Growing Up Black and Korean in America

Emmy Award-winning director Jami Ramberan is winning acclaim for her latest film, “My Asian.” (Photo: Kristina Sherk)

By Sholnn Freeman

“My Asian” is a lyrical short film written from the perspective of poet and performer Suzen Baraka, which tells her story of growing up Black and Korean in America, said Emmy Award-winning director Jami Ramberan. Ramberan, who directed the short, described it as a striking collage of the many tapestries that make up the often disregarded and minimized Asian imprint on American culture, history and landscape.

“Suzen’s story not only brings to light the many injustices faced by Asian Americans but also increases the visibility of this community and its groundbreaking contributions to our nation,” Ramberan says. “As a filmmaker of Black and Indo-Trinidadian descent, it was vital for me to visually amplify Suzen’s message and expose audiences to her perspective in order to impact, empower and create real change.”

“My Asian” has been described as a poetic rallying cry, highlighting the horrific miscarriages of justice that Asian Americans and Asians throughout  America  have historically experienced.  Injustices range from day-to-day micro-aggressions to actual acts of violence and terror against members of the Asian community.

Suzen’s sister, Ayana Baraka, was the director of photography and co-executive producer of “My Asian” and is an award-winning cinematographer. In addition to directing the short, Ramberan is an associate professor of film and television in the Cathy Hughes School of Communications at Howard University, where she is also assistant chair of the Department of Media, Journalism and Film. She is earning more and more accolades for film, which currently on the festival circuit.

My Asian” has been selected in several film festivals including the Urbanworld Film Festival, the Pan African Film Festival, the Mixed Asian Media Film Festival and the Oscar Micheaux Film Festival, where it won the Best Performance in an Experimental Short Award. It will also be featured in the inaugaral Essence Film Festival in New Orleans from  June 30 to July 2.

“My Asian” was also a Webby Award Honoree, a distinction given by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADSAS), hailed as the “internet’s highest honor” by the New York Times.

“Her work is in exploring a multitude of diaspora identities,” says Montré Aza Missouri, Ph.D., who runs Howard’s MFA in Film Program.

For more information about the film, visit IG:@myasianisamerican