"I don't have friends; I got family."
The power of community at the end of APAHM
We’re back again for another week, the last of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and I’m excited to talk about community (again), as well as the Fast franchise (I am unhinged lol). Thank you to everyone who has been riding with us already, and shout out to everyone joining us for the first time. Appreciate you!
So, last week I watched the entirety of the Fast and Furious franchise (including Hobbs & Shaw) for the first time. I think I’d watched through Tokyo Drift growing up, but had never gone beyond that. For some reason I felt compelled to watch them.
And I really enjoyed them 😭
I watched in chronological order (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 3, 7, 8, H&S, 9) and really enjoyed how quickly things escalate from 4 to 5 and on. I am personally of the mind that the moment in Fast 5 where Dom (Vin Diesel) does a 6 ft flying headbutt to take out a large bad guy and another guy about to kill Brian (Paul Walker) while they’re on a massive cargo plane that the Fast team is trying shoot down with grappling hooks while it takes off is the moment the series truly flies off the rails 🤣
[if you have 60 seconds, I promise you’ll not be disappointed.]
Anyways — something I’d always heard about this film franchise was “it’s about family.” While I had seen the first few films, I didn’t necessarily get that feeling. Yes, 1 does set that tone in the character of Dom and the franchise itself, but it doesn’t really come to fruition until 4 and 5 when we meet the rest of the crew, of the “family.”
It’s with the rest of the family where the success of this franchise and the heart of it all actually lies.
As much as these movies are Vin Diesel and Paul Walker vehicles (okay, you can stop reading if you want), they really shine when the rest of the cast is on screen and filling out, not just the story, but this community of people who, at the end of the day, become a family. We would not have a Fast X without Michelle Rodriguez as Letty or Tyrese as Roman or Ludacris as Tej or Sung Kang as Han.
These characters (and the others that make up the fam) make these movies.*
*it’s also one of the most diverse casts assembled (all the way back to ‘01) without it being central to the movie in any way. It’s really incredible and should be talked about more — shout out Liz Kleinrock for that one.
Which brings me to my ultimate point.
I’ve been thinking a lot about community and relationship building this May — how we do that internally within our own communities and externally with others.
I talked about it with Liz during the first episode of THE APAHM CONVERSATIONS, about how important it is to build relationships beyond the work.
I talked about it with Rohan Zhou-Lee during the fifth episode, about uncovering the work of our ancestors in building multi-racial coalitions.
I talk about it with Bianca Mabute-Louie in our ninth episode (see below), about how we must continue building alongside one another so when we need to take a break, we can because we’re not alone in this work.
As I made my way through these films, I thought about APAHM 2023: about the relationships I’ve been able to build this year, about the ways the relationships I’ve built over the last three years have grown and evolved and changed, about how those relationships have changed me.
I also thought about how I’ve always loved hard, and in my desperate search for community and acceptance I’d eventually stumble into something deeper: family.
I’m lucky to have people who show me respect and love. I’m privileged to have people who motivate and inspire me. I’m grateful to have people who will hold me accountable when I fuck up.
And I feel all those things for my family because, not only do they do this for me, but they do it for others; for each other.
As APAHM 2023 comes to a close, I know our APINHDA community won’t turn our backs on each other. I know we will continue to push beyond the boundaries of “heritage month” and fight to be heard, be seen, be validated. We’ll continue to build community for each other, and more so, we’ll find ways to bridge internally and externally, with the hidden communities that exist inside our diasporas and with the many other diasporas that exist outside of our own.
I know we will, because we have to. Because we must. Because it’s necessary.
And, because we don’t turn our back on family.
This week on Conversation Piece…
The APAHM Conversations continue with Bianca Mabute-Louie! Bianca and Patrick discuss the costs of representation, the types of liberation we want to invest in, and the importance of knowing we're not doing this work alone.
The APAHM Conversations concludes with Natasha Jung! Natasha and Patrick discuss the partnership between Cold Tea Collective and Conversation Piece and how they first came together, why storytelling is so important in uncovering hidden lived experiences within our communities, the difficulty of doing the work AND the power in taking care of yourself while doing it.
🌟 1587 GIVEAWAY! 🌟
Our giveaway of a pair of 1587 sneakers ends TOMORROW! To enter:
Enter as many times as you can think of AAPI-owned businesses to tag! Entries after 11:59 pm PT on Tuesday will not be accepted.
Winner will be announced on Wednesday at 12 pm ET | 11 am CT | 10 am MT | 9 am PT!
COLD TEA COLLECTIVE - THANK YOU!!!
Thank you so much to Natasha Jung and Pearl Zhou of Cold Tea Collective for this feature about my work and THE APAHM CONVERSATIONS series! Y’all have been great partners in amplifying this work and it really means the world to have been able to do this with y’all.
Check the article out here!
Cold Tea Collective is a media outlet, sharing the stories of the next generation of the Asian diaspora. Their mission is to inspire the AAPI community through storytelling that will empower them to live their most authentic and fulfilled lives. To learn more, coldteacollective.com or visit them on Instagram: @coldteacollective.
While this is our final newsletter of APAHM, the work continues!
If you don’t know, this month saw the newsletter and podcast pivot from monthly and bi-weekly, respectively, to weekly on all fronts. It’s an exciting, daunting task to undertake, but I’ve already begun to see these labors bare fruit, and I couldn’t be more excited about what’s on the horizon.
Remember: let’s celebrate and amplify Asian, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian and Desi American voices ALL YEAR. Keep doing this work.
Til next week,
To support us: