A new spoken word music video, “THEY WON’T SHOOT ME (I am not #FreddieGray),” by Los Angeles-based Asian American hip-hop artist Jason Chu about the death of Freddie Gray while in Baltimore police custody highlights the educational and economic privilege of some Asian Americans and calls on Asian Americans to choose to use that privilege to build solidarity with other less privileged communities.
“As artists who have been mentored/inspired by MANY Black men and women, my director Ben and I were moved to loudly and definitively voice our solidarity with the Black community - while acknowledging that our communities are viewed/treated differently,” Chu told NBC News. “We also wanted to oppose expectations of Asian Americans as silent, complicit, voiceless bodies who tend to ‘go with the flow’ of dominant culture. Words and video are our craft, and our hope was that this piece would spark conversation, challenge people, and stir action.”
The last stanza of the poem points out the differences in experience as well as the need to choose solidarity, “And I can write articles about it/ instead of surviving though it/ talk about it because I ‘should’/ instead of ‘because if I don’t I will go insane.’/ Privilege means I get to choose./ So, I choose.”
Chu's work was published as many leaders in the Asian-American community come together to call for greater solidarity across communities of color, as part of the larger #APIs4BlackLives movement.
"As Asian Americans, we've benefited so much from the gains of Black-led movements for racial justice in the US, and our history shows that when we stand together, we all win," Cathy Dang, of the CAAAV, recently told NBC News. "We should recognize that we have more to gain from seeking justice than from maintaining the status quo."