It started when I was a kid, and continued into my teens – I used to pinch the end of my nose with my third finger and my thumb, then push the tip up with my index. Because in all the books I’d read with descriptions of the characters I wanted to be, they all had that “upturned nose”. Which… if you know, you know. It’s a form of self-hatred. And I’m pretty sure, to this day, I still do it absentmindedly, out of habit. The self-hatred has become an actual physical routine, something I haven’t quite been able to quit.
This habit, this memory, isn’t the kind to be proud of but… it’s mine. So when I read these words by Asian Canadian poet Christopher Tse, I felt seen:
“This is for
Every kid who has ever tried to pull their nose bridge to make it taller
Every time they mocked us ‘cause our eyes are smaller
This is for our elders, both alive and remembered…”
These lines are from a new original work written by Christopher composed specifically for a new video that just was released morning for Asian Heritage Month in Canada: a bold and fiery tribute to our Asian ancestors, an acknowledgment of those who have done the work of honouring their memories, and, we hope, a spiriting rally for the new generation of Asian Canadians who are calling out injustice and creating space for our stories to be told.
I am one of the members of the all-Asian Canadian producing team, which includes Melissa Grelo, Sasha Tong, Andrea Hoang, and Cristina Carpio with the support of a national coalition of Asian Canadians pushing for change, led by Janice Fukukasa. The stunning visuals are the work of Director of Photography Tony Edgar and cinematographer Jacky Chen, who beautifully and safely executed our vision; and it all came together thanks to editor Phil Harris, and Rey Mendoza, Abby Albino, Meika Wagner, and Nicole Sison from MadRuk Entertainment, the coolest production house on the block and Filipino-owned!
The theme of Asian Heritage Month this year is “Recognition, Resilience, and Resolve” and our goal with this piece is to support the work of the #FaceRace campaign and other activists who have been leading the way. #FaceRace is a grassroots initiative by Asian Canadians that calls on all of us to confront racism amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in solidarity with the South Asian community, #BlackLivesMatter, and Indigenous Peoples in dismantling white supremacist structures.
Thanks so much for watching. And if it’s no trouble, we thank you in advance for sharing it.
Yours in gossip,