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Rise Edit | Cool Asians Doing Cool Things
Oct 27, 2019
The most important life lesson I’ve learned is that being myself and fully embracing my identity, is my SUPERPOWER. I am the most powerful when I embrace who I am and just allow myself to be.
The Movement and words from Upriser, Asia Jackson:
My name is Asia Jackson and I'm an actress and creative based in Los Angeles. I was born a military brat to an African-American father and Filipino mother. All my life I've had my identity questioned by every community I've ever been a part of. I grew up with everyone trying to tell me who I am and who I couldn't be, and the lack of representation in the media didn't at all help me feel valid.
In 2018, Teen Vogue posted an article titled '29 Asian Actors You May Not Know But Should'. Out of those twenty-nine actors, ten were mixed with white and zero were mixed with Black. Even within the Asian community, there isn't a balanced or equal representation of mix or ethnicity. South and Southeast Asians are still extremely underrepresented in comparison to East Asians, and the same goes for mixed Asians who are not mixed with white.
Three years ago, in October 2016, I created the campaign #MagandangMorenx on Twitter. It literally translates to "beautiful brown skin" in Filipino. I used to live and go to school in the Philippines and while I was there, I was bullied for having darker skin. However this experience wasn't unique to me--some of my darker skinned classmates were also bullied for their skin color and when I moved back to the US, my Filipino friends' mothers and aunties would constantly tell them to stay out of the sun and give them papaya soap to whiten their skin. Skin whitening ads were playing every commercial break and there were tons of billboards up on every street corner. Colorism is a huge issue all across Asian communities and is especially pernicious in countries that have been colonized by Europeans. I created the viral global movement #MagandangMorenx to combat colorism and celebrate the diversity of Filipino beauty.
It is my passion and purpose to dedicate my work to the visibility and representation of marginalized people. My biggest idols growing up were apl.de.ap from Black Eyed Peas and Kimora Lee Simmons, the founder of Baby Phat. I remember how excited and happy I was to see two famous people who looked like me, that were well-liked for just being themselves. I spent my entire childhood and adolescence trying to be someone else to fit in and just only recently found power in embracing my identity--embracing my differences, my uniqueness, and my experiences. Being myself is my superpower. I am now empowered by my identity, because I saw others who looked like me do the same. There is so much power in visibility and representation, and that's why I've dedicated my work to do what I do.
I've collaborated with UPRISERS to create a capsule collection and zine based on the messaging of my purpose: it's okay to be different. There is beauty in all shades. No one can tell us who we they think we should be. No one can tell us who we are.