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Bay Area Director Makes “Asian American Gothic” in Response to Anti-Asian Violence

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As you undoubtedly know, there’s been an unthinkable rise in violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the United States over the past few years. And because of this, there have been a number of campaigns to raise awareness about these hate crimes, including the Stop Asian Hate campaign.

Local indie director Brian G. Cheung, has just kicked off a new series of PSAs with “Asian American Gothic” which has the simple, single-minded message, “Asian Americans are American”.

Check it out below:


Pretty striking right? You can read all about it and what set this in motion from the following press release that accompanied the video:

“Asian American Gothic” a response to the July 2nd attack on 5-year-old and father amid ongoing anti-asian violence

San Francisco Bay Area-based indie director, Brian G. Cheung, partners with the multiple Emmy-winning Portland, OR production company, Only Today to release “Asian American Gothic“, the first in a series of PSAs with a simple, single-minded message, “Asian Americans are American”.

The killing of 84-year-old Thai American Vicha Ratanapakdee, (whose daughter is shown holding his memorial portrait in the PSA) and more recently, the assault on a five-year-old girl and her father in Portland, Oregon, are just two of many attacks ongoing against people in the Asian community.

According to the California Department of Justice, crimes against Asian Americans increased by over 177% from 2020 to 2021, rising from 89 attacks to 247.

That number makes the idea of targeted violence against people of AAPI descent hard to ignore.

Cheung, who is of Chinese-Korean-American descent, thought of his own mom who goes for daily walks alone. He approached production companies Only Today’s Joyce and Raymond Tsang for guidance on whether or not he should pursue the idea for this PSA. Not only did they encourage him to create it, but they also offered to fund and produce it.

“The goal is not to tell people how to feel or guilt them into anything. We want people to reflect on their own thoughts on the matter and perhaps start a discussion over a meal or two. In fact, dim sum’s on me. I’ll order the good stuff”.

“Asian American Gothic” is just the first of a handful of videos they will be releasing over the next few months. The PSA features moving portraits of everyday Americans of AAPI descent, posed similarly to the iconic piece of American art, American Gothic. The end of the video encourages viewers to support various AAPI organizations fighting Asian hate.

Says Cheung, “An attack on the Asian American community is an attack on an American community. Let’s look after our neighbors”.

“Asian American Gothic” is available on Vimeo and continuing efforts can be followed on Instagram.

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Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.

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