Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Ending Of A Year, Beginning Of A Dream

Aloha no, Hip Hapa Homeez!

With 2011 coming to a close, Your Hip Hapa is taking this opportunity to express her gratitude to all who have supported us throughout the years.

Although I started this blog in 2006, after only one post I immediately lost interest. It wasn’t until 2008 and the Year of the Earth Rat, that I began again and, on a nightly basis, wrote about being biracial. Nightly! What was I thinking? By the next month, I was only posting twice a week, but soon regulated myself to a weekly format to keep from boring you readers with my venting about multiethnic identity issues.

By 2010 and the Year of the Metal Tiger, I was posting bimonthly and, last year, finally went monthly.

Your Hip Hapa
At some point, I had nothing left to say about my multi-culti life, so I began interviewing some of you as my featured Hip Hapa Homee. I've never regretted it. Not only have I learned through your stories that we're more similar than different, but I’ve also enjoyed knowing you on a deeper level. Thank you for your willingness to share!

Tonight, I interview myself:

Q: Your Hip Hapa, who are your parents and how did they meet?

A: My Japanese mother met my African American soldier father while he was stationed in Japan. I lived in Tokyo until I was two; then, in segregated Texas before moving on to Germany and, finally, the Northwest. As an adult, I’ve resided in San Bruno, Pacific Grove, Santa Monica, Anchorage, Honolulu and St. Thomas USVI. I credit all that moving around and exposure to various people to my need for absolute diversity.

Q: What is Watermelon Sushi?

A: Watermelon Sushi began as a film, but has now grown into a movement. I first wrote the script about two Afro Asian sisters in 1997 and attempted to shoot it as an indie project in 1998. After a horrifying experience with an unscrupulous producer, I hired an editor to cut a trailer from the footage on hand (which wasn’t much) in hopes we’d raise enough money for a re-shoot. Over the years, we’ve buried this project in the closet, but it won’t stay put. People from all over the world have contacted me, begging me to remake this movie because, ultimately, it’s a story about clashing cultures, family matters, love and desire…in other words, about all of us.

Q: What are some of the other ancillary products that go with Watermelon Sushi?

A: Besides the film, we have a novel we hope to publish soon as well as a script for a staged musical. We’ve had a chapbook since 2000, and still print copies whenever we get requests for it. There’s a Watermelon Sushi vegan cookbook in the works—we’re hoping fans will send us their favorite recipes for watermelon, sushi, or both. Because there are some vegan characters in the film, the recipes need to be, too. We also plan to launch a package of paper dolls along with fashions featured in the film. Since the story takes place in the late 1980’s, there’s a hip-hop-glam-rock flava throughout. Think: “The Fresh Prince meets Prince”. Of course, the album soundtrack will go platinum, and we have several known musical artists--both old school rappers and Japanese enka singers--lined up for it.

Your Hip Hapa with enka singer Jero-san
Q: What else you got?

A: Well, we have this monthly blog where we promote other mixed-race people, those who are in interracial relationships, those who cross cultures, and/or those who are transracially adopted. If you scroll through some old posts, you’ll find a variety of amazing stories. Oh, and our “Official Cause” is Tyler Ransom, a multi-racial child with some health issues. He could really use our help so Watermelon Sushi will donate a percentage of its profits to him. Check him out here:

Tyler Ransom
Q: How can we help Watermelon Sushi get made?

A: Thank you for asking that! Wink, wink. The best way is to purchase a Hapa*Teez t-shirt at We make very little profit on these shirts, individually, so the more we sell the more likely we will raise the necessary funds to reshoot the movie. Right now, we have several international producers interested in joining us, but if we come to the table with some of our own money we can definitely make this production happen. And, by the way, each purchase earns a rear crawl credit. That means your name will appear onscreen at the end of the film. If you’ve already bought a Hapa*Teez, please make sure we have your correct name. Sometimes people make purchases with someone else’s credit card and we want to be sure that the right person gets the credit. Email us at Right now, during the holidays, it’s an excellent time to give your favorite hip hapa a Hapa*Teez. Remember, hapa simply means “half” in Hawai’ian pidgin, so you can be of any mix, or not mixed at all, to enjoy our shirts.
get your Hapa*Teez at Cafe Press

We’re also currently running an Ask My Cuz @Oprah campaign. Since Oprah is my kin, I’ve been tweeting about her several times a week. There’s a “twitition” that people can sign that we’ll eventually present to Oprah when our numbers reach in the thousands. Here are those links:

Finally, we would be thankful if you “like” any of the following Facebook pages:

Watermelon Sushi Fan Page

Hapa*Teez T-shirts Fan Page

Yayoi Lena Winfrey Fan Page

Ahem, apologies for that personal fan page, but I get so many Friend requests that I’ve been at the limit of 5,000 for a couple of years. I’m now attempting to make my Fan page my Profile page and transfer all my info to it so I can personally connect with more of you. I said, “attempting” so please give me some time.

We also have a Hip Hapa Homeez Group page where we discuss issues of interest to people who are mixed, transracially adopted, interracially involved or who cross cultures. You can request membership by going to that page on Facebook.

Of course, we’re on twitter and if you follow us, we’ll absolutely follow you back.

And, we’re also always on the lookout for more Associate Producers. Our AP’s are scattered around the world and keep us on alert for potential executive producers.

Jaz Dorsey
One of them is Nashville playwright Jaz Dorsey who has been instrumental in getting AAPEX (African American Playwrights Exchange) to recognize Your Hip Hapa. 

Here’s an award I recently received. Don’t let the applause scare you, and thank you to Dave Copeland:

Derrick Holmes
Our man in Tokyo, Derrick Holmes, is responsible for promotion and publicity of all our products. If you’re on any social networking site, chances are Derrick’s a member so drop him a friend request.
Andye AndinhaNiakan

Thanks also to Associate Producer, Andye AndinhaNiakan of Atlanta, who recently blogged this:

And, here’s a special shout-out to my long lost cousin Gregg Winfrey who has resurfaced to become an Associate Producer. Hey, cuz! got that direct line to the Big “O” yet?

Also, last year, Robert Taylor and I began broadcasting Sexy Voices of Hollywood, an Internet series of interviews with show biz celebrities. This is another means of support for Watermelon Sushi although we’re currently on hiatus.

Teri LaFlesh
Julia Baker

So many of you have been wonderful supporters and since I don’t have your permission to out you, I’ll only list those who’ve sent me photos for publication—except for Carol Sugihara who rocks! with her multiple purchases of Hapa*Teez. Thank you, too, to our perpetual poster girl Cassie, Eva, Teri LaFlesh, Julia Baker…and Robert Taylor for this:

Amina of Mixed Child, Arana of The Topaz Club, and the rest of you, please get your pictures in so we can post you here and on the Watermelon Sushi website.

Hip Hapa Homeez, we promise that 2012 and the Year of the Water Dragon beginning January 23 will make all our dreams come true. Best wishes for a HAPA holiday season and, until next year, I am and will always be

Your Hip Hapa,