Revolutionary political & cultural connections between African American & Asian Americans. Edited by Bill Mullen and Fred Ho.
Afro-Asia was the brainchild of my dear friend, the late, great Fred Ho. Fred was a pioneer in jazz improvisation, and a leading baritone saxophone player and composer of our time. His life was cut short by cancer in 2013. Fred called me one day and said we needed to put together a book of writers, intellectuals and poets steeped in the tradition he loved: the tradition of Afro-Asian music, culture, and revolutionary practice. I miss Fred and the sound of his horn. His life lives on in this book.
With contributions from activists, artists, and scholars, Afro Asia is a groundbreaking collection of writing on the historical alliances, cultural connections, and shared political strategies linking African Americans and Asian Americans. Bringing together autobiography, poetry, scholarly criticism, and other genres, this volume represents an activist vanguard in the cultural struggle against oppression.
Afro Asia opens with analyses of historical connections between people of African and of Asian descent. An account of nineteenth-century Chinese laborers who fought against slavery and colonialism in Cuba appears alongside an exploration of African Americans’ reactions to and experiences of the Korean “conflict.” Contributors examine the fertile period of Afro-Asian exchange that began around the time of the 1955 Bandung Conference, the first meeting of leaders from Asian and African nations in the postcolonial era. One assesses the relationship of two important 1960s Asian American activists to Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. Mao Ze Dong’s 1963 and 1968 statements in support of black liberation are juxtaposed with an overview of the influence of Maoism on African American leftists.
Turning to the arts, Ishmael Reed provides a brief account of how he met and helped several Asian American writers. A Vietnamese American spoken-word artist describes the impact of black hip-hop culture on working-class urban Asian American youth. Fred Ho interviews Bill Cole, an African American jazz musician who plays Asian double-reed instruments. This pioneering collection closes with an array of creative writing, including poetry, memoir, and a dialogue about identity and friendship that two writers, one Japanese American and the other African American, have performed around the United States.
Contributors: Betsy Esch, Diane C. Fujino, royal hartigan, Kim Hewitt, Cheryl Higashida, Fred Ho, Everett Hoagland, Robin D. G. Kelley, Bill V. Mullen, David Mura, Ishle Park, Alexs Pate, Thien-bao Thuc Phi, Ishmael Reed, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Maya Almachar Santos, JoYin C. Shih, Ron Wheeler, Daniel Widener, Lisa Yun
“This site takes its impetus, its hope, from those pushing back collectively against all varieties of exploitation and oppression. It is motivated especially by exceptional struggles around the world to which its creator has been a part: anti-capitalist fights for socialism; the struggle for a Free Palestine and BDS; anti-racism; the fight against creeping fascism.”