Surge of bias incidents prompts Asian Americans in entertainment industry to speak out
Bias attacks against Asian Americans are prompting outcries, including from Asians in the entertainment industry, to stop the hate.
Performer and playwright Sora Baek says that she is enraged by the attacks.
“My heart is broken and it’s bleeding,” she says.
Baek is a South Korean immigrant. She says that she believes that storytelling is a bridge to understanding.
Last year her one-woman play based on the true experiences of North Korean women emigrating from their country was staged at the Jersey City Theater Center – a nonprofit company with a mission of diverse programing shining a light on global issues.
Baek says that her own frustration over limitations placed on Asians in the entertainment industry prompted her to create the play.
“That was my way of saying, ‘I can’t take this anymore.’ I’m creating work opportunities for myself, for people like me who look like me, now speak like me,” she says.
Baek says that it is time for a reckoning, not only toward equitable casting, but for America, as the country is experiencing a surge in hate crimes reported against Asian Americans. Those attacks are up 150% during the past year.
Actress and singer Diane Phelan who is of Filipino descent is another outspoken advocate of equality on the stage. She says that she too is devastated by the bias incidents. She says that she believes that they are linked to the pandemic.
“The use of terms ‘Kung Flu’ and ‘China Virus’ has emboldened many folks to take their aggressions out on the Asian American community,” she says.
Phelan is calling on everyone to speak out, including a strong voice from Asian Americans in the entertainment industry and all walks of life.
“If you want to partake in a conversation about what it means to be American, it’s also on us to say, ‘Hey, you can’t do this. You can’t do this.' We’re human too. We deserve dignity,” Phelan says.