“Stop Asian Hate” preaches love and community amid ramped-up anti-Asian violence. Featured: Teddy Yoshikami. (Photo courtesy Perry Yung)

Director: Perry Yung

Starring: Theodora (Teddy) Yoshikami, Ezalea Wong, Sasa Yung, Billy Asai, Ellein Cheng, Jun Suenaga, Perry Yung, Richard Ebihara

Synopsis (IMDb): An Asian senior citizen experiences high anxiety on a New York City subway platform where real and imagined danger lurks at every turn. She discovers community support through a musical journey calling for love and solidarity in the world beyond the subway tracks.

Monique’s review:

Directed by Warrior and A Father’s Son star Perry Yung, Stop Asian Hate features Judo Club (Billy Asai, Jun Suenaga, Yung, Ebihara), a New York City-based Asian American acoustic band, and their song, also titled “Stop Asian Hate.” The short film/music video takes place in the subway, with an elderly Asian woman (Teddy Yoshikami, who spent the first 18 months of her life in internment camps in the 1940s) cautiously waiting on the train. Meanwhile, a young mother (Ellein Cheng) and daughter (Ezalea Wong) are waiting as well; the mother is also nervous while her daughter seemingly has no fear about her surroundings. Another Asian person (Sasa Yung) sits next to them; their hesitance seems tempered by the young family, especially the girl’s enthusiasm.

Ezalea Wong smiles
Ezalea Wong is the beacon of hope in “Stop Asian Hate”

The young girl is probably the most important character out of the people we see at the subway; she alone doesn’t have the same worries as the others. She is given a superpower of sorts–the ability to show the others that a brighter future is ahead. Her kindness towards the eldery woman puts the woman at ease, making her less afraid. Indeed, the song itself is about overcoming fear or, better yet, turning that fear into a rallying cry for justice and love.

Perry Yung uses a megaphone
Perry Yung yells over a megaphone about the need to stop anti-Asian hate. (Photo courtesy: Perry Yung)

While the pandemic might seem “over” to a lot of people, the societal ramifications it left behind aren’t. In fact, the pandemic shown a harsher light on the inequities and racial attitudes that were already there. As Yung says at the end of the film, Asian hate didn’t start with the pandemic, or with any of the actions taken by murderous individuals or the government over the decades; it started when Asians came to America. The longstanding xenophobia baked into American politics only grew stronger with the pandemic, what with it being called a “Chinese virus,” leading to a rise in hate speech and physical violence against Asian Americans.

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It’s a huge message to pack into a 8-minute, 26-second video. But Stop Asian Hate gets the feelings across due to the furtive glances of the folks waiting at the subway, expecting some horror to come around the corner.

Watch Stop Asian Hate at FilmFreeway.

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