During my life from elementary to high school, I could remember running away from my Asian heritage. I was one of those white washed Asians, and I was really proud to be a white washed Asian. By all means, this article isn’t about bashing white washed Asians, considering that I was once one. But I just realized that the lifestyle wasn’t for me nor did it make me happy. One of the biggest factors that changed my mind was hip-hop and R&B.
Ever since I could remember, all I listened to was hip-hop and R&B. From Snoop Dog to Bone, Thugs and Harmony. All I wanted to be was an R&B singer, just like Alicia Keys. I was scared that I would disappoint my parents because being a singer wasn’t reasonable and it wasn’t stable.
Even though I was paying attention to Alicia Keys and other R&B artist at the time, it wasn’t until my brother was watching Freestyle Fridays on BET that I saw Jin for the first time.
While watching it, I couldn’t help but smile. For the first time in my life, I saw a fresh face that represented bi-cultural Asian Americans. He understood what it was like to be American born with Asian roots.
The more I watched him, the more I admired him. I wanted to get to know Jin more. I wanted to see him blow up on the scene, and he did. But after his first official album and his appearance in 2 Fast 2 Furious, my appreciation for Asian Americans withered and I became even more ashamed of being Asian. I struggled with my Asian American identity even more until I was a sophomore in high school when I rediscovered Jin. For that whole year I dedicated myself to updates of Jin. I NEEDED to know and it became a drug to me. But it was also one of the only things that kept me strong throughout my struggles I had in my real life.
After rediscovering Jin, I moved the next year yet continued with my thirst for Jin news. Not too long after, I discovered Far*East Movement and that’s when doors started opening for me. I started listening to Korean music. I started listening to underground Asian American rappers, everything and anything I could get my hands on. Listening to Korean music or underground Asian American artists became my life. It’s the one thing that kept me proud of my Asian American heritage because it made me appreciate what my parents went through. Due to these underground Asian American artists, it made me realize what I wanted to do in my life and that being Asian isn’t something that you ARE. It’s a lifestyle and you must embrace it. Geo (From Blue Scholars), Snacky Chan, Decipher, Dumbfoundead and Jin are just the beginning of our era. I hope that there are more artist like them to step up, because our Asian American face needs to be updated. It’s time for us to be heard, whether its through hip-hop or through punk rock. It doesn’t matter. We need to embrace our lifestyle.