I just finished watching the Emmys. It's my first time watching it from beginning to end. When I first turned on the television, my mom was like, "why are you turning on the television?" I chuckled, knowing this is the fifth time this year I turned it on to watch something, since we all watch stuff on our laptops nowadays. About 20 minutes in, the Emmys finally started. My mom and I were eating dinner while it played in the background with my eyes glued onto the screen. I simply cannot keep my eyes off the tv. As I am a slow eater, my mom was done with her food. I was still staring at the screen. She turned around again to look at the tv to see what I was watching. She asked, "Why are you even watching this? It wouldn't serve you in any way to see other people claiming awards. You should look at the job application your father brought home instead. Find a real job and not work for organizations that lead nowhere." At that point, my heart sank. How can I explain to her that people on screen--actors, writers, directors, artists--are the people I'm aspiring to be? Will she understand? Or will she shrug me off like all the other times I try to explain myself?
While watching the Emmys, I was trying so hard to spot out other Asian American creatives on the screen, so when the time comes, I can point to it and say, "Ma, look!" But none showed up. I was like dammit.
I got so emotional watching the Emmys. There were two moments that hit me so hard: when Uzo Aduba went on stage and gave thanks (I finished season 3 of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK today), and also the moment when Viola Davis said, "The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an EMMY for roles that are simply not there." Damn. I couldn't even contain my tears. At this point of the show, my mom already passed out in front of her phone, so I can't tell her what this all means.
I just know that watching the Emmys gave me a sense of hope. With no one in my family, except my brother, who knows what I go through on a daily basis, this gives me hope that someday, there will be more and more diversity on screen / behind the scene.
Sometimes when I have no one to tell these things to, I just write it down or blog about it. I have clouds of blues floating over me these past couple of weeks--because of both personal and professional reasons--and I'm slowly recovering and becoming stronger. Slowly, but surely. I know these hard times are here because I'm supposed to learn and grow from these experiences; so I will, and I must.
I have to fight everyday with myself and my closest loved ones (like my mom) for this dream. It's so hard, and everyday I think about giving up. But something deep down within me tells me not to. And so, I will not. I will not give up. There is hope.