Creativity brings life an endless array of possibilities. Many of us find solace in fairy tales and fantasy as ways to escape from the confines of the everyday; such worlds can form the basis of new dreamscapes, beginnings, and self-discovery. They can even inspire change and influence our actual lived experiences.
But what if the narratives that dominate these stories in the mainstream do not represent the diversity of the world we live in today? What if in searching for a relatable protagonist, many of us find ourselves sidelined, unseen? The lack of media representation can have a knock-on effect for viewers—particularly younger audiences—and work against their self-esteem. After all, media can shape attitudes toward others and have an impact on how we see ourselves. Despite increased roles for diverse cast members in such works as Shadow and Bone, Shang-Chi, Bridgerton, and others, representation continues to fall behind. A 2021 Bloomberg article reports that more than 90 percent of respondents in the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment survey said representation is inadequate, both onscreen and behind the scenes.
We, the women behind Enchanted Asian Day, wanted to do a small part in filling the void. We were moved by the amazing achievements of Black Fae Day, which showcases magical Black creators and holds a celebratory day inviting submissions for the second Saturday of May every year under the hashtag #BlackFaeDay. Its purpose, in the words of founder Jasmine La Fleur, is “to uplift and include dark-skinned individuals in the realm of fantasy. Black people have imagined themselves larger than life too.” This powerful message resonated with us—and it blossomed into an idea that we could do something for our community as well. This was fueled by our desire to take action after witnessing the rise in anti-East and Southeast Asian attacks around the globe in connection with coronavirus-fueled prejudice. In a way, creativity can be a form of resistance—resisting hate. With Enchanted Asian Day, we created a movement that invites Asian creators to breathe life into their own universes, find power in their own voices, and develop community among each other.
Through this movement, we celebrate those with ancestry from the Asian continent in the world of fantasy, encouraging established and new creators to share their own stories through their art. Enchanted Asian Day is held on the second Saturday of every June. We hope you’ll join us!