse" cast make.  And no, I'm not counting the martial arts team from Hong Kong - they're not speaking characters on the show.

11.29.2015

#AMBW Prayers for #ChicagoMed

Let me start by saying I don't know much about the Chicago franchise; I never bothered with Chicago PD or Chicago Fire, and I wasn't going to start with Chicago Med until I saw Brian Tee in a promo pic and quickly confirmed he's a member of the main cast.

Lawd...have...mercy.

Why in the name of the gods has it taken this long for people to realize the value of Asians on TV????  I'll be honest; I was never into ER, I'm over my Scrubs phase (for now), and I've only recently reconnected with Grey's Anatomy, so I wasn't looking for yet ANOTHER medical drama.  But as you can see, the way Brian Tee fills out those maroon scrubs is enough to make a pygmy pause and reconsider.

Now, I like Tee no matter what the hell he's in - the Drift King in Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift, Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat: Legacy, even as Chow Liang in that Gabby Douglas movie.  To see him cast as Dr. Ethan Choi, a 3rd-year resident and Navy reserve is just a cherry on top.

That being said, my one big beef with his character is the same beef with all the characters of color on this show: he's subordinate to bunch of White people.

11.27.2015

Autumn Asian Men: Daniel Wu as "Sunny" (#IntotheBadlands)


Why the hell not???

Autumn is free to go.  We have what we need to keep us warm for winter.

I mean, do I really need to even explain/describe/whatever this one?  Daniel Wu has a face that pulls the very breath from your lungs.  Even watching him fight is liking watching the living embodiment of sex.

11.21.2015

The 26th Annual Houston Native American Championship Pow-Wow

Gorgeous Jingle Dance competitors at the conclusion of their event.
A man with intricate adornments and tattoos.
During Thanksgiving time, many of us ironically forget about the native people of the United States. We won't recognize their culture or the pain the aforementioned upcoming holiday will trigger for those whose ancestors were marginalized and nearly made extinct in their own land. 

The Native American people are not simply Indians. They are a rightfully proud people with a rich culture. They have a variety of traditions, awesome stories to tell, gorgeous regalia, and intriguing dances. 

The pow-wow, the Narragansett word for "spiritual leader", is a meeting of Native American people which typically involves dancing. Within the pow-wow Circle, men, women, and children move their bodies in an impressive, rhythmic manner to the beat of drums and singing, the physical representation of stories passed down over hundreds of years. 
Couples taking part in the "two-step" dance where two lines are formed
behind lead dancers of each gender.
Luckily, I had the opportunity to attend the first day of the two-day 26th Annual Houston Native American Championship Pow-Wow last week. It was a gorgeous, clear day for a pow-wow with cool weather and generous sunshine. Native American dancers from several tribes exhibited many traditional dances for the crowd as well as for competition. There was also plenty of opportunity for attendees to dance and make monetary donations to the tribes. 

11.04.2015

The Hair Gods are Calling

HAIR HAIR HAIR...AGAIN?
I came across an article about the spiritual nature of hair in the Native American culture. As many black women move from the "creamy crack" to the "juices and berries" (get it? haha) method I wondered about the significance of hair in other cultures, specifically a culture that has always been known to have long, thick, hair. If you saw a black girl with long, black, straight hair it was assumed she had "some Indian" in he...yeah ok. The article refers to human hair as a "biological necessity". It suggests that our hair, when left to grow on its own without any manipulation, can increase vitality, tranquility, and intuition. It addresses something I never realized about Asian hair and the infamous bangs you see them sporting. Since being in Korea, I've heard from Korean women that they wear bangs to hide their flat foreheads. Umm...ok then. Even some of my students would say, "Teacher I want a round forehead like you". 

Interestingly, the article states that:"The bones in the forehead are porous and function to transmit light to the pineal gland, which affects brain activity, as well as thyroid and sexual hormones. Cutting bangs which cover the forehead impedes this process. When Genghis Khan conquered China, he considered the Chinese to be a very wise, intelligent people who would not allow themselves to be subjugated. He therefore required all women in the country to cut their hair and wear bangs, because he knew this would serve to keep them timid and more easily controlled." So then I thought, say what now? Aren't Asian women stereotypically considered the most timid, passive, and submissive women? 

Anyway, Native Americans believe that your hair is your connection to God and mother Earth; your connection to God's thoughts and powers. Cutting the hair is the cutting off of thought from God. Braids symbolize oneness and unity. Each strand woven together physically demonstrates "one mind, one heart, one soul". 

In the article that I read, there is a claim that during the Vietnam War Native American reservations were combed through for young men with outstanding, almost supernatural, tracking abilities. The men chosen were known as the best warriors and good at tracking and survival. Once they joined the ranks and received the standard military haircut, their abilities disappeared and they were deemed failures..."-the older recruits replied consistently that when they received their required military haircuts, they could no longer 'sense' the enemy, they could no longer access a 'sixth sense', their 'intuition' no longer was reliable, they couldn't 'read' subtle signs as well or access subtle extrasensory information." SAY WHAAAATTT! A test was conducted to see if this was actually true. So, Native Americans..some if them, were exempted from military regulated haircuts.

Now, I ain't no fool, so I did more research about this Native Americans in the Vietnam War story and I found that many consider this story a myth. Many believe that the correlation between long hair and heightened carnal functions is utter bullshit. But it does make you think. The links to the articles are below. What do you think? Below are links to the articles and other information on the topic. Peace and Light Good People. 

10.29.2015

Interview with Jewelry Marker and English Teacher Breann White

Jewelry maker and English teacher Breann White.
(Cross-posted on my blog).

Becoming a professional artist takes determination, dedication, an indefinite ride on the daily grind train. Additionally, more times than not, to pay the bills an artist must hold down a solid job, which may or may not fall in the realm of their interests. 

This isn't the case for Breann White. She loves arts and crafts and is able to use her talents as a preschool teacher in at an international school in Tokyo. "[B]eing a preschool teacher fits my personality," she says.

While working during the week, she is growing her jewelry business, Rozen Stones. She makes her wares at her apartment work desk.

"My dad really got me into music and I loved writing and drawing...I dabbled in crochet, sewing, painting, and I love them all...I love making things so...I decided to start making fashion jewelry...I wish I could do it all day."

Although working with children is quite a vocal job, growing up White was on the quieter side.

"I was...[a] shy girl. I loved to...read all the time. My first 'job' was volunteering at a library...I kept getting in trouble for reading and not shelving [the books]."

Nevertheless, she never felt isolated as an only child.

White's workstation.
"I never felt lonely, my parents were always very loving and I had my friends who were like sisters to me. I was pretty active in school activities as well."

White's reason for relocating to Japan three years ago after obtaining a degree in English was, like many, motivated by her interest in the culture. Aside from her love for the anime Sailor Moon, White's contact with an exchange student from Tokyo at her high school was a major impetus for her choice to see Japan for herself.

"She taught me all about Japan and the culture, and I knew I had to visit one day...after high school we stayed in contact and I decided my Sophomore year [of college] to study abroad in Tokyo. I got a chance to reunite with her again when I was studying, and I just fell in love with the city."