Thursday, May 2, 2013

Asians Out Loud ~ Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai

I have decided to kick off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with a poem by the Chinese-Taiwanese American def jam poetess Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai.

Like Kelly, I'm a Chinese American....or as we sometimes call ourselves, an ABC (American Born Chinese). My parents were both born in Mainland China and then fled to Taiwan during the war. After graduating college, my parents decided to come to the United States to live the American Dream.

Throughout my childhood, I have struggled with my ethnic background and growing up Chinese in America. I never felt that I truly fit in....not in America and sure as heck not in China or Taiwan.  I just wanted to feel like I belonged.

For most of my adolescent life I felt as if I were teetering between two colliding worlds, and it was hard for me.....the racism that I encountered and the uneasy feeling that I would never really be accepted because of the way I look weighed heavily on me. It has taken me awhile....but I have learned to embrace everything that has made me the person I am today.

I am me
I am American

Click below to here an interview with Kelly from the HBO documentary East of Main Street: Asians Aloud. Kelly shares a little bit about herself and recites a one of her poems that I feel captures the emotions/thoughts that I have felt growing up Asian in America.

Do you have a def jam poet that you enjoy?

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