This piece is dedicated to the six Asian women who were murdered by a racist and misogynistic individual and my attempt to make sense of the carnage by diagnosing the affective mood of the nation. By now, I’m sure most of you are familiar with the tragedy, so I won’t recount it here. But from the jump, we knew the mainstream media and law enforcement agencies would fail these women. First, a racist Georgia sheriff reported that the white man accused of killing six Asian women was “having a bad day.” …


One of the most pleasant televisual surprises of 2020 has been The Flight Attendant, starring Kaley Cuoco as Cassie Bowden, a flight attendant who has a one-night stand with a good-looking passenger named Alex Sokolov (played by an alluring Michael Huisman) and wakes up next to his deceased body. She becomes the prime suspect of his murder and sets out to prove her innocence. The caveat: she can’t remember large swaths of their time together, due to the copious alcohol they consumed. Upon first viewing of the trailer, I was in. A sky-high whodunit awash with enviable destinations and punctuated…


1. Mickey Guyton — Black Like Me

In a year in which the United States at large was, once again, forced to reckon with ongoing racial injustices and police brutality towards Black communities, the most startling protest song emerged not from hip-hop — the traditional source of resistance anthems — but rather from country music. Specifically, from a woman named Mickey Guyton, the only Black woman signed to a major label in country music. She’s been signed to Capitol Nashville since 2013, and scored minor airplay success with her debut single, “Better Than You Left Me.” Since then, she’s released…


Hong Khaou’s quiet indie drama reflects on the ways in which loss and trauma become internalized and inexpressible over a lifetime

Sawyers and Golding play conflicted love interests in Monsoon. Image: Strand Releasing.

The bevy of emotions that this film patiently unspools will hit you not quite like a monsoon, but rather, like lightly pelting rain. That is to say, the film is a solemn reverie, quiet in its maneuvers but consistent in its emotional impact. Monsoon stars newly minted Hollywood leading man Henry Golding as Kit, a British Vietnamese man who returns to Ho Chi Minh for the first time since fleeing Vietnam as a refugee (of the Vietnam War). He’s there to scatter the ashes of his mother, while his brother is due to arrive a couple weeks later with their…


A voter poll conducted by AAAJ in July — September 2020.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

These are the only futures for the model minority.

Growing up, I was surrounded by ambivalent messages

About what it means to be Asian in America.

It entails being a shitty driver,

And having small, slanted eyes;

Expected to never complain in the face of adversity,

And to oblige to manipulation as a wedge against the “bad” minorities.

I was deprived of the world-making possibilities —

Of seeing myself reflected on TV and in films,

Of reading stories about people like my parents and grandparents,

Of the reassurance that I was not alone in my…


A still from the new Mulan. Courtesy of Disney.

Reasons to boycott Mulan:

1. Most of this live-action version of Mulan was filmed in New Zealand, though parts of it were filmed in China to show “some of the unique landscapes” there. [I’m glad Niki Caro and co. realized that at least a portion of a film about a woman warrior from Chinese lore should be filmed in China! More on her later…] Disney has come under intense criticism for having shot part of Mulan in the northeastern region of Xinjiang, China, where nearly one million Muslim Uighurs are being held against their will in internment camps. According to…


This piece bridges the writings of Audre Lorde on Black womanhood with the shooting of Megan thee Stallion and the toxicity of misogynoir

Megan Thee Stallion survived a gunshot to the foot in July. Image: Billboard.

Today, we began my “beyond equity and schooling” class at Stanford (on Zoom) with a moment of recognition of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. (Editor’s note: I won’t recount the details of the police violence committed against him). Less than three months after the murder of George Floyd re-galvanized this country in protests against systemic racism and police brutality, another unarmed Black man has been gunned down by police. And I should point out that police have been killing unarmed Black and Brown folks this ENTIRE time, including, notably, Rayshard Brooks back in June 2020. The only difference is…


Image: BlackGayBlog

We need to talk about misogynoir. No, not misogyny, but misogynoir — the racially specific, gender-based oppression that Black women face. The term was coined by Black queer feminist Moira Bailey to address the misogyny that affects Black women in American visual and popular culture. As with Kimberle Crenshaw’s intersectionality, another term that signals the multiplicity and complexity of one’s identity, we need to take race AND gender in conversation with one another (alongside class, nationality, etc.) to understand the specific phenomenon of misogynoir.

So, why now? Well there have been multiple headlines that have been deeply troubling. First is…


Naya Rivera as Santana Lopez. Image courtesy Shutterstock.

All day yesterday, I found myself unexpectedly, yet persistently, welling up with tears whenever I would see heartfelt tributes to Naya Rivera from her former Glee castmates on social media [compiled here for your waterworks convenience]. And I could not figure out why, given that I hadn’t considered myself a fan per se, outside of her work on Glee. But I suppose, as they say, grief works in mysterious ways. There’s something about her presence as a performer that was so captivating that I can’t help but mourn the loss occasioned by her untimely passing. Her family and her fans…


J.Lo and Shakira delivered an unforgettable Halftime. Image: Getty.

SuperBowl LIV is certainly one for the history books. After several years of conservative, white male entertainers who were received lukewarmly (Maroon 5 in 2019, Justin Timberlake in 2018, Coldplay in 2016), the NFL took a big swing by hiring Jennifer Lopez and Shakira as the headliners for the 2020 fete. It was historic in that the two Latin pop stars constituted the first Latin headlines for the NFL’s annual halftime show. The NFL has been at the center of heated debates about racial equality and justice in this country, due to its refusal to sign political activist Colin Kapernick…

Derek Lu

Ph.D Student at USC, TV and pop culture fanatic. Follow me for critical takes on what’s making waves in today’s oversaturated landscape. 🐝

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