Erin and I are excited to announce the next call in our series of conversations with Asian American leaders and newsmakers. We’ll be speaking with Jen Wang and Diana Nguyen of Disgrasian on Tuesday, September 21 at 7 pm PT (10 pm ET — it’s an hour later than our usual calls).
If you follow Asian American news and issues, there’s a very short list of must-read blogs to visit every day. They include Angry Asian Man, 8 Asians and Slant Eye for the Round Eye, for starters.
And there’s also Disgrasian, the influential blog created by Diana Nguyen and Jen Wang, two friends in the LA area who cover Asian American pop culture and politics with an edgy, acerbic, funny, smart and smart-ass attitude.
Diana and Jen have been featured on NPR, The Associated Press, The Daily Beast, Metro NY’s “Best of the Blogs,” and Hyphen magazine (a cover story!), and they have spoken at NYU, Yale, Harvard, UCLA, Loyola Marymount, and USC. Diana and Jen are also regular contributors to the Huffington Post and have created a web series for Adult Swim called Hollywood Slant. But their greatest achievement by far has been being named “Race Hustlers” and “Assorted Moonbats” by conservative pundit Michelle Malkin.
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Erin and I just spent a great weekend in LA, and all day yesterday was the main event: We attended BANANA, the first-ever gathering of Asian American Pacific Islander bloggers from across the country, and from Canada. It was kind of an ad-hoc event, organized in just two months and a little ragged on the execution side, but it was also exhilarating in many ways, and a pure pleasure to meet so many great people who make up the growing chorus of AAPI voices on the Internet.
It felt at times like much more than just a conference or a get-together. It felt like the foundation of something that has a future, as if this event was ground zero where the spark was lit for a fire that could burn strong and bright for a long time.
The event was organized by San Diego-based Lac Su, author of “I Love Yous Are for White People” (shown in the photo above) and LA-based filmmaker Steve Nguyen (third photo, below). Ironically, neither are bloggers, but as regular visitors of many AAPI blogs, they recognized that we’ve been building up momentum, and more and more Asian Americans (and Canadians!) are expressing ourselves online. They thought if we could all meet and share our passion and knowledge and learn more about each other and our areas of expertise, that we could harness our combined energy and make all our blogs better.
I applaud their vision and the effort the two of them made, with help from friends at the University of Southern California, where BANANA was held, to pull off the event in such a short time. I bet they didn’t expect that they’d have more than 20 panelists on stage, representing all different views and perspectives on the AAPI experience, along with 30 or so audience members — some who were also bloggers — who wanted to learn and ask questions and share their stories. Continue reading →