This post is the first of a short series on Afro-Asia—the cultural and political exchanges and historical connections between people of African and of Asian descent. In subsequent installments, I sit down with Yuichiro Onishi and Robeson Taj Frazier to discuss their recent books on the subject. Guest blogger Crystal Anderson will also share some of her recent work on the cultural representations of Afro-Asia.
More often than not, when my students hear the terms “Afro-Asian solidarity,” they usually point to the Rush Hour movies, featuring the talented duo Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. When I taught a group of high school students last summer, their faces lit up when they suspected I might show a clip from one of the movies. They were wrong. I showed a video clip of Fred Ho and his Afro Asian Musical Ensemble instead. I wanted my students to think about Afro-Asia as part of our ongoing conversation about the meanings and functions of black internationalism. Since none of them had heard of Fred Ho (1957-2014), I was also excited to introduce them to this musical genius, writer, and activist. [Continue Reading…]