We at Picture Motion have been closely following and processing the events surrounding the Asian American community over the past few weeks and it has been absolutely devastating. We want to take a moment to recognize that the AAPI community is in great pain. Although this may be news for many within our country, there is a much broader history of injustice for Asian Americans starting as early as the 1800s, and it’s important to us that we amplify that. The Atlanta Shooting in particular has ignited an important conversation about the depiction of Asian Americans in the media, how bias and stereotypes can lead to harmful, or even deadly, behavior.
Hate and violence are often fueled by fear. So we ask ourselves, and each other, these questions: What are some of your first memories of Asians in the media, and what do you remember about that portrayal? Are there potential fears, even minor ones, that may have crossed your mind? If so, why? We can’t answer these questions for you, but we recognize that fear is a very real human emotion, and if we can analyze it there’s an opportunity to do better. We invite you to think about these prompts and reflect with others in your inner circle.
We are dedicating the remainder of this newsletter to elevating AAPI voices, resources, and industry organizations. We’re honored to feature , whose mission is to increase Asian visibility in society, Hollywood, the media, and beyond. The founder of Visible Asians, Bryce Tom, spoke with our VP of Impact Distribution & Experiences, Megan Vandervort, about the violence directed towards Asians, representation in media, and holding people accountable.
Q: Bryce, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. We love what you’re doing with Visible Asians, especially in the wake of Anti-Asian violence finally elevated in the mainstream media. Do you mind sharing a little more about what prompted you to create Visible Asians and the work that you’re doing?
A: “In the early months of 2020, when the Covid pandemic was just starting, Trump and Fox News were scapegoating Asians as the reason for the virus, and they continually and ignorantly stoked the racist flames by referring to Covid-19 as Kung Flu, China Virus, etc. This immediately put a target on the backs of every Asian and Asian-American in this country.
I know myself, and I know my strengths. I’ll never be a militant on-the-ground activist, and that’s okay, especially when there are so many out there that do a far better job than I ever could. So I asked myself, what can I do to make a difference? I strongly believe the rise in anti-Asian violence is directly correlated to a lack of Asian visibility in the media and in Hollywood.
As such, I made it my mission to use my perch as a PR/Communications exec to enact the change that I want to see. I’ve worked in the entertainment biz for nearly two decades, and in that time, I’ve seen first-hand how invisible Asians and Asian-Americans are in Hollywood and the media in general. So I built and launched Visible Asians as a think tank to address and promote heightened visibility for Asians across the board.”
Be sure to continue to , then keep reading below for more powerful organizations supporting the AAPI community that you should know:
In solidarity, Team PicMo
AAPI Women Lead
is a powerhouse organization that facilitates all types of community support from mutual aid to their . They have also put together specific resources during COVID 19 that includes information on worker and employment rights, language aid, undocumented worker protections, and mask distribution. Their ultimate goal is to create community and solidarity throughout the vast community of AAPI women and educate on the racism and violence that AAPI women face both systemically and outright. AAPI Women Lead does this work in solidarity with Black, Indigenous and other communities of color. Be sure to follow them on & or support their work !
Strong Asian Lead
labels themselves as a nonprofit diversity and marketing agency representing the Asian and Pacific Islander diaspora in entertainment. Their community-first approach focuses on working with the Asian American community in marketing strategies while uplifting businesses and emerging talent. Strong Asian Lead also advocates for AAPI storytellers to write, direct, and produce well-developed stories that only they could tell as artists of Asian descent. Join the rooms, generally on Tuesdays at 6 pm PT, to discuss how to be an active participant in the changing entertainment industry and how storytellers can advocate for themselves, even if they are the only Asian in the room.
The nonprofit is a collective of AAPI founders, creatives, and leaders who work together to promote more authentic representation and societal equity across cultures. While the vast community of Asians and Pacific Islanders may be the largest global population, there is a lack of greater community. As Gold House states, “in contrast to every major successful diaspora, Asians lack a cohesive culture of mutual support.” Gold House is working to unite that community and through that unity enact societal change. Make a plan to watch one of the incredible films on their this week! To learn about their most up-to-date events and initiatives, follow Gold House on social media – they are on , , , and .
Who To Follow On Social
NextShark is a leading source covering Asian American News and Asian News including business, culture, entertainment, politics, tech and lifestyle.
This account is dedicated to amplifying the voices of those affected by Asian hate crimes during COVID-19
Shines a light on extraordinary Asian and pacific islander women throughout history. The founder, Doris Hồ-Kane, has a book coming in the Spring of 2022!
The goal of this account and the greater organization is to uplift and support young Asian youth. But it’s not just for young people, this account shares informative graphics and sparks conversation that we should all pay attention to.
Empowering and inspiring action within the next generation of Asians through media, storytelling, spotlights, and more.
More Resources for AAPI Filmmakers and Entrepreneurs
In addition to the above features, we’ve gathered a few more resources and organizations for AAPI professionals and artists, many that are specific to the filmmaking community. We’ve included their social media handles as well as there is some fantastic content that they are sharing online, give them a follow!
Highlights entrepreneurs worldwide and put together a that is still useful and relevant!
Empowering and inspiring action within the next generation of Asians through media, storytelling, spotlights, and more. Their social media is also so informative. They have a guide on as well as a that details small ways to take action and learn about global issues affecting different Asian and Pacific Islander groups.
A-Doc is a national network that works to increase the visibility and support of Asian Americans in the documentary field. Check out their !
A coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment is a community offering fellowships and events.
CAAM is a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible. We do this by funding, producing, distributing and exhibiting works in film, television and digital media.
The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is a federation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations. The robust organization also has an .
The Asian American Artists Foundation is a non-profit whose mission is to foster and support Asian American artists in media.
A nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring greater representation, equity, and opportunities for Asian American artists and cultural organizations through resource sharing, promotion, and community building.
The AAWAA works to advance the visibility and recognition of Asian American women in the arts through exhibitions, publications, public programs. Their website serves as an accessible resource portal for educators and researchers along with the arts and impact communities.
AAPI FORCE-EF works to advance progressive policies and issues as well as builds political power for working-class AAPIs across California. Their website is a great resource for voter mobilization that sources ways to get involved.
What to Watch
Representation is important and the type of representation matters. The PicMo team pulled some of our favorite films, documentaries, and TV shows that showcase quality representation as they had AAPI direction/production, tell real stories free of cheap stereotypes, and/or have APPI characters that are robust and well-rounded. Check out that covers picks from Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. If you have more recommendations, post them in the comments!
Since posting our list we’ve also learned about , a new documentary about Asian American voters in battleground states. FIRST VOTE was recently released on !