September 6, 2022
In this episode, actor/filmmaker Arnold Chun shares his life journey and how he entered the creative industry. He and Rasha discuss career changes, representation, and the ever-changing media landscape.
Arnold was born in Boston, MA and raised in Los Angeles since he was 3. While earning his BA in European/East Asian History at UC Irvine, he worked as a supervisor of Intramural Athletics and formed the UC Irvine men's Volleyball Club in 1997. He then taught English for the Nagano Board of Education in Japan from 1998-1999, working part-time for the local English journal. With the completion of his service in Japan, Arnold found work for a fortune 500 mechanical engineering firm. He was a top consultant before leaving that field to pursue a career in Pharmaceuticals. Arnold volunteered as a Production Assistant for a project for Eric Kim (EKFilms). Within a week, the job led to future opportunities that brought him into a career in acting.
Over the years, Arnold has quickly risen to be a top player in the entertainment industry. He has worked with Academy Award Winning director: Clint Eastwood. He has worked with Michael Bay, David Schwimmer, and countless other top directors. In 2007 Arnold stepped into his directorial debut with a short film about life in Koreatown called, "Eli's Liquor Store," It traveled to over 20 Festivals and was distributed by Imaginasian Cable TV. He was nominated for the Melvin Van Peebles Award, won Best Short at Harlem Int. Film Fest, won an award for Excellence in Filmmaking at the Honolulu Film Fest, and was selected to be an opening presenter at the Smithsonian National Martin Luther King Consortium during Black History Month.
August 30, 2022
In this episode, Sheena and Steve discuss the various issues faced by at-risk youth and the various minority groups that live in LA's Koreatown. The Koreatown Youth and Community Center works to help the community and provide accessibility with anything from education and health to housing and finances.
Steve S. Kang is the Director of External Affairs, overseeing communications, grants, special events, government, and community affairs. In addition, Steve is a Commissioner on the Central Area Planning Commission at the City of Los Angeles. Prior to joining KYCC, Kang served as District Director in the California State Assembly and Executive Director of the Korean American Coalition (KAC). He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with honors from Columbia University and a Master of Science from The London School of Economics and Political Science - LSE. In 2016, Kang was honored by the Empowerment Congress as one of 40 Emerging Civic Leaders Under 40.
August 23, 2022
Michelle Sugihara is the Executive Director of CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment). In this episode, she joins Rasha to talk about the its role in cultivating opportunity and education for AAPI creatives. They also discuss creating positive portrayals of AAPI onscreen, leadership, and the business side of the industry.
A prolific public speaker, Sugihara speaks across the country on Asian Representation in Media; Women in Entertainment; Diversity and Inclusion; Leadership; and other topics. She is also an associate member of Cold Tofu, the nation’s premier Asian American comedy improv and sketch group. She teaches “Improv for Lawyers” and has performed improv internationally.Sugihara is a fourth generation Japanese American born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. She graduated with honors from Claremont McKenna College with a dual major in Economics and Psychology and a minor in Asian American Studies, followed by a law degree from UCLA. Prior to joining CAPE, she was an entertainment attorney, film producer, and adjunct professor for the Claremont Colleges’ Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies.
August 16, 2022
Monica Emery is the Executive Director of the San Diego-based non-profit organization Center for World Music. In this episode, she chats with Sheena about cultivating cultural connection through traditions of music and performing arts.
Born in New Jersey, where she was raised by her Chinese father and Filipino mother, Monica experienced a wide variety of cultural practices growing up. Traditional Chinese and Filipino dance provided her a way to connect with the cultural roots of her family as well as the opportunity to explore her identity as a mixed heritage American.
Monica’s early cultural experiences inspired her to pursue a BA in International Relations from American University in Washington DC. She then moved to Japan where she started an English language school and taught violin. After five years of working and exploring Asia, she returned to the DC area to earn a MA in Higher Education Administration and International Education. During her studies, her primary interest was education for global competency and cross-cultural success. She has more than 15 years of experience working in organizations with international interests.
Monica believes in the value of the arts and exposure to the world’s diverse cultures as a path to harmony among all people. She plays violin and viola, and fiddles with the ukelele.
August 9, 2022
Richard Leong is a DEI consultant and a leadership and identity coach. He brings his own experiences as an Asian American to his work. He works to fight bullying and to enact policies in support for AAPI youth.
Keeping an optimistic view for the future, Richard Leong presents the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. He discusses the work needed to create systems, particularly in the workplace, to better the experiences and livelihoods of marginalized communities and positive change it will have for the future.
To learn more about his work with his clients, visit https://richardleong.com/!
August 2, 2022
AAPI Youth Rising is a collective of intelligent, compassionate, and creative young activists from the Bay Area. They work to uplift and educate their community. They also advocate against AAPI racist prejudice, hate, and violence.
14-year-old Mina Fedor is the founder and executive director. In this episode, she discusses how she founded the org as a middle schooler and her work will continue as she enters high school.
Currently, there are chapters in California, Michigan, and Maine. To learn more about them and join the movement, visit their website at https://aapiyouthrising.org/ today!
July 26, 2022
Senior Colorist of Company 3 and Co-Head of Feature Color, Stephen Nakamura continues to be among the most accomplished feature film colorists in Hollywood. In this episode, he talks about his career as a colorist, the importance of color on screen, and his experiences as an Asian American in the film business.
Nakamura has worked alongside directors such as David Fincher, Ridley Scott, Kathryn Bigelow, Spike Lee, David O. Russell, and Steven Spielberg. He has also worked with cinematographers Dariusz Wolski, ASC, Claudio Miranda, ASC, Robert Richardson, ASC, and Janusz Kaminski.
His feature film credits include Da Five Bloods, Sicario: Day of the Soldado, It: Chapter Two, Crazy Rich Asians, The Martian, and Alien: Covenant.
Nakamura got his start in feature film finishing with Technicolor Digital Services. Previously, he was a colorist with the Post Group, working on commercial, music video, television and feature film projects. He began his career at California Video Center.
In 2018 Nakamura was accepted into the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
July 19, 2022
In this episode, Air Force Officer Joanne Whitlock talks about AANHPI in the military. She touches on the low degree of representation for them in leadership positions, especially if they are women, and how this impacts their experiences in the military the military demographics overall.
Joanne recently led their service wide efforts for AAPI Heritage Month while also serving as member of their Barrier Analysis Working Group. In this capacity, Joanne is involved in analyzing data, trends and barriers to identify and address issues impacting AANHPI personnel in the Air Force. Born and raised in the Philippines, Joanne is a staunch advocate for diversity and inclusion and promoting AANHPI heritage across various platforms. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Anthropology and a Masters Degree in Forensic Science and was a former Medicolegal Death Investigator in the Washington, DC area (Northern Virginia). Joanne also volunteers her time serving as a mentor for Big Brother Big Sister. “