Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Meet Glenn Robinson: Settler. Unarmed. Founder of Many Blogs.


Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez!

Since the creation of Watermelon Sushi World, its core intent to address mixed-race issues has moved far beyond its original objective. HAPA-ly, Your Hip Hapa would like to report that today’s blog is more about crossing cultures globally than anything else.

Glenn, his son and daughter
If you’re involved with any multi-ethnic groups on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, this issue’s featured Hip Hapa Homee is a man you’ll recognize. If not, meet Glenn Robinson, a borderless man who refers to himself thusly:




















“Settler. Unarmed. 

I love freedom of movement and campaign for (im)migrant rights. Drop the i-word  
I consult about blogging and social media with Clarity”.

Q: Glenn, who are your parents?

A: My mom is mostly of Irish heritage, but also German. My dad is half German from his mom, and half English and Dutch from his dad. 

Glenn and his kids
Q: How did you grow up, and how did your childhood shape your race consciousness?

A: I grew up on the peninsula side of the San Francisco Bay Area in a working class neighborhood located exactly between the million-dollar homes of a white community and the lowest-rent apartments of a Latino community.

Daily, I traveled through both communities on my bicycle while going to school and work. I was always interested in different cultures, probably due to growing up in a very mixed Bay Area, and without ethnic studies taught to me in grade school or high school. 

Q: You have founded four separate blogs and forums. One is specifically about multicultural folks, another about Amerindians, another is designed to bring communities together, and the last one tackles serious political and human rights issues. That's a lot of writing and updating! What inspires you to be so dedicated to these causes?

A: I started blogging to learn the technology. Half, because I find technology interesting and half, because people kept talking about blogs and I figured that sounded like a great way to reach a mass audience.
  
What inspires me are my children, my wife, our families and society in general. I also get frustrated with all the double standards in the U.S. On the one hand, we learn as youth about the poem at the Statue of Liberty, about the pilgrims invading Native land, then Woody Guthrie's song 'This land is your land'. Who is he singing to in that song? Native Americans, migrant workers, visa holders, immigrants, settlers? When I was little, I truly thought that anyone who set foot in the U.S. could become a citizen. What a rude awakening I have had as an adult. I cannot sit idly while I see xenophobia and hatred from the U.S. every time the news is on.
    
Glenn's daughter
Q: Mixed American Life is chock full of news and opinions about diverse people--from being mixed to being transracially adopted, or interracially involved. What has surprised you the most since its inception?

A: Two things surprised me. First, on a personal note, the fact that I would have a family feud surprised me. I was tired of dealing with subtle racism so I started a dialog about immigration and border walls, and found out I had a family member who was full-on xenophobic.

Second, what I hadn't understood is just how much rape or 'mixed by force', rather than mixed by choice, has occurred in the U.S. during the times of enslavement. I've also learned that Native women are raped by white men on reservations, and some of the laws have made prosecution difficult. 

Glenn's son
Q: Your 500 Nations site is, according to you, "everything Amerindian". Can you talk a little about the reasons that you created it?

A: I started the 500 Nations blog after seeing the documentary movie 500 Nations.  I thought there would be a website that went along with the movie--to learn more--and I couldn't find it, so I made it myself. I call my 500 Nations blog the keystone of my four blogs because it's the centerpiece that all the stories wrap around. 500 Nations allows me to curate the stories and opinions of Amerindians, about what they think about sovereign rights to their land, and what they think about immigration policies. I also thought it strange to be living on someone else's land and not know much about them. I figured since the public school system did not teach me about Amerindians, I will need to teach myself. 

Glenn's wife, Charo, at center holding son with daughter at her side
Q: Community Village Hub is a great spot to check out all of the work you've been doing. You're quite the Wordpress (and Blogger) expert. Do you find these blogs an effective method for getting important messages out to those who otherwise may be unaware?

A: I do feel like I'm making a difference, however small. I know I'm learning for sure, and I have meet great people like you, Yayoi; and, Steven Riley, Tiffany Rae Reid, Heidi Durrow and Fanshen Cox, to name a few. For me to reach a broader audience, I've been learning about social media marketing, and search engine optimization. 

Q: At Oppression Monitor, you get serious about serious issues. Are you hopeful that change will result from people being informed? Or do you think they just read your articles, and move on? Have you been able to monitor any results?

A: I do hope that people will become outraged and that will prompt them to take action for positive change. What I've noticed, however, is that people can only take so much depressing content, then they will tune it out--probably to maintain their sanity. When I hear of leaps forward in positive change, I document it in an online spreadsheet at sites.google.com/site/getgln (you have to scroll down about half way and look for the word 'progress' or 'solution' or 'fixed'):




Free Tech support, Free Music, Free software

Preview by Yahoo



Settler. Unarmed. Founder...
Q: Immigration seems to be the central theme of your blogs. Whether the diasporas result in multiethnic or multicultural people, or the oppression of others, it is definitely something to consider. Will there be more blogs in your future?

A: I thought I had enough to handle when I had three, then I made four. I have learned that I can maintain them better with a little help from people on Elance. I suspect I will mostly work on improving the blogs I have now.  

Mahalo nui loa, Glenn. See you soon in a borderless cyberspace!




Dear Hip Hapa Homeez, thank you for your continuing support. Please join our Hip Hapa Homeez group page on Facebook so you can take part in discussions about being interracially involved, multiracially mixed, transracially adopted and/or crossing cultures in a borderless world. And, please check out any or all of 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

Your Hip Hapa will return on August 6 with another interview with a Hip Hapa Homee. Drop us an email at yourhiphapa@me.com to nominate yourself or someone you know.


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 4 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