2 hours ago on September 22, 2014


Call that whatever it’s called. No wonder a lot of us immigrant children are pushed by our parents into the sciences and more objective fields. No wonder people keep proliferating the flawed idea that Filipino Americans don’t read.

So now that I am teaching, I do think very much about how young people — especially young Filipino Americans — read, what they read, how they enter and engage literature, whether literature is important to them, how they figure themselves as readers.

These days, I get students who read Pati Navalta Poblete and Cecilia Manguerra Brainard in high school. How far we’ve come. That’s amazing to me. Even if one of these authors is the only Filipino American author they ever read during the span of K-12, that’s a whole lot more than a lot of us had.

That said, this also tells me I can push, challenge them as readers. Part of me begins every semester apprehensive; I certainly do not want students thwarted by “difficulty.” “Difficulty,” of course, can mean many things, and “difficulty,” however it comes to be defined, can be confronted and unpacked.

I’ve also come to realize that what we considered “difficult” a decade and more ago, may not be so much these days — as I’ve previously blogged, how elements of postmodernism are now staples of popular culture makes teaching non-linear, multivocal, multilingual, surreal and hyperreal, genre non-conforming works of literature not an immovable block. I am remembering how my USF students looked at me quizzically, when I told them I was looking at Amazon reader reviews for Dogeaters, and found one trend of Filipinos and/or Filipino Americans saying, “I did not get,” “I did not like this book,” “I could not understand this book,” “it is not relevant to Filipinos,” “it does not represent Filipinos.”

Another thread of user reviews, related to the thread of not representing Filipinos, was that Dogeaters did not present Filipinos in a positive light, that it did not do justice to the beauty of Filipinos and Philippine culture. To which my students responded that not everything we write about ourselves must be positive, pretty, and happy. How do we write about the ugly? How do we write about the ugly things we do to one another? Our history is ugly. We can’t just pretend. We can’t be dishonest.

On “difficulty,” my students admitted that it took a little time to acclimate themselves to the text, but once they figured out how perspectives shifted and shifted, they were fine. They could not understand how this book could be deemed not relevant to Filipinos.

Some of many proud moments for me.



2 hours ago on September 22, 2014



Urbance animated project is now on Kickstarter.

Looks so cool!

4 hours ago on September 22, 2014

"I do believe that books can change lives, and give people this kind of language that they wouldn’t have had otherwise."

- Jacqueline Woodson talks to NPR about her free-verse memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming (via penguinteen)

6 hours ago on September 22, 2014



Holy cow where do I even start. Rat Queens is honestly one of those books that just leaves you speechless with not only how fantastic it is, but with how empowering it can be. How do I even begin to summarize it. Just imagine your typical Fantasy Dungeons and Dragons RPG and add some wicked dialogue, a great story and some of the best characters I have ever seen and that’s exactly what you’ll find in Rat Queens.

The art in this book is absolutely beautiful. Roc Upchurch outdoes himself in every single aspect of the word. He tosses aside the notion of traditional comic book women by creating them in different races, shapes and sizes. Which lets be honest its something that the the comic book industry desperately needs. 

Let’s talk about the Rat Queens themselves. Not only does each women focus on a class which you’ll find in almost every fantasy video game, but there’s a wide range of race, strong personality and body types in this book.  By the end of the first issue you’ll find yourself identifying with at least one of these wonderful (and yet often very vulgar) women if not all of them. 

The dialogue is another thing that I absolutely adore about this book. Not only is it sometimes gritty and vulgar but it’s often times god damn funny. Its one of these books that’s impossible to put down mostly because you just don’t want to. And when you’re done reading it you’ll probably just go back and re-read it again (I know I did). 

Everyone should get their hands on Rat Queens. Even if you don’t like comics read this book because I promise you’ll adore it as much as I did. It’s only 7 issues in, so there’s still time to catch up, AND the first trade (which consists of the first five issues) is only ten bucks! Did I mention it’s been picked up for a future Animated Series (BECAUSE IT SO TOTALLY WAS)

So get out there right now and read RAT QUEENS. Because you really don’t have any excuse not to.


10 hours ago on September 22, 2014


Center Stage, 1992

10 hours ago on September 22, 2014
Anonymous said: ""B" is the main character of my book. She's mixed because her father, "Z," left his Igbo tribe in Africa to come to America for the white woman he fell in love with while she was there on a mission trip. Does this come across as a "white savior" kind of thing?"


White + African Interracial Relationships

Please don’t refer to African ethnic groups as tribes. See here.

To be honest it’s difficult not to make this problematic.

I feel some kinda way (maybe being Black, maybe being Nigerian) about the set-up here. For him to want the White woman over the Nigerian women i’m assuming he’s surrounded by definitely feels like a slight towards Black women that’s a real pervasive issue in the Black community and society in general.

Obviously this won’t speak on every Black man, and this is from my Western perspective, but way too many f**kboys go out their way to praise any woman but Black women and are proud of letting us know we’re undesirable to them and that White, non-black woc, and/or light-skinned Black women are preferred.

Go on twitter and search “dark skinned” or “Black girls” (well maybe don’t. it’s bad. Really bad) or hear some of these Black male celebs speak, and you’ll see what I mean.

In general, there isn’t a problem with him dating or loving her, just be mindful of the implications and that you nip those out as well as possible.

Typically the issue is when there’s a qualification to the interracial relationship. “I’m dating this x person because Black women are so-” No. Date whomever you like because you like them. Not because Black women are a b & c. See what I mean?

Also; ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the connection between Z and B’s mother? Is it on equal grounds, as in she wasn’t on this trip to “Serve” him, perhaps he was on the organizing side of the mission trip activities, or is it a chance encounter?
  • What about her is so special that he has interest in this woman over all the other women in his region so much that he leaves behind his home and people for her? Does she feel the same way about him?
  • I also hope he wouldn’t show complete disregard for his family and loved ones in Nigeria. Does he still keep in touch? Does he visit them? Additionally, did he have any past lovers in Nigeria?

Key thing here is if you’re going to avoid White Savior and misogynoir aspects: their relationship should be based on mutual attraction and respect. He shouldn’t hold her up high for being an American White woman.

Not that she has to be golden perfection, but there needs to be something (or several somethings) about her that particularly draws him in that for some reason hasn’t occurred with him and the women he’s been around before her arrival.

So emphasize their love and connection, make us believe it, accept it. 

~Mod Colette

15 hours ago on September 22, 2014





#this is not an exaggeration okay #children do say this #children do wonder why they can’t find themselves in the media #don’t fucking tell me it doesn’t matter #it matters so much #children NEED to see themselves represented #or else they grow up feeling inferior and not worthy

okay, story time: i’m a resident actor a children’s theatre company, and we just did peter pan. i was cast as peter because i’m the only one who looks young enough to play the part; but aside from looking young, i look nothing like peter pan. he’s this little white boy with reddish brown hair and i’m an arab/hispanic queer with black hair and freckles. 

our company has a really devoted following, and these kids are reeeally young. after every show, we do autographs as the characters and have to keep up the act, because to a lot of these really young kids, we are who we pretend to be on stage. that terrified me. i’ve done autograph sessions in-character before, but never as such a well-loved character. who, again, is white. i was worried about what children might say.

over the course of the production, we must have performed for close to 500 kids, between the shows we did for families and the shows we did for school field trips.

and i distinctly remember one little white girl who came up to me with a DVD copy of disney’s peter pan, and she had this adorable tinkerbell dress on, and she just stared at me wide-eyed and after a while she said “i have all your movies!!”

first of all, if you don’t think that’s the cutest thing ever, please leave.

and when i asked her what she wanted me to sign, she handed me her DVD and said “by your face.” and she points right at this little white redheaded peter pan with pointy ears who is clearly not me, as if she can’t tell the difference… or she can, and she doesn’t care. similar things happened with different children, but it never lost its charm for me. on the contrary, it really warmed my heart.

by that same token there were many children of color who were affected by seeing a brown peter pan. a lot of them (usually older children) and/or their parents ask me how i got into acting, and if i had any advice for how to get into it. it meant a lot to me that there’s this whole generation of children of color who are going to pursue the arts, because even though i live in a very diverse area, our theatre landscape is still very whitewashed.

anyway, what i’m trying to say isn’t just that representation matters, which it does. what i’m also trying to say is that one less white face in the crowd isn’t going to hurt anyone. i feel like i’ve heard time and again that white people can only identify with white characters, and the whole point of my story is that that’s obviously not true. that kind of behavior, where people only empathize with characters who look like them, has to be taught. and that kind of behavior is racism.

bolding is mine, because that last bit really knocked it out of the park for me

This never stops giving.

20 hours ago on September 21, 2014

Today was amazing. I saw so many people from all over the country and the world. Old and young, people of color and queer people all marching for a change in how we deal with our climate policies. There was an emergency UN summit on the issue and people wanted to show how serious we were about it. I never knew how many organizations were involved with this march nor how many people attended. Conservative numbers guess that there were about 310,000 people marching in NYC.
I marched for women of color particularly because women of color who are most likely in communities that are impoverished, and are impacted by environmental pollution and destruction more than any other group. I knew these women would the least likely to be represented so I did the best I could. I was even interviewed for a documentary which is pretty awesome!
All in all, climate change is an issue we all need to be responsible for and care about. We need to hold ourselves accountable for our lifestyles and how it impacts others around the world, especially for POC and indigenous communities who have their resources ransacked from them. This blog is about diversity in art but we need ensure our future and the future of others after us to make our world a better place for diverse art and literature.

*sorry about the lack of a spotlight this week. My computer won’t let me go on tumblr and I’m having issues with it. I’m posting mainly from my phone.

1 day ago on September 21, 2014

second city has it’s first all black cast! 

don’t know if y’all count comedy theatre as art but second city is making some moves worth watching!

1 day ago on September 20, 2014

[The “A” is for asexuals & aromantics- not allies]
Mine, please and thank you


[The “A” is for asexuals & aromantics- not allies]

Mine, please and thank you