https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9vYtk9Xzuw&feature=youtu.be Everyone Loves An Asian Girl was the first poem I wrote four and a half years ago. I was inspired after a poetry show and the words quickly flooded out of my pen.
Once I started writing, I couldn’t stop. Those countless hours of writing, reflecting and performing have brought me to Vancouver as a Vancouver Biennale artist-in-residence.
Since that first poem, my work has continued to deal with who I am and the complexities of identity. Writing has helped me to negotiate, work through and come to terms with the various pieces of my story. It has also caused me to reflect and ask even more questions.
Since being in Vancouver, I’ve been thinking a lot about identity and my roots.
It's uncomfortable to work through these difficult and complex parts of who we are, but it's necessary for change and growth. We often don't give ourselves the space to deal with these issues and questions.
Last Monday, I did a mini feature at the Vancouver Poetry Slam. I performed two of my poems, Everyone Loves An Asian Girl and Minority. I hadn’t performed that piece since I wrote Everyone Loves A Jamasian Girl, a poem exploring my Chinese-Jamaican roots.
So when did liking Asian girls become a trend When my friend asked me, “Jenna, why do guys like Asian girls?” I let out a smirk and didn’t know what to say It’s because we’re cute and petite and “exotic?” Wait a minute! Why did I justify? Offended because she reduced me to that I was more than just an Asian girl Who got all the stares at my – Everyone loves an Asian girl t-shirt.
This poem was inspired by my t-shirt, Everyone loves an Asian girl, which I bought in high school. I thought it was cute and true, especially with so many people having “yellow fever.”
What's this “yellow fever?" It's a term used to describe people of non-Asian descent who have a strong interest, attraction and preference for Asian people and culture. I’ve been on the receiving end of this “fever,” particularly from men.
I used to think this obsession was funny, flattering or made me special in some strange way. However, I've come to resent this exoticization of my appearance and the assumptions associated with being an Asian woman.
It’s tiring to be objectified for how you look and having people constantly ask, “What are you?” or “Where are you from?” Many people aren't usually satisfied when I tell them I'm from Canada.
Check out my poem when you have a chance and thank you to the Vancouver Poetry Slam for filming it.