May 17, 2021

May Is Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month! This Week, We Share Artists and Creators from our Instagram Audience


May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, marking a time for us to celebrate and recognize the contributions and achievements made by AAPI Americans to this country's history and culture.  

This week, we share your answers to our question via Instagram, “What artist in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community inspires you?” Below, are some of your artists/creators that have made an influence on American arts and culture, with work we found to compliment. 



Lyrics Born - Rapper/Singer/Producer

"Calling Out" - Music Video


Li-Young Lee - Poet

This Room and Everything in It


Lie still now

while I prepare for my future,

certain hard days ahead,

when I’ll need what I know so clearly this moment.

I am making use

of the one thing I learned

of all the things my father tried to teach me:

the art of memory.

I am letting this room

and everything in it

stand for my ideas about love

and its difficulties.

I’ll let your love-cries,

those spacious notes

of a moment ago,

stand for distance.

Your scent,

that scent

of spice and a wound,

I’ll let stand for mystery.

Your sunken belly

is the daily cup

of milk I drank

as a boy before morning prayer.

The sun on the face

of the wall

is God, the face

I can’t see, my soul,

and so on, each thing

standing for a separate idea,

and those ideas forming the constellation

of my greater idea.

And one day, when I need

to tell myself something intelligent

about love,

I’ll close my eyes

and recall this room and everything in it:

My body is estrangement.

This desire, perfection.

Your closed eyes my extinction.

Now I’ve forgotten my

idea. The book

on the windowsill, riffled by wind . . .

the even-numbered pages are

the past, the odd-

numbered pages, the future.

The sun is

God, your body is milk . . .

useless, useless . . .

your cries are song, my body’s not me . . .

no good . . . my idea

has evaporated . . . your hair is time, your thighs are song . . .

it had something to do

with death . . . it had something

to do with love.




Jimmy Chin - Photographer/ filmmaker/ professional climber/ skier


Michelle ZaunerMusician/Author


Ocean Vuong - Poet/Novelist

Essay on Craft

Because the butterfly’s yellow wing

flickering in black mud

was a word

stranded by its language.

Because no one else

was coming — & I ran

out of reasons.

So I gathered fistfuls

of  ash, dark as ink,

hammered them

into marrow, into

a skull thick

enough to keep

the gentle curse

of  dreams. Yes, I aimed

for mercy — 

but came only close

as building a cage

around the heart. Shutters

over the eyes. Yes,

I gave it hands

despite knowing

that to stretch that clay slab

into five blades of light,

I would go

too far. Because I, too,

needed a place

to hold me. So I dipped

my fingers back

into the fire, pried open

the lower face

until the wound widened

into a throat,

until every leaf shook silver

with that god

-awful scream

& I was done.

& it was human.

Learn more about AAPI Heritage Month here: