'Illuminated' sheds light on the racial prejudices against Asian women
A new webtoon series titled “Illuminated” began on Naver’s global Webtoon platform on June 26, with each episode based on interviews of high-profile Asian women who have spoken out about the racial prejudices they have experienced in their lives.
The series comes as a collaboration between 88rising, a U.S.-based hip-hop label that mainly manages artists of Asian origin, and the Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), a U.S. civil rights organization advocating Asian-American rights, to “tackle the realities of modern life for Asian American communities” according to the two organizations. The series started with four episodes, each based on the lives of music artists Stephanie Poetri, Wolftyla, mxmtoon and Olympic figure skater Mirai Nagasu.
“The impetus for the collaboration came from the parties’ growing concern about the rise in incidents of discrimination, violence and harassment targeting Asian Americans,” 88rising said in a press release. “The goal is to provide a positive source of inspiration in the midst of ignorance and hate, and to show Asian Americans, and by extension allied persons of color in America, that they are not alone.”
The series started with flying colors, recording a 9.37 out of 10 in its overall rating as of Monday. A comment on the first episode, on the story of Wolftyla, read, “This is so, so important. #StopAAPIHate. Thank you for this, Webtoon,” with over 8,900 likes. The first episode revealed the musician’s childhood growing up in Korea as a half-black Korean and the micro-aggressions she had to endure until she could find her own voice.
“In light of the rise in anti-Asian violence, we wanted to create a webtoon series that gave Asian women the opportunity to tell us, in their own words, who they are and why the #StopAsianHate movement is important to them,” said Susan Cheng, creative producer at Naver’s Webtoon. “Asian people as a group have long been denied the right to make their mark on history, so I hope that those who read 'Illuminated' will feel both comforted and empowered."
BY YOON SO-YEON [firstname.lastname@example.org]