AAPI Month Profiles: Day Eleven

Andrea Wong 

The Basics: Andrea Wong is the president of international production for Sony Pictures Television (SPT) and the president of international for Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE).  In her SPT position, Wong heads the studio’s international television production business, overseeing the creative teams outside the U.S. as well as the eighteen owned and joint venture international production companies around the world. As the head of Lifetime, she oversaw Army Wives becoming a hit show and also facilitated the acquisition of Project Runway to the network.  Both shows remain the network’s highest rated programs.

Why I Chose Them:  Achievement is such a powerful way to blaze trails and create opportunities for your community.  I think for any marginalized group, it is understood that you have to work twice as hard to get half as much.  But there is something to be said for still pursuing positions of power anyway.  Because it is from these positions that change can be made.  Simply be existing in such a position of power, you are inspiring and altering the landscape.  As always, that’s important.

AAPI Month Profiles: Day Ten

Hubert Vo

The Basics: Mr. Vo is the only Vietnamese-American to ever be elected to the Texas legislature.  A Democratic representative, his District includes parts of west Houston.  Born in South Vietnam, he moved to America to avoid the community government there.  He endorsed a program in 2014 that would allow food stamp users a wider variety of places to eat by opening up their usage at some restaurants.

Why I Chose Them:  It’s an achievement to be a minority and become an elected official in this country, but an almost miracle to become one in a state like Texas.  That alone makes this man worthy of coverage.  Representation is important and it always will be.  Even when I may not agree with every aspect of a person’s politics I’m still always happy to see when inclusion is at work.

AAPI Month Profiles: Day Eight

Teddy Zee

The Basics: He is one of the most visible champions for Asians in Hollywood.  The movies that he has produced and supervised have amassed 2/5 billion in revenue.  The man has a list of titles having served as Executive Vice President at Columbia Pictures, Senior Vice President at Paramount Pictures, President of Sony-based Overbrook Films, President of Fox-based Davis Entertainment, and now under the banner of Teddy Zee Productions.   He has done a lot of work to bridge the country of China and Hollywood together.

Why I Chose Them:  When we find success, we have to reach back and help our community.  We have to uplift others trying to do the same thing as us because that is the only way we’re going to find the diversity that we’re looking for.  This man is such a lesson and example for those of us who want to see more diversity in the media.  We have to operate behind and on the scenes to make these changes happen.  Without that alliance of people coming together to make things happen, it’s always going to be an uphill battle to get America to see its many different colors.

AAPI Month Profiles: Day Six

Amy Tan.jpg

Amy Tan

The Basics: One of America’s most well-known authors, the Chinese-American Oakland native writes novels that deal with the experience of the Chinese as a family unit here in America.  Her first novel was The Joy Luck Club, which some may know from its movie adaptation.  Her Mother’s hardships inspired the novel and served as the basis for Tan’s work moving forward.  Unfortunately, she is suffering from late-stage Lyme’s disease, but still continues to write.  Her last novel was released in 2013.

Why I Chose Them:  I’m ashamed to say I’ve only read The Joy Luck Club and as I write this, I’m rectifying that.  A woman with the caliber of work she has can’t only have one of their books read.  In my mind, she’s the Maya Angelou of the Chinese-American community and say that only having read one book.  She writes with such authority y and authenticity about the Chinese-American experience that you can’t ignore her.   It’s poetic in how she deals with the most tragic of things and somehow finds beauty in them.

AAPI Month Profiles: Day Five

Ellen Oh

The Basics: A native of New York, Ellen Oh was a former practice of corporate and entertainment law.   Of Korean-American heritage, this author has spurred calls for diversity in the publishing world and is a co-founder of the WENEEDDIVERSEBOOKS movement.  Her most well-known work to date is her trilogy; The Seven Kingdoms trilogy.  It smashes boundaries in speculative fiction for being written by a woman of color AND not being a European centric fantasy series.  It is based on Korean history, which interestingly enough a great deal she learned through translation as she is not fluent in Korean.

Why I Chose Them:  If no other reason than the founding of WENEEDDIVERSEBOOKS, Ellen Oh would be deserving of being talked about.  She helped to start a conversation in literature, particularly speculative literature that has been needed for such a long time.  The writing on the wall is quite simple and it’s that writers of color have to work much, much harder than their white (and usually male) counterparts to find success in the writing world.  This movement has done so much for me and makes me feel like things like this very blog are worthwhile.  Ellen Oh was willing to call out something that she saw as wrong and it has spurned a real movement.