Monday, June 16, 2008

June column is now up: BlAsian Artists Thrive

Just wanted to let everyone know that my latest column went up on today.Please access it at the URL below (copy alsopasted below) and post your reaction inthe comment box below the article atthe URL below. Also, Please feel free toforward it to your friends and relatives.
Warmest Regards,
Asian Week: Voice of Asian America
Blasian Perspective: Black-Asian Artists ThriveBy: Sam Cacas, Jun 16, 2008 Print Email ShareTags: Beyond Borders, Opinion Akira's Hip-Hop Shop ( is a movie about ablack woman who falls in love with a Japanese man. Released last yearas an indie short, this BlAsian production has been making the roundsnationwide, including the recent Hollywood Black Film Festival andthe San Diego Asian Film Festival. Producer Joseph Doughrity, who gothis first break as an assistant to Oscar-nominated director JohnSingleton (Boyz 2 Men), has drawn enough raves from industry insidersto obtain funding to make the film a feature-length production. Ifyou plan on being in Atlanta this summer, check out the film at theAtlanta Pan-African Film Festival from July 18 to 27. The filmfestival is part of the National Black Arts Festival (, acultural celebration of the dance, music, film, theater, visual artsand literary arts of the African diaspora. For ticket information,call (404) 733-5000 or go to For ladiesinterested in checking out James Kyson Lee, the Asian male actor inAkira's Hip-Hop Shop, go to
Rapper Taiyo Na, a Renaissance man of words, prides himself on beinginfluenced by Curtis Mayfield, Nas and Chris Ijiima. In his latestalbum, Love is Growth, the New York City resident makes his owncontribution to the growing Asian American soul genre. Featuringcollaborations with singers Vudoo Soul, Conchita Campos and Emily C.Chang, rapper/producer Koba, jazz violinist Jason Kao Hwang,guitarists Minimum Tek of Outernational and Mark Concerto of P.I.C.,and more, the album is composed, arranged and produced entirely byTaiyo. Socially conscious, often funky and always personal, the albumshowcases the artist's urgency, scope and depth through songs such asthe champion's anthem title track, the pulsating introduction "OneMore Time" and the ethereal rock-soul ballad "Take My Breath Away."
Like the Latin American soul music of Palmieri and La Lupegenerations before, Taiyo's Love is Growth marks the emergence ofAsian American soul music through songs such as "Lovely to Me(Immigrant Mother)" and "Kasama." It is a distinct American music —African and European in its roots — and now Asian in its perspective.
In an American pop culture that often doesn't see Asian people asperforming artists, time will only tell if the mainstream is readyfor more diversity. Two things, however, are certain: Taiyorepresents an entire movement of young Asian American musicianscreating a voice all their own, and Love is Growth is the latestcharge forward. See for information about his upcomingshows.
Sam Cacas is the author of BlAsian Exchanges, A Novel. View his blogsat