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Looking for AAPI Heritage Month Media Recommendations? I’ve Got You

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

In case you weren’t aware, May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! Personally, I find there’s no better way to celebrate than to consume all of the AAPI-led media as I possibly can. I know it’s difficult to figure out where to start, though, so I thought I would give a few examples as a jumping off point. So without further ado, here are my best media recommendations for AAPI Heritage Month:

Movie: Turning Red

If you haven’t seen Turning Red yet, you are in for a TREAT. Probably my favorite Pixar movie of the last few years, Turning Red paints a beautiful, hilarious and sometimes heart-wrenching picture of being a 13-year-old girl. An all-consuming boy band obsession? Check. The struggle of dealing with emotions that feel bigger than yourself? Check. A complex mother-daughter relationship? Check. I watched this movie for the first time with my mom and was full on crying at the end, despite fully being 18 and out of that stage of my life.

TV SHOW: XO, Kitty

Jenny Han never misses, what can I say? From the creator of the iconic To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before AND The Summer I Turned Pretty, XO, Kitty follows Lara Jean’s younger sister as she follows in her mother’s footsteps to attend the same international high school in Korea. What follows is a whole bunch of family drama, a love…pentagon(?) and an inspiring story of a teenage girl connecting with her culture and finding herself along the way. And good news! They’re filming Season 2 as we speak.

BOOK: Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

I’m going to be so real right now and admit I first picked this book up just so I could write one of my college admissions essays about it. HOWEVER, it actually really paid off, and this book still constantly lives in my head; so I kind of did myself a favor! Written by a fellow Filipino, Jia Tolentino gives fascinating commentary on a slew of topics from reality TV to her own religious upbringing and everything in between. I’m not even a nonfiction girly like that but I highly recommend. 

MUSIC: Rina Sawayama

If you take one thing from this article, please let it be that you should listen to Rina Sawayama. One of the most underrated pop girls in the game, Rina knows how to make you get up and dance as well as cry and contemplate all of your relationships – sometimes simultaneously? Her cover of “Love It If We Made It” by The 1975 changed my life, and she has such a refreshing sound that it actually baffles me that she isn’t a full blown superstar yet. 

The great thing about living in today’s world is that this list doesn’t even BEGIN to scratch the surface of all the mega-talented AAPI people out there and their incredible work. But hopefully this will lead you down the rabbit hole of everything there is to discover! I’m so proud to be Asian-American, and I love nothing more than to see AAPI artists succeed for all their hard work. 

Kelly is a second-year Communications major at UCLA from Pasadena, California. During her free time, she can usually be found lost in a book, grabbing a coffee, or obsessing over the latest reality TV show.