RepresentAsian: The Changing Face of New York Theater

ASIAN AMERICAN PERFORMERS ACTION COALITION (AAPAC) will hold an industry roundtable with prominent producers, artistic directors, directors, playwrights, agents, and casting directors to have a dialogue on access and representation of minority actors on NYC stages and how best to overcome obstacles to more inclusive casting.

It will be co-presented with Fordham University and will be moderated by Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (Chinglish, M. Butterfly): AAPAC and Fordham University present “RepresentAsian: The Changing Face of New York Theater” Monday, February 13th, at 7:00 pm The Pope Auditorium at Fordham University 60th St/and Columbus Avenue, just inside main entrance.

To RSVP, send an email to aapacrsvp@gmail.com Seating is limited.

AAPAC’S mission is to expand the perception of Asian American performers in order to increase their access to and representation on New York City’s stages. AAPAC hosted two symposia for the New York theatre community in 2011 to begin a discussion on why the worlds presented on New York City stages do not reflect the racial diversity of the real world we live in.

AAPAC will release their report of minority representation in New York theatre in 2012 — the first and only publicly available report of its kind. This report will hopefully be used to track casting trends and to raise awareness where any inequities exist.

Read more: http://broadwayworld.com/article/David-Henry-Hwang-to-Host-AAPAC-Roundtable-Event-213-20120131##ixzz1lBvk89WZ

Asian Pacific American Media Coalition’s Annual Television Report Card – 2012

LOS ANGELES – In the 12 years the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition (APAMC) has issued report cards grading the top four television networks on their efforts to include Asian Pacific Americans in their programming and business dealings, no company has received an F—until now. Fox failed to provide the data the APAMC has consistently requested and which the other networks—ABC, CBS, and NBC—have delivered for over a decade. As a result, for the 2011-2012 season, the Coalition had no choice but to give the network a grade of F/Incomplete–the worst grade ever given to any network in the history of the report cards. APAMC Co-Chair Marilyn Tokuda remarked, “This is especially disappointing because Fox had some very positive stories to tell about its diversity initiatives under its new Audience Strategies department.” Added co-chair Guy Aoki, “We require each network to provide the same information every year on a timely basis so we can evaluate them fairly and evenly compared to other networks and to their own past performance. Since Fox did not give us the necessary data, we cannot give them any credit.”

Ironically, the only network to meet the coalition’s challenge from last year to cast at least one Asian Pacific American actor as the main star of a TV show by Fall 2014 was Fox. “The Mindy Project,” created by and starring Indian American actress Mindy Kaling, began airing in September. It emerged from a diverse writers initiative at NBC and is produced by Universal Television, the television studio/production unit affiliated with NBC. The Coalition looks forward to seeing if “The Mindy Project” will flesh out the lead character’s background and provide viewers the opportunity to see her family and learn more about her heritage. “The APAMC began meeting with the major television networks in late 1999 and early 2000 to press for greater diversity for severely underrepresented Asian Pacific Americans (APAs),” said co-chairs Guy Aoki and Marilyn Tokuda in a Coalition statement. “Since then, there have been incremental increases in the number of APA actors, writers, producers, directors and network executives at all four of the networks. But in the 2011-2012 season, the numbers have somewhat stagnated,” they said.

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General Meeting – October 18, 2012

Please join us in discussing how to improve media depictions of Asian Americans. Agenda items include:

  • Report on the APA Media Coalition’s annual diversity meeting with CBS, plus our upcoming ones with ABC, NBC, and Fox (if you have concerns about their programs, be sure to tell us!)
  • Report from our pre-screening of Warner Brothers’ upcoming film Cloud Atlas featuring yellowface, whiteface, and blackface!
  • East West Players’ upcoming panel discussion about how to increase the inclusion of Asian Americans in stage productions
  • Upcoming remake of Red Dawn with North Korea invading Washington state.
  • Current TV shows featuring Asian American characters

If you are interested in participating in MANAA but cannot make the monthly meeting, please contact us at letters@manaa.org and indicate your interest in participating in writing letters, reviewing movies, monitoring TV shows, or other kinds of activities. MANAA’s monthly general meeting is on the second floor meeting room of the Chinatown Public Safety Association @823 N. Hill Street. It’s your chance to share your input and thoughts on pressing issues regarding the portrayal of Asian Americans in print, radio, television and movies.

Meet Frances Kakugawa at the Japanese American National Museum

Mark your calendars (September 29 @ Japanese American National Museum) to attend two events MANAA is sponsoring for award-winning author/poet Frances Kakugawa (who’s written past books on caregiving for those with Alzheimer’s) and her humorous and sobering book Kapoho: Memoirs of a Modern Pompeii about growing up in the small town in Hawaii (later covered by lava) while battling wartime prejudice against Japanese Americans and the limitations of her pidgin English culture.

To read an interview with her, click here: http://rafu.com/news/2012/08/into-the-next-stage-surviving-prejudice-lav…

To read excerpts from the book, click here: http://rafu.com/news/2011/12/itns-21/ Please RSVP if you’re interested in coming.

We’re trying to reach ex-Hawaii residents living in Southern California and those caregiving for loved ones, so please help us spread the word.

General Meeting – August 16, 2012

Please join us in discussing how to improve media depictions of Asian Americans. Agenda items include:

  • Warner Brothers’ upcoming film Cloud Atlas featuring yellowface, whiteface, and blackface!
  • MANAA’s involvement in educating the La Jolla Playhouse on their white-washed production of The Nightingale.
  • Asian Pacific American Media Coalition’s Quarterly meeting with NBC.
  • Upcoming remake of Red Dawn with North Korea invading Washington state.

Mark your calendars (September 15 @Torrance Library and September 29 @ Japanese American National Museum) to attend two events MANAA is sponsoring for award-winning author/poet Frances Kakugawa (who’s written past books on caregiving for those with Alzheimer’s) and her humorous and sobering book Kapoho: Memoirs of a Modern Pompeii about growing up in the small town in Hawaii (later covered by lava) while battling wartime prejudice against Japanese Americans and the limitations of her pidgin English culture. To read an interview with her, click here: http://rafu.com/news/2012/08/into-the-next-stage-surviving-prejudice-lava-and-hawaiian-pidgin-english-an-interview-with-frances-kakugawa/ To read excerpts from the book, click here: http://rafu.com/news/2011/12/itns-21/ Please RSVP if you’re interested in coming. We’re trying to reach ex-Hawaii residents living in Southern California and those caregiving for loved ones, so please help us spread the word.

MANAA Berates Moderator of La Jolla Playhouse Panel Discussion For Not Allowing Aki Aleong To Speak

July 24, 2012

Dear Jeanine, I am the founding President of Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA), the only organization solely dedicated to advocating balanced, sensitive, and positive depictions and coverage of Asian Americans in the media. Our non-profit, all-volunteer group recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.

Long before the La Jolla Playhouse’s production of “Nightingale” became a public controversy, we were already aware of it and the company’s possible violation of the LORT Contract, to which all local theatres are signatories. Aki Aleong (former President of MANAA) and I met with Actor’s Equity to discuss these violations on July 9. After the panel discussion was announced, I contacted Dana Harrel and suggested Aki be included on the panel because he had a different issue to discuss from the actors who would focus on the lack of opportunity for Asian American actors, etc.

Dana told me the panel was too full but she would make sure the moderator gave Aki a chance to speak to our issues. I confirmed this with her in an email Saturday. So you can imagine my anger when I later heard from my people who drove down from Los Angeles to the discussion that not only was Aki not recognized, but you were rude to him. I waited until seeing the posted video of that discussion before writing you. Aki had no choice but to stand up to speak as you were trying to wrap up the discussion. He identified himself as part of MANAA and reminded you that he was supposed to be recognized. You told him, “No, no…” When he continued to insist, you said, “No, I haven’t called on you.” He pointed out it was supposed to be on your sheet, yet you said, “You can talk to them afterwards…No, it was not scheduled.”

It was only after the audience and Christopher Ashley urged you to allow him to say his piece that he was able to continue. This put Aki in a difficult position of having to be more aggressive just to be heard (he angrily pointed out he’s been an actor for almost as long as you’ve been alive; in other words, “show me some respect!”). He read the LORT contract’s definition of “Non-Traditional Casting,” which was important to show the creative team that they were in violation of that aspect of the LORT Contract as NTC was supposed to benefit ethnic minorities, women, and those with disabilities. Not white men.

There were more issues he wanted to speak to, but he was clearly flustered at having to push through so much resistance just to say that. I spoke with Dana yesterday and she told me she had called you on Friday to tell you about our agreement and that she also reminded you of that on Sunday before the panel started. You allegedly said you did not write down his name because you were in the supermarket the first time (even though Dana told you to) and rationalized that although you forgot about Aki, it worked out “beautifully.” No, it did not.

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General Meeting – June 21, 2012

Please join us in discussing how to improve media depictions of Asian Americans. Agenda items include:

  • MANAA’s involvement in criticizing the La Jolla Playhouse’s white-washed production of “The Nightingale.
  • MANAA’s talk with New York radio station WYSL’s station manager over their playing “Sukiyaki” while criticizing Nate Shinagawa’s campaign for Congress.
  • MANAA’s positive reaction to seeing TBS’ new “Sullivan and Son” sitcom (see attached pic of one of the two groups that attended the taping).

Mark your calendars (September 15 @Torrance Library and 29 @Japanese American National Museum) to attend two events MANAA is sponsoring for award-winning author/poet Frances Kakugawa and her humorous and sobering book “Kapoho: Memoirs of a Modern Pompeii” about growing up in the small town in Hawaii (later covered by lava) while battling wartime prejudice against Japanese Americans and the limitations of her pidgin English culture

General Meeting – May 17, 2012

We just passed our 20th anniversary last week! Please help us celebrate as we discuss how to improve media depictions of Asian Americans. Agenda items include:

  • New Fall-TV line-up including the first series starring an Asian American in 4 1/2 years!
  • MANAA featured in “Uploaded” movie premiering at the LA Asian Pacific American Film Festival Wednesday, May 16 at 9:30 p.m.
  • Jay Leno’s insistence on continuing to do jokes about Chinese and Korean people eating dog
  • Bringing in new people into MANAA
  • Watch Derek Mio in tonight’s episode of “House” at 9pm PST
  • Upcoming meeting with CBS producers