immigrant experiences

what if i told you that a lot of “Americanized” versions of foods were actually the product of immigrant experiences and are not “bastardized versions”

I was not a rich kid. My father was a waiter at Arnaud’s – and he was an immigrant, so his experiences were different. He had this philosophy where he would work for five years, and take one year off. And that’s how he lived his life. He wasn’t a career guy – he was a life guy. One year, we followed the Rainbow Festival and the Rolling Stones across the country. We lived in a van…
— 

Sunrise Ruffalo: Free Spirit 

A great article on the woman I love and her  new project. What a woman…what a beauty, through and through.

Despite the fact that it’s pretty goddamn crazy that there’s a talking bear in a duffle coat, most people react to Paddington not with amazement, but with prejudice. Like the cab driver who charges extra for bears.

Even Paddington’s adoptive family try have him fit their mold rather than learn about his culture. Instead of taking a few minutes to learn his Peruvian name, they literally give him the first “English one” they see: the name of the goddamn train station they’re all standing in.

It’s pretty clear that Paddington’s story is meant to represent the immigrant experience in England – but it’s likely an even more specific commentary than one might realize. The location of Paddington Station was one of the means by which a large influx of West Indian immigrants entered Britain in the 50s. The racial tension bubbled up into the brutal Notting Hill race riot in 1958 (not to be confused with the Notting Hill riots from 1999, when people demanded Hugh Grant’s head). Incidentally, 1958 is the same year the first Paddington book was published.

The recent movie adaptation didn’t ignore this context, incorporating calypso music in the soundtrack as a reference to the Notting Hill immigrant culture. Even Paddington’s distinctive suitcase and “Please Look After this Bear” tag aren’t totally apolitical – they were inspired by the author’s memories of children being evacuated during WWII, standing in a train station with “a label round their neck with their name and address on and a little case or package containing all their treasured possessions.” So, yep, Paddington is a refugee.

6 Children’s Books Whose Real Story Flew Over Your Head

anonymous asked:

ok this is going to sound rude but i totally don't mean it to be, but as an asian i always get super exited when i see asian authors, so i was wondering why you chose to write a european story rather than something korean? loved it tho

Hi nonny:

I get this question a lot, so I’m going to come across as a bit short or annoyed, but it’s not about you, I promise (I don’t know you after all). 

It’s about your question.

It is a rude question, and I don’t appreciate it. Frankly, what I am and how that affects what I write is none of anyone’s business. If you want to know why I wrote Wintersong and not something Asian, I write a little about it here. And it isn’t that I don’t intend to write something Asian-inspired; I do. Why did I choose to write something European? Many things. I like Mozart. I like the German language. I like European folklore. I am pretty goth. I grew up with these things, so I know them pretty intimately. 

But I want to unpack this question a little. Why is it that women of color are expected to write or perform their own marginalizations? Do we go around asking out queer people to only write queer stories? Do we ask disabled people to only write their disability? Incidentally, I wrote my disability into Wintersong. I gave Liesl my bipolar disorder. But the praise and censure I get always stems from the most obvious marginalization I have: my face, and by extension, my ethnic background.

If you want to get into the weeds of why I didn’t write something Korean first, it’s because I’m not Korean. I am of Korean descent, yes. I am a member of the diaspora. But neither am I truly a part of the Korean-American immigrant experience. I grew up pretty privileged: my dad is white, I went to an all-girl’s private school, was part of swim and tennis clubs, etc. I had a lot of the markers of cultural whiteness, which is tied with class. My Koreanness is whitewashed, not just by my cultural privilege, but because I didn’t have access to a Korean extended family. My aunties, uncles, and cousins all live in Seoul, or some didn’t make it out of Pyongyang before the establishment of the 38th Parallel. I’ve been to Korea twice. The only Korean members of my family are my mother and my grandmother. Everyone else is white.

That cultural whiteness? It comes across to a lot of people, and it especially came across to other Koreans. There are reasons I don’t speak the language as well as I should, considering it was my milk tongue. I went to Korean school and attended Korean church for a while, but I was bullied and ostracized so badly I stopped going back when I was 9. I wasn’t bullied because my dad was white; I was bullied because I wasn’t Korean enough. I didn’t share their cultural language. I didn’t even share the same parental pressures. My mother is the one who had been pressuring me to quit my day job and become a full-time writer, not my dad. As a result, I was the outcast in every Asian group I ever tried to be a part of as a kid. Some were open about it to my face. You’re not Korean enough. Some were more insidious about it. They would deliberately choose subjects and topics about which I had no handhold, freezing me out of conversation. My friends? The theatre kids, the artist freaks, the writers. The vast majority of them? White. 

This obviously left pretty deep psychic scars. I can’t eat doughnuts, for one. They smell of Korean school and shame. But it also left me with a deep insecurity about even approaching a Korean subject in writing. Am I enough? Am I enough, am I enough, am I enough? It’s only as an adult that I’ve made Asian friends, that I’ve slowly started to find my way back to the heritage I’ve kept at arm’s length. 

I’m telling you my history, nonny, to better answer your question. But to also maybe shed a light on the effect of asking a marginalized person to perform their marginalization for you. For me, that question is fraught, and I imagine it is for a lot of other Asian writers as well. When I hear that question, all I hear is You are not enough. You are not Asian enough. You didn’t even write something Asian. You are not enough, you are not enough, you are not enough.

youtube

It’s America’s ghost writers, the credit’s only borrowed.

The official music video for “Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)” from The Hamilton Mixtape.  Lyrics, including English translation of the verses in Spanish, can be found here.

(I would very much like to know if the overall structure-metaphor of this video was intended as a deliberate homage to Snowpiercer.)

Image by Marian Carrasquero/NPR

The Trump administration’s executive order on immigration is heightening awareness of the challenges immigrants face getting into this country. Once here, children and teenagers can find themselves in circumstances completely out of their control, and those circumstances are now at the center of two recent young adult novels – our own Lynn Neary has the story.

– Petra

Justice for DC and YA Heroes Panel

Sarah J. Maas = Catwoman (2018) 

  • Selena’s friends are meant to draw her out from her guarded nature and be a teen in the way she wasn’t able to before because of who she had to take care of 
  • Selena is toward the later end of the teen, age spectrum 
  • It is dual POV (or multi) 
  • There is a character named Lucas Fox, the son of Lucius Fox 
    • I KNOW RIGHT LUCAS = LUCIEN, FOX !!!! I HAD THE SAME WTF OH MY GOD MOMENT 
  • Selena is a bit “quiet” and guarded because of the people she has protected from a young age and growing up so quickly 
  • SJM continually referenced Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn (maybe something important)
  • Her favorite version of Cat woman is Michelle Phipher
    • She kept her in mind when drafting the book but when she started writing her version of Selena is much different that the way Phipher portrayed Selena 
  • SJM doesn’t outline her books, LIKE DOES NOT, so when she was told she had to send DC a three page synopsis of what the book was going to be about she was nervous 
    • But then when she started writing she just didn’t stop and it ended up being 23 (or maybe 33) pages 
  • She advises to not wear leather in July 
    • Selena’s new suit is more “breathable" 
  • She has just sent in/gotten back feedback on her first round of edits 
    • This summer will be a BIG focus on Cat woman edits

Keep reading

New Brown America

When I was a kid, the one thing I wanted more than anything else was a Cabbage Patch Kid.

But, in the late 80s/early 90s - they didn’t make Cabbage Patch Kids with light brown skin and dark brown hair and eyes. 

There was black and white and that’s how the world was divided….but not because I grew up in Southall. 

Pretty much every kid I went to school with had brown skin, brown hair and a mom who made them eat rice every night. 

So, where were our dolls? 

I watched Hasan Minhaj’s Netflix special - Homecoming King - recently and I fucking loved it. LOVED it. It was like hanging out with my coolest cousins - it was hilarious, heartfelt and bilingual. 

Originally posted by allycoalition

Here’s a dude that looks like me and sounds like me. 

Someone who can reference Drake and knows heartbreak. 

Someone who also understands that if you’re reading this, it’s already too late, I’ve bit the fucking laving in the biryani and I think I might be dying, man. 

Over the past couple of years - I’ve noticed it more and more. 

More Indians represented in media. 

More people who look like me and sound like me. 

For me, it started with Kal Penn in Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle

Originally posted by okaayawesome

For the first time in my life - I saw an Indian character I could relate to. For once, I saw an Indian person who didn’t have a thick, ridiculous accent. An Indian person who wasn’t mocked with “smelly curry” jokes. 

Sidebar: Literally fuck every single person who makes this joke. Firstly, people didn’t die in the spice trade for you to be so goddamn ignorant and secondly, do you even understand how complicated and lush and beautiful a curry is? How much time and energy and love it takes to make? No. You don’t. So, shut the hell up and try not to choke on your shitty mayonnaise sandwich. 

I saw an Indian dude who dropped pop culture references and used the word “dude” about as much as I do. I saw someone whose dad looked like an angrier version of Paps. I saw an Indian who wasn’t a doctor or an engineer or a call center employee. 

Alright, fine. He was applying to med school in the movie but like the man said:

Originally posted by thecheeziersnack

And then came Mindy Kaling who was basically a goddamn revelation in really cute shoes. 

A smart, funny, mouthy Indian woman WRITER who gives ALL the fucks about cute packaging for make-up and SNL sketches? 

Originally posted by shashaaussi

It was like hearing my voice for the first time. Holy shit - that’s what I sound like?! That’s amazing! My voice is like a cross between Fergie Asha Bhosle and Jesus! 

And of course, there’s Aziz Ansari. A man who created a genuinely honest look at the first-generation immigrant experience for millennials with Master of None

The “Parents” episode of the first season and the “Religion” episode of the second season really hit home for me. The former deals with the stark differences between immigrant parents and their children and the latter deals with coming out to your parents about your lack of religious convictions - both issues I’ve certainly dealt with in the past couple of years. 

I am part of #NewBrownAmerica

I can talk about the issues of the GOP condemning systemic poverty as if it were a mortal sin, I can rhyme every single word in Montell Jordan’s This Is How We Do It, I know how Ganesh got his elephant head and that Mom has hidden little Ganesh statues in all of my apartments she’s been in and I’ve been making cups of chai since I was six-years-old, so I’m totally comfortable mocking the shit out of anyone who orders chai tea lattes. 

Chai means tea. Latte means milk. You’re ordering a tea tea milk and you need to knock it off. 

And I can do whatever the hell I dream of doing because isn’t that the promise of America? 

I’ve even become more comfortable with speaking Gujarati. I mean, I’m super rubbish at it and my pronunciation will make every one of my masis wince, but I’m not embarrassed anymore like I used to be. 

We were trying to book an AirBnB last night and I asked J to text the link to our buddy. 

“How do I do that?”
“Here. Batawu.”

As in, here. Let me show you. 

I’m becoming more myself and it feels easier. 

Maybe because I’m in my mid-30s and you just don’t care as much about that kind of stuff anymore but also because there’s a we now. 

I see people like myself on television and it’s such a big fucking deal. And you know what’s even more exciting?

In like, fifty years - it won’t even be a big deal anymore. Some little Indian girl is going to see tons of people on TV like her and she won’t even bat an eye because duh, why wouldn’t Indian people be on TV like everyone else? 

Representation matters and seeing this new crop of talented, smart, funny and brilliant brown people who grew up on Bollywood and Barbies, Ganesh and Ghostbusters and the goddamn pressure cooker going off at 8:00 in the morning gives me such hope. 

Still waiting on that Cabbage Patch Kid, though. 

Why We Must Remember Brother from another Planet Now More Than Ever

The cult classic Afro-futurism film Brother from another Planet (1984) directed by John Sayles captures the trials and tribulations of a black alien escaping from his home planet to the foreign streets of New York City. During the film, the “Brother” encounters many obstacles which portray his isolation as a literal “alien” proving to be reminiscent of the immigrant experience in America, especially today, amongst Trump’s reign.

The Brother arrives at Ellis Island, which has historically been a gateway for millions of immigrants coming to the “Land of the Free”. Upon arrival, New York seems almost apocalyptic, as the Brother is welcomed by desolation rather than the usual collage of people, immediately capturing the isolation of his status as an “alien”. It is not until he walks the streets of Harlem, where he sees any signs of life, as he is surrounded by similar looking black faces engaging in their everyday lives. However, the Brother has limited contribution to such a scene due to his inability to communicate because of his muteness, which resonates with the ‘voicelessness’ of immigrants in America. But despite this voicelessness, the Brother still remains an active part of his environment as he still manages to navigate through his situations day by day.

Throughout the film, the Brother is being hunted down in what seems to be an intergalactic slave chase, as two white men claiming to be from the government are determined to capture him. I can’t help to be reminded of the government today trying to hunt down immigrants entering the country in hopes for a better life, as perhaps the Brother was seeking too. Therefore, the Brother from another Planet must be remembered for its portrayal of the intertwining of race, class, and immigrant status, all which have remained prevalent in America’s history, even in the year 2017. As the entertainment website The A.V. Club reviewed in 2003, the Brother from another Planet, ”uses [the Brother’s] alien status as a way of asking who deserves to be called an outsider in a country born of outsiders”, an answer which seems all too real for a black man from outer space. 

2017 Time 100: Riz Ahmed by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Look! Riz Ahmed is over here on HBO, turning in a stunning, tell-your-friends-the-next-day performance as Naz, the aching center of The Night Of.

Look! Now Riz Ahmed is over there, playing Bodhi Rook in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, defecting to the Rebel Alliance and breaking our collective heart!

Look! There’s Riz Ahmed delivering a blistering 16 bars about the immigrant experience on The Hamilton Mixtape! “To a galaxy far from their ignorance … immigrants, we get the job done”!

Wait, look! Now he’s home in London, gathering friends and fellow artists for passionate salons!

Look! He’s in the new Bourne!

Look, there he is on Girls!

Look, Riz Ahmed has been quietly pursuing every passion and opportunity for many years as an actor (The Road to Guantánamo, Four Lions, Nightcrawler), rapper (“Post 9/11 Blues,” “Englistan”) and activist (raising funds for Syrian refugee children, advocating representation at the House of Commons). To know him is to be inspired, engaged and ready to create alongside him. The year 2016 was when all the seeds he planted bore glorious fruit, and here’s the best part: he’s just getting started.

Look! We’re alive at the same time as Riz Ahmed! Look!

[Source]

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L.A. Theater Review: ‘Hamilton’ at Hollywood Pantages (Variety) [x x x]:

[…] At the risk of revealing too much about myself, it was the ten-dollar bill that piqued my interest in Alexander Hamilton. Back in the year 1999, the U.S. Treasury — an organization which, it should be said, Hamilton helped to establish, serving as its first secretary under George Washington — redesigned the look of American money. The heads got bigger, and Hamilton got hot.

Thanks to a new artist’s liberal reinterpretation of a painting that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery (the original of which features Hamilton with a sharp, severe nose and a faraway expression), one of those old white guys gracing the face of U.S. currency suddenly ceased to look like a windbag in a powdered wig, and instead came off as a dashing young man with a fire in his eyes. Weirdly enough, I suddenly found myself crushing on someone who’d been dead for nearly 200 years — and I suppose, in his own way and for entirely different reasons, so did Miranda, who dug into Hamilton’s biography to find an incredibly rich story of “a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a / Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten / spot in the Caribbean” that connected to his own immigrant experience, and the one he’d previously dramatized in “In the Heights.”

Just as the new 10-spot had flattered Hamilton, so too does Miranda’s brilliant musical, turning him into a tragic romantic hero who rose from poverty to become one of the most prolific and influential authors of modern democracy. The fact that “Hamilton” debuted during the Obama administration (more than that, in its early hip-hop mixtape form, it actually went viral after a private performance for Barack, Michelle and their inner circle at the White House in 2009) was all the more poignant, seeing as how Miranda and an incredibly talented multi-ethnic ensemble embodied everyone from Hamilton to Washington on stage, while leaving a white guy (Jonathan Groff, in the original Broadway cast) to play “the Man,” England’s mincing King George, tottering on the brink of a madness.

How quaint it all seems today, now that our commander in chief looks and sounds more like that dictatorial buffoon than the eloquent orator who preceded him. And yet, “Hamilton” couldn’t be a more vital show today, reminding audiences that all is not lost, that our country has endured the effects of venality, avarice and runaway ambition before. With Washington’s exit song, “One Last Time” (here performed with dignity and composure by Isaiah Johnson), it prepared us to say goodbye to a great leader, and to borrow one of the show’s more colorful phrases, it taught us that the nation can recover even after a subsequent lesser President “sh– the bed.”

[…]

Regional maps from the recent presidential election revealed a troubling phenomenon in which big cities nearly all voted blue, while rural areas (even those not far from Los Angeles) went red. The thing about traveling Broadway shows is that they almost exclusively play big cities, which means Miranda’s progressive-minded message has been preaching mostly to the choir, and will continue to do so when addressing Los Angeles audiences. Is anyone here actually scandalized by the casting? That’s not the point, of course. Rather, “Hamilton’s” genius comes in challenging both the conventions and increasingly fascist politics of who gets to tell another person’s story. There’s a long, ugly tradition of white actors performing in blackface, whereas the reverse has too seldom been seen.

Luwoye, who played both Hamilton and Burr on Broadway (the former as alternate, the latter as understudy), may not look like either Hamilton or Miranda, but he’s one heck of a performer. Slightly shrimpier than most of the other actors, Luwoye uses his small stature to the part’s advantage, playing Hamilton as a man with much to prove. His early “I want” song, “My Shot,” cleverly forebodes his own demise, as does the repeated observation that Hamilton writes like he’s “running out of time.”

[…]

From the period-inspired costumes and deconstructed wooden-scaffold set to the essential device of a double-rotating stage (key to the climactic duel), the Pantages production closely approximates the effect seen on Broadway, while adapting to a house with more than double the capacity (and nearly 10 times that of the 299-seat Public Theater). All three versions were directed by Thomas Kail, but are differentiated by the personalities on stage, as he allows the actors to adapt the roles to their respective strengths (a point made clear when the understudies and swings appear afterward, looking nothing like the actors for whom they might substitute).

And yet, whatever nuances these new actors may bring to the equation, two veterans of earlier “Hamilton” productions stand out as the ensemble’s strongest components. As Burr, Henry has to be every bit as good as whoever’s playing Hamilton, or else his tragic role as “the damn fool that shot him” doesn’t work. But the real standout is Raver-Lampman, punkishly assertive as Angelica (whom she plays with a black-to-blonde ombré mohawk), a character who’s non-essential to the plot, and yet hugely impactful, articulating the mistake of underestimating Hamilton — which, of course, we all did until Miranda corrected the record with his incredible, essential musical. And now, while it lasts, and no matter what the cost, Angelenos should do anything to be in the room where it happens.

theguardian.com
Director Francis Lee on sex, piglets and fighting off Hollywood from his hilltop hut
The debut film-maker behind God’s Own Country talks about growing up on a farm – and why his sensational debut is not ‘the Yorkshire Brokeback Mountain’
By Cath Clarke

Francis Lee shot his sensational debut God’s Own Country down the road from the farm where he grew up in West Yorkshire. A love story between two young male farm workers, it’s been described as “a Yorkshire Brokeback Mountain” and has been picking up awards left and right, including a best director prize at Sundance and the prestigious Michael Powell award at the Edinburgh film festival. Unexpectedly, it has been a Hollywood calling card and Lee’s phone has been ringing off the hook.

At least, it would be ringing off the hook if anyone could get through. Lee, 48, lives in a wooden hut on the side of a hill near Haworth in the Pennines – Brontë country. “The mobile phone reception is nonexistent and I don’t have internet,” he says. So where does he go to pick up emails from big-shot Hollywood agents? Lee chuckles. “Keighley library. I’m a big fan of libraries. Or I go round to my dad’s. He’s 10 minutes away.”

We meet in a cafe in central London during a “smash’n’grab”, as Lee calls his visits south. “I come on the latest possible train I can for meetings and leave on the earliest, so I don’t spend any time here.” Does he hate London that much? “No, I’m just a bit of a homebody.”

My mum says I’d have one hand up a pig’s vagina pulling out the piglets and the other on a bacon butty

God’s Own Country stars Josh O’Connor as Johnny, a young farmer whose life on the family’s failing sheep farm is a monotonous grind of work, getting blotto down the local, waking up in a pile of sick, then back to work. One day, a handsome Romanian labourer called Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu) arrives to help with the lambing. Cue the “Dales Brokeback” tag – although a better one might be “Pot Noodle Brokeback”, since the pair carry a giant bucket of the stuff to the remote field where they camp out with the flock.

Lee must be sick of talking about Brokeback Mountain, but he good-humouredly tells me that he’s only watched Ang Lee’s Oscar winner once – when it came out at the cinema in 2005. He has been surprised by the comparison. “I’m not shying away from it; it’s flattering. Ang Lee is an incredible film-maker. But it’s one of those things that gets written in headlines, but when people see the film they go, ‘Well, it’s actually not like Brokeback.’ It feels like such a different story and such a different world. The films are like chalk and cheese in that sense.”

He’s right: the two films inhabit different worlds. Where Brokeback Mountain was set in 1963, when a relationship between two men in Wyoming would have been illegal, Johnny has come to terms with his sexuality. It’s no biggie. His problem is that he can’t open up; inside he’s a knot of repressed emotions. “I was thinking very much about the hardest thing I’ve ever done, probably, which was falling in love,” Lee says. “How vulnerable you have to make yourself, open to love and be loved.” He smiles gently behind a big, bushy Ned Kelly-ish beard.

The film isn’t political, but it does feature a handful of sex scenes that would go unnoticed in a film about heterosexual love. Johnny and Gheorghe’s first roll in the hay – roll in the mud, more like – is frantic and breathless, fuelled on young lust. “It’s the funniest thing that we’re still talking about sex scenes in gay films,” says Lee. For him, the sex is integral to Johnny’s emotional journey. “I’m not a big fan of dialogue. So he wasn’t going to have a conversation where he goes: ‘I’m feeling a bit like this now.’ I had to tell it visually. That’s where the sex really played in.”

Did Lee come under any pressure to tone it down? “There was a debate. I could have made a film that might have taken away some of the threat. Not threat, the …” – he reaches for another word – “the challenge that a wide audience might have. But I didn’t want to do that. You only get one opportunity to make your first film, and it’s the time that you can risk the most.”

In Q&As after screenings a few audience members have challenged him about the absence of homophobia in his portrait of rural Britain. Isn’t it a bit rose-tinted, they ask? “I tell them: ‘What are you saying about people who live there? Are they intrinsically homophobic?’ That isn’t the case. They might not have a liberal middle-class attitude, where they sit around navel gazing about it. But that doesn’t mean they’re homophobic. I haven’t experienced that.”

Lee grew up on the family pig farm in the village of Soyland, in Calderdale, with the hills as his playground. As the youngest child, with the smallest hands, it was his job to deliver the piglets. He grins. “My mum used to tell a story that I’d have one hand up a pig’s vagina pulling out the piglets and the other on a bacon butty. So there was a complete circle of life.” Not exactly The Lion King is it? “No, but I’ve always been pragmatic about life on a farm.”

At 12 or 13, Lee says he decided he wanted to be an actor, and knuckled down at school to get the grades for drama college. Coming out was not particularly important, he says. “It was a kind of non-event. I think it is for lots of people. Which can be disappointing in a sense.” He left home at 20 for the Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance in Sidcup. As an actor, Lee was never a household name, but he worked steadily in film and TV, hitting a career high when his film-making hero Mike Leigh cast him in 1999’s Topsy-Turvy. Then, seven years ago, after a stint on Heartbeat, he jacked it in. “I’d fallen out of love with acting, and I’d just get into arguments with directors.” About what? “Because really I wanted to tell my own stories. It got to a point where I turned 40 and thought, I’d better do this or it’s never going to happen.”

Growing up, the landscape didn’t have the feeling of freedom or the pastoral. At times it felt oppressive and brutal

Taking a job at a scrapyard to make ends meet, he directed two short films. He wrote half of the script for God’s Own Country in a static caravan on his dad’s farm and the other half in London. “I type with only one finger, and it’s quite loud.” While the story is not autobiographical, Lee admits there might be a little what-if fantasising about what would have happened if he’d stayed in Yorkshire.

While working at the scrapyard Lee made friends with a Romanian guy – “the most beautiful, lovely man” – who had been on the receiving end of xenophobic abuse in London. His experiences fed into the character of Gheorghe. Lee doesn’t want to go into details of what his friend went through. “That’s his story. But I was shocked and ashamed of the reaction that he got in my country.” Is the film a comment on Brexit Britain? Lee shakes his head. “When I wrote it, it was pre- even the notion of a referendum. I think I was tapping the migrant worker/immigration experience, but I wasn’t thinking about it in a political way at all.” The morning the referendum result came through last June, he was sitting with his editor to view the first cut: “We watched in silence, thinking we might have made a period piece.” He smiles. “We didn’t actually change the edit at all in the end.”

Lee paints on a cinematic canvas. But don’t expect gorgeous vistas of rolling Yorkshire dales. He keeps the camera vice-tight, so close you can almost hear his characters breathe. Growing up, he says, he never looked around thinking: Isn’t this beautiful? “I really wanted to show the landscape in the way that I had experienced it. It didn’t have the feeling of freedom or the pastoral. At times it felt oppressive and brutal. I wanted to see the landscape’s effect on the characters, rather than the landscape.”                      

Lee spent three months working intensively with his two leads sketching every detail of their characters. What level of detail are we talking about? “Everything. Where they bought their socks. Which socks they preferred and why. Whether they took sugar in their tea. I won’t tell you the rude stuff.” He sent O’Connor and Secareanu out to work on farms, putting in 12-hour shifts for two weeks, learning to birth lambs, muck out and drive a tractor. “I don’t like fakery. I wanted everything to be real.”

Right now, Lee is working on three projects he can’t tell me about. Has he been tempted by the offers dropping into his inbox? “The money is tempting, because I don’t have any. But this experience has taught me that a film is going to take at least three years of your life to make. And to be able to care enough about all those tiny little details, you have to love it. It needs to feel like a compulsion.”

I ask Lee how life has changed since God’s Own Country premiered to ecstatic reviews at Sundance last January? “I don’t sit at home polishing my awards or anything like that. I’m a quiet person. I’m not a big fan of parties, razzmatazz or red carpets. When I get up on that hill, everybody knows I have no internet and no phone. And I go round my dad’s and he’s like, ‘Ooh. It’s all right for you, int’ it, with your life of riley.’ It’s a lovely leveller. Very normal.”

• God’s Own Country is released on 1 September.

Shit I Still Think I’m Right About

So a few months ago in this poetry class I took we were discussing the poetry of Ocean Vuong (who btw I HIGHLY recommend I think he’s great)

And his family moved from Vietnam to America when he was 2 and he grew up here and got a degree in Nineteenth Century English Literature (hashtag majors I wish my college offered) and got down to writing poetry

And in the book we read (Night Sky with Exit Wounds) he references Greek mythology a lot

And in my class (which was 11 white students, 1 black student, and a white professor) people were discussing that and people were saying that like it symbolized or was trying to say something about some East vs West tension or how the poet felt about the immigrant experience, because since he isn’t “from here” and specifically because he’s Asian, and because Greek philosophy influenced Western thought so much more than it influenced Eastern thought, that his use of Greek mythology was basically him using mythology that didn’t “belong to” him and that this somehow signified something

And I was like

Well first of all if he majored in nineteenth century English literature…those people were OBSESSED with Greek mythology so he would have had to study it a LOT so it probably comes up sometimes when he’s doing the poetry and trying to think of things to compare to other things

Second of all HE HAS LIVED IN AMERICA HIS WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE FOR AS LONG AS HE CAN REMEMBER, I’m pretty sure all of Western culture “belongs to” him if he wants it

Thirdly we just read some white poet who used the haiku form a lot and we never breathed a word about WHY he was using an Eastern poetry form when he’s a Westerner or whether or not haiku “belonged to” him

Fourthly like, oh my god, seriously though, HE LIVES HERE!!!!


Idk it’s just still on my mind a lot bc like…I felt like everyone was trying to be really progressive and understanding and it just ended up sounding racist to me and when I gently raised my objections everyone looked at ME like I had TWO HEADS!!!!

So often when we talk about Asians in media, people expect Asian-Americans to be placated by Asian content. They don’t distinguish between Asian and Asian-American content — they’re very different, and that’s not to place a higher value on one or the other. It’s just to give an awareness to people that to lump us together as the same story is reductive to our experience. The fortitude it took to come here as an immigrant, with no support system in a new place, sometimes not even speaking the language, and what it must take to have the courage to build that kind of a story and home from scratch — it is a different experience. When Hollywood executives think Asian-Americans are placated by simply Asian roles, I think that’s reductive to what it means for our immigrant experience and how unique and special that is to us. Asians and Asian-Americans — not better nor worse — just different.” [x]

(Susie) You know, I've been trying to figure out what to call myself for the longest of times.

I decided to do some reading up on it because I received an asks asking me if I was first generation/second generation.

I really did not know how to answer this because although I was born in Zambia. My mother moved to America when I was 2 years and I moved when I was 2 ½ years old. I have been raised my entire life as an American. I found my answer and it certainly puts me at ease to know that their is a term and hopefully others who feel the same and are having identification issues due to early immigration.

(ME): “Children who arrive in their early childhood (ages 0 to 5) are referred to as 1.75 generation immigrants since their experiences are closer to a true 2nd-generation immigrant who was born in the Country they live in: they retain virtually no memory of their country of birth, were too young to go to school to learn to read or write in the parental language in the home country, typically learn the language of the Country they immigrate to without an accent and are almost entirely socialized there.”

“The term 1.5 generation or 1.5G refers to two types of people. Individuals who immigrate to a new country before or during their early teens (Asher 2011). They earn the label the “1.5 generation” because they bring with them or maintain characteristics from their home country, meanwhile engaging in assimilation and socialization with their new country. Their identity is thus, a combination of new and old culture and tradition.

Depending on the age of immigration, the community where they settle, extent of education in their native country, and other factors, 1.5 generation individuals identify with their countries of origin to varying degrees. However, their identification is affected by their experiences growing up in the new country. 1.5G individuals are often bilingual and find it easier to assimilate into local culture and society than people who immigrate as adults. Many 1.5 generation individuals also, become bi-cultural, combining both cultures - culture from the country of origin with the culture of the new country.“

5

Luis Miranda, Jr., father of “Hamilton” creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, on immigration in PBS’ “Hamilton’s America”

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We have five books that honestly look amazing. Which ones are on your TBR list?

Warcross by Marie Lu
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem … and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

Jaya and Rasa: A Love Story by Sonia Patel
Cinco Puntos Press

Seventeen-year-old Jaya Mehta detests wealth, secrets, and privilege, though he has them all. His family is Indian, originally from Gujarat. Rasa Santos, like many in Hawaii, is of mixed ethnicity. All she has are siblings, three of them, plus a mother who controls men like a black widow spider and leaves her children whenever she wants to. Neither Jaya nor Rasa have ever known real love or close family―not until their chance meeting one sunny day on a mountain in Hau’ula.

The unlikely love that blooms between them must survive the stranglehold their respective pasts have on them. Each of their present identities has been shaped by years of extreme family struggles. By the time they cross paths, Jaya is a transgender outsider with depressive tendencies and the stunningly beautiful Rasa thinks sex is her only power until a violent pimp takes over her life. Will their love transcend and pull them forward, or will they remain stuck and separate in the chaos of their pasts?

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

This elegant novel captures the immigrant experience for one Indian-American family with humor and heart. Told in alternating teen voices across three generations, You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture–for better or worse.

From a grandmother worried that her children are losing their Indian identity to a daughter wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair to a granddaughter social-activist fighting to preserve Bengali tigers, Perkins weaves together the threads of a family growing into an American identity.

Here is a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new.

Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel José Older
Arthur A. Levine Books

Sierra and her friends love their new lives as shadowshapers, making art and creating change with the spirits of Brooklyn. Then Sierra receives a strange card depicting a beast called the Hound of Light — an image from the enigmatic, influential Deck of Worlds. The shadowshapers know their next battle has arrived.

Thrust into an ancient struggle with enemies old and new, Sierra and Shadowhouse are determined to win. Revolution is brewing in the real world as well, as the shadowshapers lead the fight against systems that oppress their community. To protect her family and friends in every sphere, Sierra must take down the Hound and master the Deck of Worlds… or risk losing them all.

Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh
Tu Books

After a great war, the East Pacific is in ruins. In brutal Neo Seoul, where status comes from success in combat, ex-gang member Lee Jaewon is a talented pilot rising in the ranks of the academy. Abandoned as a kid in the slums of Old Seoul by his rebel father, Jaewon desires only to escape his past and prove himself a loyal soldier of the Neo State.

When Jaewon is recruited into the most lucrative weapons development division in Neo Seoul, he is eager to claim his best shot at military glory. But the mission becomes more complicated when he meets Tera, a test subject in the government’s supersoldier project. Tera was trained for one purpose: to pilot one of the lethal God Machines, massive robots for a never-ending war.

With secret orders to report on Tera, Jaewon becomes Tera’s partner, earning her reluctant respect. But as respect turns to love, Jaewon begins to question his loyalty to an oppressive regime that creates weapons out of humans. As the project prepares to go public amidst rumors of a rebellion, Jaewon must decide where he stands—as a soldier of the Neo State, or a rebel of the people.

Pacific Rim meets Korean action dramas in this mind-blowing, New Visions Award-winning science fiction debut.