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Use the hash tags #18millionhearts and #APATownHall !
1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am a Korean American born woman with many passions in life. I have always been pretty ambitious since I was a child, and would like to believe that many of those goals have been accomplished only to make many more new ones. I love to explore new experiences and enlighten the rest of the world of any new discoveries especially when it comes to food and adventures.
2. What do you do?
I am currently President of VNV short for Visualize & Voice Corporation. It is a positive street wear brand made for both women and men. Currently we have over 20 different designs for tees and tanks, but I plan to expand the brand to other types of apparel in the near future.
3. What inspired you to create VNV?
There are many things that have contributed to creating VNV. I believe there was a necessity for any clothing brand to be unique in the industry, as well as a need for attire that was able to provide our generation of trends with more positive and healthier messages on a daily basis. Our world relies on strong visual imagery from everywhere, and it made sense to create a brand that would be aesthetically pleasing and beneficial for our growing youth. It couldn’t hurt to be more exposed to something inspiring or motivating that could help plant seeds of healthy thoughts, potential aspirations, confidence, and visions of future dreams for the people who are going to be the leaders of our future.
4. You say that it’s inspired by fallen youth culture, what do you mean by that?
Since 2006 I have been able to submerge myself into a culture I had not expected to be in. It had already been almost 2 years since I graduated from Carleton College, but I had befriended many students in the capital district because Albany happened to be a college town. Although I had adapted to my new surroundings (having been originally from NYC/NJ) and met some amazing characters, I have realized there were many downfalls to the environment, vibe, and overall mood Albany had been notorious for: 1) Kegs and Eggs incident which gave Albany a bad reputation all over the nation 2) tighter police enforcement leading to cancellation of events like Fountain Day 3) deserted downtown streets 4) cold and long winters.
Basically, it was difficult to find people who were actually proud of living in Albany or going to school in Albany. It dawned on me that it might not just be Albany that may experience these sentiments in their perspective locations. All of our 18-21 years old’s all over the country some commuting from home, and some traveling far from home experience discomfort from what they are used to in their hometowns. The whole experience could only be made better by the very people living in it to change what needs to be changed if we all wanted to see any change. There were plenty of college towns all over the nation that have plenty of traditions and things to be proud of that also give their students something to be proud of when they are residing there temporarily. Hence, I observed this over the course of my time here and I wanted to be a part of a bigger movement. Possibly a positive revolution for the students here and for Albany as a city. VNV was created in Albany, and was inspired by the culture here, but it would speak for the rest of the world also.
5. Who do you name as your role models and inspirations?
I have never considered anyone specifically my role model, but there have been many individuals who have inspired me by challenging my views, and shedding light upon new perspectives that I had yet to discover. For that I thank that I have God in my heart, a mother who sacrificed everything to make sure I was educated and properly raised, a father who has supported me until I became self-sufficient, friends who are the brothers and sisters I never had, and relationships I have been in that have been a reflection of who I was at the time.
6. Where do you see VNV in five years?
In 5 years, I see VNV participating in all major trade shows, and known in NYC and other major cities in the country. I have released over 20 designs just within the 1st year, which means by then I foresee having at least 100 designs ranging in tees, tanks, outerwear, and accessories. I plan to hire employees who will be able to do administrative work, market, sell, and design for me. I also hope to be on track for my own brick and mortar store.
7. What about yourself? Where will you be in five years?
As for myself, I see myself creating new goals because I would have already knocked out all the ones I have set for myself this year, haha. I would like to be traveling a lot to market my brand, speaking at events to younger people to spread the brand’s mission and motto, and participate at fundraising and volunteering events to support organizations through VNV’s profits.
8. What has been your greatest obstacle?
My greatest obstacle has been myself. I truly believe that we all can be our worst enemies when it comes to life. There will be many people who judge and talk about you, and because of what you hear or the environment you are in you are unable to move forward or be optimistic about any tasks you have set for yourself. You have no one to blame, but yourself for not having accomplished the things you wanted to. Don’t let anyone stop you, not even yourself to go anywhere but forward. There is no point moving backwards so that is not even an option. Standing still or being stagnant will get you nowhere, so force feed yourself something positive to hurry up and get you to moving forward towards whatever you may want to do.
9. In a male-dominated business, how do you gain the upper hand?
Honestly, I used to always fight for the upper hand during my younger years. But, I have learned that it isn’t always about getting the upper hand especially against the opposite sex. I am not a feminist and I don’t quite believe in complete equality because I believe men and women are both made so differently that we both possess specific talents that we can always share.
However, the society we live in does not allow for things to be any easier for women when it is already dominated by men. For that reason, I have learned to take less risks and strive to be completely, ethically, morally, and consciously by the books. We can’t be blamed if everything was done correctly and there was no room for any criticism, but to be so rigid aka a perfectionist. Unfortunately, we might sometimes have to work harder to even gain any respect to prove that we have the strength and endurance a man would easily have over a woman biologically. I have also learned to have ownership of anything you do, which means to learn everything from the bottom up and not relying on anyone to help you. Always be professional when it comes to business, and treat everyone with the same kind of respect you would demand. Finally, to be comfortable with rejection because men probably deal with that all the time. Any kind of constructive criticism or a plain rejection of your product or even YOU should not discourage you to be who you are and believe in the things you are proud of because you will never please every single person in this world.
10. What advice do you give ambitious young Asian women?
I guess this would be a continuation from question #9 but I would like to tell our ambitious young Asian women that it is okay to feel discouraged at times because it is that much harder for a female minority who is young and inexperienced trying to be successful in this world. However, there are many advantages as well as rewards because you would have worked that much harder than the average person for your dreams. Rest assured times have gotten better, and the Asian community is more accepted if not in more demand in the media and in the workplace. Our work ethics and wits have been acknowledged even as a stereotype. Be grateful for the ambition in your heart and the fact that you possess these dreams. Embrace challenges, overcome any hurdles one by one, build bigger dreams as you achieve your goals, always be optimistic and positive enough to share the wealth of your vibes to any dark clouds around you, and have faith that no matter what you do in life that as long as you are thankful for what you already have, there will be no permanent failures in life. If anyone would like more in-depth advice please feel free to contact me and I can enlighten you to have a happier perspective on life.
A born and raised Queens boy, Jake Choi is the hottest name on everyone’s lips these days. You may have seen him in the Superbowl Best Buy commercial alongside Amy Poehler, College Humor originals, or the new show Golden Boy on CBS. Jake took the time to answer some questions for Fascinasians:
1. How would you sum up your background and childhood in less than ten words?
I was very confused of my identity and insecure.
2. Have you always wanted to be an actor? How did your family feel about that when you told them?
No I actually wanted to be a professional basketball player. But when I stopped pursuing basketball, I didn’t know what to do. My friend actually suggested that I give acting a shot based on my personality. My family wasn’t too against it or for it. They just wanted me to be happy.
3. What ethnicity are you? Do you think this has held you back or helped you in any way?
I’m Korean. I don’t think it has held me back or helped me. I guess it really comes down to how you play the hand your dealt.
4. Have you ever been offered a demeaning or racist role? How did you handle that?
Yes a few times. I had to politely turn them down.
5. What are you most proud of?
Hmm…. maybe landing the Best Buy commercial since the role really was open to any ethnicity.
6. Do you identify as more Korean-American, Asian-American, or just American? What’s shaped your sense of identity?
I identify myself as just a human being. But if I had to choose, I’d say Asian American. There’s a rich Asian history and culture here in America and I’m very proud to be a part of it. But we’re all really one and the same. It’s not about what color you are, what nationality, or religion. As long as you are comfortable with yourself, that’s all that matters.
7. What are the five most recently played songs on your iTunes?
Lauryn Hill - Ex-factor, 2NE1 - I love you, John Legend - Coming Home, The Weeknd - Enemy, Lupe Fiasco - Hip Hop Saved My Life
8. What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?
I think my biggest accomplishment is not quitting what I love doing even when I had hit rock bottom.
9. What changes do you hope to make in the community?
I would just like to help mold the image of how Asian Americans are viewed and cast in the entertainment industry and media. The stereotypes have been slowly disappearing but you still see it a lot on TV and film. Which is why I refuse to audition for any demeaning or stereotypical roles.
10. And last but not least, the question that’s on everyone’s mind: are you single?
No comment :)
Oops. Guess I’m officially done with all k-pop now. Fuck all those crushes I said I had. I’m done.
A huge discussion when it comes to not only Korean pop culture, but also Korean society s that of anti-Blackness.
The discussion usually devolves into kpop fans taking up the “YOU SJWS YOU. SHUT UP” and anti-racists ignoring the societal context of Korea and trying to yell over Koreans, who they group in with kpop fans.
So here are my 2 cents because I got this link sent to me about 7 times yesterday.
What do I like about this article/thread?
First off it points out an important issue, the issue of anti-Blackness which plagues not only kpop culture, but Korean culture in general. It’s an undeniable fact that anti-Blackness is widespread in Korea and that this has formed a large part of kpop, which in turn serves to further enforce and spread anti-Blackness, as I’ve somewhat touched upon during my discussions about YGE, who have many artists pointed out in the link above.
So if you’re familiar with Korean society the above examples of anti-Blackness are not surprising to a certain degree with the widespread nature of anti-Blackness in Korean culture, so the article, in pointing these examples out, does a good job of bringing this discussion to the forefront and forcing the discussion to be had.
What’s wrong with this article? It refuses to take a lot of historical and socio-cultural context in to the picture.
First off Korean history of race dynamics is extremely different with the Western hemisphere.
Korean history and race dynamics in the sense of as they are discussed in the western hemisphere or pretty much non-existant until the 18th century at the earliest, with contact with African American culture being established during mainly the 6. 25 War period. The dynamics of Korean history have always focused on relations of different Asian ethnicities, such as the dynamics between Koreans and the Japanese, rather than race.
Where does this come from? The fact that Korean history is dominated by a predominantly homogeneous population of Asian people, most specifically of the Korean ethnicity. Thus, when there are no people of differing races it’s hard to establish a history of racial dynamics.
So why is this important? Because it helps, on a certain level explain why anti-Blackness is so widespread in Korea. There’s no history of oppression of Black people in Korea and thus certain actions do not hold a historical context in which it’s seen as racist and bigoted in Korea.
Fast forward to the Korean war when the US army came into South Korea, carrying the hierarchy of white soldiers being held in higher esteem than Black soldiers and what happens is that that mentality was transferred to the Korean population. The media contact between Korea and the western world further enforced that notion, as positive and accurate portrayals of Black people in western media is overpowered via racial stereotyping such as Black people as “gangsters” and “poor” and “ghetto”.
Because of this lack of accurate contact and communication, the education of Korean people on certain racial issues has also been delayed and denied.
For example, Korean people view Blackface as nothing more than a costume methodology to more accurately portray a Black character because the history of blackface is not widely known. There’s a lack of educational material as to why Blackface is a racist action and why it shouldn’t be done.
Same goes for the n-word, which I’ve already discussed a bit in this post.
So what are some steps that need to be taken to alleviate the issue of anti-Blackness not only in kpop but also in Korean culture?
First off, direct contact between the Black community and the Korean community needs to be established. Most of the contact between the Black community and the Korean community, from the Korean side, comes from the western media plagued with whiteness and white supremacy. Because of this, incorrect and bigoted views of the Black community are formed and enforced in the minds of Koreans.
Of course you could say that there are plenty of resources on the internet explaining the history of Blackface, why the n-word is an unacceptable word for those who are not Black to use, or what not, but the question must be asked, how many of those resources are accessible to Koreans? The language barrier of English is still very large in Korea and thus when these resources are only in English or other European languages, they become inaccessible to a large portion of the Korean population.
Once contact has been established and education has started, it’s very much important that Korean anti-racists work toward making sure that kpop stars and other parts of Korean society do not, to be blunt, fuck up.
The issue of anti-Blackness in Korean culture is an important issues, but it must not be one that further widens the gap between the Black and the Korean community. It must be an issue faced by the Korean community and Black community forming a direct relationship and contact that throws away the whiteness plagued media of the west in which currently the only contact exists.
What identities do you identify yourself as? Man, woman, Asian, White, Latina/o, upper-middle class, able-bodied, documented, undocumented?
For me, I find myself in these identities: Undocumented Korean American, woman-of-color. But what does it mean? How does being Korean and being undocumented play out in our society? In my respective community?
I was born in Korea, brought to the US when I was 8 and grew up the majority of my life in Georgia. Growing up in white suburban Georgia was a very difficult place as an undocumented Korean. It’s not that I ever felt the difficulty as I was growing up, but looking back, I think I was so secluded from the rest of the society. Soon after my family lost status, we steered away from the Korean community. The only time I saw other Koreans was during the weekly grocery shopping at H-mart. And when I took charge of my undocumented status, it was within the latino/a community. That was where my safe-space was created. But the gap between my Korean self and my undocumented identity was still distant. I didn’t know how to incorporate two identities and create a space for undocumented APIs. How could I, when I was afraid to approach and communicate with people who shared the same motherland?
For those looking for jobs in Chicago:
KRCC’s mission is to empower the Korean American community through education, social service, organizing/advocacy and culture. KRCC serves the Korean American community of greater Chicago, now estimated at 100,000.
Locally, KRCC is a member of the Korean Human Service Providers Council, the Korean American Vote Coalition, the Coalition of Asian, African, Arab, European and Latino Immigrants of Illinois and the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
KRCC is the Chicago affiliate of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (nakasec.org/blog/) and has an affiliate center in Los Angeles (www.krcla.org).
Reporting to and in partnership with the Executive Director (ED), Director of Development & Finance (Director) will spearhead development efforts and oversee fiscal and financial management of the entire organization.
1. Grant Management
2. Individual Giving & Special Events
3. Financial and Fiscal Management
4. Agent for Change
As part of a team that plans and implements community organizing and public policy advocacy campaigns for issues concerning low-income immigrants of color in Illinois, you will be required to participate in various community outreach, organizing and advocacy efforts. Understanding and commitment to grassroots fundraising as a tool for social change is greatly appreciated.
Compensation: salary and benefits commensurate with experience and skills
Start Date : mid July
All the resume and worksample should be sent to Sik Son at email@example.com.
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