Being a Artist of Color is Exhausting

It's enough of a challenge to love and celebrate yourself, but to do that underneath the everyday consequences of systemic, hegemonic oppression is a whole other thing.

Working in theatre, and especially musical theatre, as an Asian-American person (and WOMAN) is far from easy. You can always hear the unspoken discussion around your casting, and whether or not a "risk" needs to be taken on you. Whether or not directors want to be "nontraditional." Whether or not you can pass for an ethnicity that's not exactly yours in actuality.

And please, know this: these are issues that white artists do not have to deal with. This is an unfair circumstance that is of no individual fault, but rather an unfortunate consequence of systemic, hegemonic oppression. It sucks and we have to continuously push against it.

I bring this up because Orientalism in American musical theatre canon runs rampant. It just does. No, it's not every white person's fault, should be aware that that's not okay. You should be aware that changes need to happen for a reason. You should be aware that Asian Americans are considered equal citizens now and our art should reflect that in our current society.

It hurts. It's painful. It's painful to know that there exists content within your art form that directly trivializes your identity. It's painful to know that there exist costumes of your hair, of your lips, or your eyes, of your nose on stages. It's painful to know that there are people who, without even knowing it, keep you segregated from the community you belong in.

As these old stories wax and wane, we (I) yearn for our stories to be told. I want people to know that I'm an All-American Girl too, with extra culture. And, although I'm fucking exhausted from external circumstances, I know I can't wait for anyone else to tell my story. I have to tell it myself.

So...look out, world. I've already got MaArte Theatre Collective up and running, and I've still got a few brown person, Island Woman tricks up my sleeve.