K-pop is everywhere and ever-growing in popularity, but a British East and Southeast Asian (BESEA) perspective is rare to find! Asians Have Feelings Too is a beautifully composed song written in solidarity with the #StopAsianHate movement. This original piece of music has been created by British-born Chinese, queer, trans-masculine, non-binary performer and songwriter The Mollusc Dimension (Missing Parts, 2016; Adventures in Times and Gender, 2020; Breaking the Spell of the Armada Portraits, 2020). Asians Have Feelings Too will be performed at The Rich Mix this April, followed by a live panel discussion. Ready or not, BESEA-pop is here!
Asians Have Feelings Too is about being East Asian, LGBTQIA+ and being raised in the UK. Infused with singalong songs and transformative tales, the song promotes positive BESEA representation and mental health art. The song blends magical pop melodies and feel-good dance breaks with subversive lyrics that addresses anti-Asian racism, but also speaks deeply to anyone who has ever had trouble fitting in.
With its universal message of belonging, the song has inspired teachers, parents, professionals just as much as intersectional feminists, disabled activists and anti-racists. The Mollusc Dimension will now be performing this song with a live panel discussion, where he will be joined by dancers from the original music video, Lusty Lovelace and Tim Lytc, with multidisciplinary playwright Enxi Chang and producer Tuyet Van Huynh, chaired by actress Mei Mac (Call the Midwife, 2012; Faa IheIhe, 2016; Sifu, 2022).
Asians Have Feelings Too speaks powerfully and directly to communities that have experienced anti-Asian racism following Covid-19. A second pandemic that could run longer than the Covid-19 virus itself, Covid-19 related racism is a specific hostility that emerges from the search for scapegoats. Donald Trump referred to Covid-19 as ‘The Chinese Virus’, anti-Asian hate crimes increased In London by nearly 179% in 2020 and global anti-Asian hate rose by 300% in the first quarter of 2020 alone. Like many ESEA, The Mollusc Dimension experienced Covid-19 related racism. The #StopAsianHate movement rose against this crisis to heighten awareness of the surge in racist hate crimes and commit to anti-racist action. Asians Have Feelings Too is a case of using the arts and music to spread awareness and affect social change, in an enjoyable and community-building way.
The Mollusc Dimension comments, We exist – yet we are still erased from culture and the school curriculum. Ultimately, and this may surprise you… I truly believe that you don’t necessarily need to be ESEA, Asian or LGBTIQA+ to benefit from Asians Have Feelings Too. Because the message is about aspects which many people have struggled or struggle with – ‘being yourself’ and finding magic in the everyday.
In his role as piano teacher, The Mollusc Dimension noticed his BESEA and Asian students lacked both institutional and parental support that blocked their access into creative careers. The musician also felt this lack of support, keeping his partner’s identity secret from his family, yet music became a creative outlet. As he explains, Music really helps me with my mental health. I often struggle with a lack of confidence which comes largely from being underrepresented and marginalised as an older, British-born Chinese, queer, trans artist – something this video aims to address!
To raise the profile, voices and talents of artists from groups that have been historically grossly underrepresented in society, culture and the arts, the production team behind Asians Have Feelings Too consists of BESEA, Asian, Black, people of colour, LGBTQIA+ and disabled artists. The music video was produced by a team of 17 people, the core creatives including multi-award winning director Darius Shu, producer Tuyet Van Huynh, mixed-media dance creative Tim Lytc and interdisciplinary artist Raisa Kabir.
Asians Have Feelings Too is supported by funding from Arts Council England and supported by Theatre Deli.
Tickets are on sale from £10 (£6 concession) and can be purchased online at https://richmix.org.uk/events/asians-have-feelings-too/ or by contacting the box office at email@example.com or 020 7613 7498.
Photo credit: Captured by Corrine