It always comes back to people.
A few years ago, then-graduate student Kate Agathon invited me to be the keynote speaker at Purdue University’s inaugural Asian American Studies conference about Asian American Identity in the Midwest. Kate Agathon is so warm and engaging that she was able to put together some of the most amazing folks in Asian America, including blogger AngryAsianMan.com Phil Yu, Blacklava founder Ryan Suda, R&B singer-songwriter Dawen Wang, spoken-word poet Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, Turtlist Media’s Jason Lee, as well as several academics, all with Midwestern (and many Chicago) ties.
Spending a day together talking about the issues that were important to us and how we came to those issues, comparing our different approaches, was powerful. Blacklava.net started out as a surfwear retailer, but quickly evolved into an online store for all things Asian American (including my chapbook). I remember realizing that although Ryan Suda’s medium is T-shirts with pithy sayings that reflect the Asian American experience (i.e. “Asian is not Oriental,” “I speak English,” “I suck at math,” “I will not love you long time”), he and I are actually doing very similar things.
However, since Ryan Suda’s shirts go out into the world one person, one day at a time, he probably reaches more people (and certainly very different people) than I actually do. lol.click on link for complete article: http://chicagoistheworld.org/2012/10/finding-good-people-good-friends-at-blacklava-net/Chicago is the World » Finding good people good friends at Blacklava.net