Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Blackanese Boy


Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez!

Blackanese Boy, Ramon
This month’s featured Hip Hapa Homee is Ramon Calhoun who just published his novel, Blacknese Boy. Read what Ramon has to say about being multiracial and a writer, below. Here’s the url to his book:


Q: Ramon, who are your parents and how did they meet?

A: My father is black American and my mother is Japanese American (sansei).  Supposedly they met while at the Monterey Jazz festival in the 1960's. They then moved in together in San Francisco and were basically hippies; mom had super long hair, and dad had a big Afro.

Q: Where and how did you grow up?

A: I grew up in San Francisco, and was raised primarily by my mother and my Japanese American family. I went to a Japanese bilingual school from grades 1-5, and also was involved in a Japanese American Cub and Boy Scout troop (located in Japantown) as a child, up into my teens. I also spent time in the country, near Lodi, the central part of California, where my grandparents on my mother's side lived.

My parents separated when I was a child. My father wasn't around that much; he led a bohemian life, so would pop in and out on occasion. My close friends and peers growing up were either Japanese American, or mixed Japanese.

Ramon with his mother
Q: How do you identify, and how did you first shape your identity?

A: I identify as mixed, as Blackanese. My identity as a child was shaped by many factors and influences: my mother, my relatives, my classmates, and then society and culture. I first identified as Japanese as a child. As I got older, my identity changed and switched and evolved. At various times in my life, I identified as Mexican, black, Indian, Filipino, Hawaiian and Mediterranean. It was challenging because there weren't any fellow Blasians around me, nor in popular culture. I was always the ONLY one. Now, as an adult, I fully embrace both my black and Japanese American heritages, and am proud to be Blackanese!

motivated
Q:  What motivated you to write about your experiences and put them in a novel?

A: I was motivated to write about my experience because I'm a writer/artist, first and foremost, and wanted to express something that is deeply felt by me. I wanted to use my experience as the basis for the main character and create a work of fiction. Also, there are no novels out there that have Blackanese people as their main characters. There's a hole out there when it comes to stories about Blasians, and so I wanted to address that. I want to read about such characters, and I want to have such characters out in the world for people to read about. It's such a diverse, complex country, and all our stories should be read/heard.

Q: There are lots of mixed-race forums now compared to 10 years ago. What advice do you have for mixies who want to follow in your shoes and write fiction about multiracial folks?

A: Go for it! I hope that many more mixed folk will write stories and novels. It doesn't have to be about being multi-racial per se, but just having us out there, as writers and artists in the public eye, is a positive thing. I think people should write about what they feel strongly about, whatever the topic or story. Writing about being mixed isn't easy, at least for me it isn't. But I want to continue writing about this (and other topics) because I feel so strongly about it. It truly is in my blood!

fellow Blasians, Ramon with artist/poet Sabrena Taylor
Q: It's unusual to see a mixed-race man write a book about being mixed although we've seen lots of published material from women. To what do you attribute that?

A: I guess that's true. Not sure why that is because there's many male black American writers, and male Latino writers, who write about race and ethnicity. I think it has to do with my passion for bringing my story and what it's like being Blackanese into the world. I want other people to read about it, to have some understanding of the complexities and challenges of being mixed like that. I want people to know that people like me exist, and to put us Blasians on the map so to speak.

Also, my father is a poet. His name is Conyus Calhoun. He's been published. I probably inherited the love of the word from him.  Though he was hardly around, his love of jazz and poetry is something that stayed with me.

Ramon with friend, Calvert
Q: What's next?

A: This novel is self-published, without any professional marketing or advertising, so there won't be any signings or book tours or anything like that--unless by some miracle it gains a wider audience and reaches a national attention. But I don't think that's going to happen. 

I'm currently working on some short stories. I'm very excited about them, as the writing is a bit different from the novel. They're not so strongly based on reality. When they're ready to be published, I'll submit them and see what happens. I feel very strongly about them.

I have another novel in the back of my head. I'll start writing that probably in a year or two. I already have ideas about it. I'm really looking forward to starting this, and to see what comes out.

Ramon at Tomales Bay
Arrigatou gozaimasu and thank you, Ramon. Hip Hapa Homeez, you can learn more about people like Blackanese Boy by joining and frequenting our Facebook group page—Hip Hapa Homeez. Please, also check out the following links:

Watermelon Sushi film

Watermelon Sushi on Facebook

Hapa*Teez on YouTube

Hapa*Teez on Facebook

Hapa*Teez on Café Press





War Brides of Japan v.2 on YouTube

War Brides of Japan on YouTube

War Brides of Japan on Facebook

Yayoi Lena Winfrey fan page on Facebook (sorry, but Your Hip Hapa can’t add any more friends to her regular profile page)

Sexy Voices of Hollywood

Twitter

See you again on June 3 for another interview with a Hip Hapa Homee like you!

Your Hip Hapa,

Yayoi

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Blasian Sensation


Although she’s unsure of where the term "Blasian" originated, Your Hip Hapa admits she finds it to be not only an accurate idiom, but also quite charming. Like our Hapa*Teez t-shirt design on Café Press, the words Black plus Asian = Blasian.

Danni with her Mom 
This month’s featured Hip Hapa Homee is Danni Ai, a creative multi-talented performer and visual artist, hailing from Jamaica, who also happens to be Blasian.

Here’s a list of some of Danni’s many accomplishments.

Milestone performances:

“Return of the King” Tour with Shabba Ranks
"Fugees" in Miami and Hartford Tour Dates (with Pras)
“Faces in the Crowd” @ Times Square Art Center
TSW World Entertainment Network on the Hornig Hapmton Estate
“LoveJones Christmas” on VH1
"Party with Baruch Live" - NYC 
National Coalition of 100 Black Women Youth Forum Speaker
New Taste Magazine, “Showcase 101”
ROMP for Research
“Trailblazer Awards” @ Cascades Mansion
BET’s 106 & Park 
SOBs “DREAMZ” Concert Series
"Partyzone/EMG” @ Greenhouse
"DREAMZ” at the world-famous Copacabana

Danni and immediate family

And, here’s Danni’s story:
Danni with Uncle Ginger

Q: Danni, who are your parents?

A: My mom is Jamaican (of African-German descent) and my dad is Jamaican (of Chinese descent).

Danni with great Grandma
Q: How did you grow up?

A: I grew up mostly with my mom. She always lived in either all black or mixed-race communities. I want to two schools that were all white.



Q: How did you first become interested in music?

A: I always had an interest. Jamaica is a very soulful and spiritual place. My mom can tell you stories about me finding an audience long before what I can remember. She and my great grandmother had beautiful voices. I have a great-great-great that was a riverboat singer, so I guess it's in my blood.






Q: And now, you're also a visual artist. How did that evolution come about?

Danni's artwork

A: It's just another way to express myself. Art is my passion. Sometimes I have a pen in my hand instead of a mic. Sometimes all I have is a toe and the floor. If you can envision yourself crossing the finish line, you will understand how it feels when I open my eyes and let whatever I felt come out of my head.


Danni, cousin Kadia, Mom and great Aunt






Q: How did you develop such strong feminist ideas? 

A: I wouldn't say my ideas are necessarily feminist. They are people-ist. They are for victims of rape and domestic violence. That affects much more than women. I just chose to start with women because their stories are something that I am closer to having experienced. I would never forget my boys and men who have been through the same horrible victimization.



















Q: Your family is so wonderfully mixed. What was it like being surrounded by so many colors and cultures?

Danni's Aunt Carol
A: Well, it taught me that tolerance is a word people use when they have seen prejudice. I don't have to tolerate people because we are all human. No one culture is better than the next. "Out of many races, one people" is Jamaica's motto. I see beauty in unity, and failure and dysfunction in the crabs-in-a-barrel scenario. 

Danni and cousins
Danni with cousin Mike
Q: What are some of your future plans?

A: Building awareness towards rape and domestic violence and changing the life of at least ONE person that has been affected by either of those things. One is enough, more than one is a blessing.

Danni with sister Alex
Danni with brother Kris
Danni and first cousins

Thanks, Blasian Sensation! Hey Hip Hapa Homeez, reach Danni through these links:

Twitter: @DanniAi
Instagram: @mydanniai

And, please remember to join our multi-culti discussions at our Facebook group page—Hip Hapa Homeez. While you’re in cyberspace, also check out the following:

Watermelon Sushi film

Watermelon Sushi on Facebook

Hapa*Teez on YouTube

Hapa*Teez on Facebook

Hapa*Teez on Café Press

War Brides of Japan v.2 on YouTube

War Brides of Japan on YouTube

War Brides of Japan on Facebook

Yayoi Lena Winfrey fan page on Facebook (sorry, but Your Hip Hapa can’t add any more friends to her regular profile page)

Sexy Voices of Hollywood

Twitter

Until April 2, when we’ll have another Hip Hapa Homee for you to meet, be sweet.

Your Hip Hapa,

Yayoi

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

HAPA New Year!

omedettou...

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou. Omedettou Gozaimasu. HAPA New Year!

In keeping with our new bimonthly format, Your Hip Hapa will return on February 5 with another interview of a hip hapa homee: a mixed-race, or interracially involved, or transracially adopted, or culture crossing person.

Until then, please enjoy this gallery of our Hapa*Teez t-shirts followed by our list of links:

Your Hip Hapa,

Yayoi









Watermelon Sushi film

Watermelon Sushi on Facebook

Hapa*Teez on YouTube

Hapa*Teez on Facebook

Hapa*Teez on Café Press

War Brides of Japan v.2 on YouTube

War Brides of Japan on YouTube

War Brides of Japan on Facebook

Yayoi Lena Winfrey fan page on Facebook (sorry, but Your Hip Hapa can’t add any more friends to her regular profile page)

Sexy Voices of Hollywood

Twitter



Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Shiwasu: Moving Forward In Our Multi-Culti World


Hau’oli Makahiki Hou, Hip Hapa Homeez! That’s HAPA (happy) New Year in Hawaiian. Although it’s a little early to send you that greeting, we at Watermelon Sushi World are participating in Shiwasu.

A Japanese custom, Shiwasu is when we finish out the old year to begin a new one. In other words; we clear our bodies, minds, homes, school lives and/or work environment of negative energies in order to start positively in the new year. It can mean getting rid of an old job that’s gone stale, or even a person who has drained us emotionally.

Here’s more about Shiwasu:


For this Watermelon Sushi World blog, Shiwasu means we’re changing our old format of monthly interviews. Instead of profiling someone new every first Wednesday, we’re changing to a bimonthly--or every other month--production. Sometimes, we’ll feature an interviewee, and sometimes not.

Our focus will still be on multiethnic folks, interracial relationships, transracial adoptions and those who cross cultures, such as expats. If you fit one of those categories, please drop us an email and tell us your story.

The idea is to change what we’ve been doing for so long to something fresh, although we’ll continue to be active at the following links:

Watermelon Sushi film

Watermelon Sushi on Facebook

Hapa*Teez on YouTube

Hapa*Teez on Facebook

Hapa*Teez on Café Press

War Brides of Japan v.2 on YouTube

War Brides of Japan on YouTube

War Brides of Japan on Facebook

Yayoi Lena Winfrey fan page on Facebook (sorry, but Your Hip Hapa can’t add any more friends to her regular profile page)

Sexy Voices of Hollywood

Twitter

Remember, Hapa*Teez t-shirts are available at Café Press and make great holiday gifts. If you’ve ever made a purchase, please send us your photo to incorporate in our next video, like this one:


And, don’t forget to join our Hip Hapa Homeez group on Facebook where we discuss being multiethnic, interracially involved, transracially adopted and/or crossing cultures.

Finally, mahalo nui loa to all you loyal fans and followers. Banzai!

Until February 2014 , when we’ll meet again, omedetto gozaimasu from...

Your Hip Hapa,


Yayoi