Immigrant Stories That Will Get You In Your Feelings
Or as Heben put it "You cannot think of all the things that could have happened and also be a functional human.”
If you live in the United States, immigration is somewhere in your history.
Netflix / Via
It may have even been the dream of someone in your immediate family. Go give them a hug! We'll wait.
This week on the Another Round podcast, we've collected stories about immigration from some of our favorite past guests.
The joy! The angst! The hustle!
Stacy-Marie Ishmael, Career Magician™️, talked about how moving to Europe from Trinidad when she was 17 prepared her to navigate lots of different cultural situations, especially in the workplace.
Westbury Road Entertainment / Via
“Sometimes you feel like you have to do things that you don't even want to just so other people feel motivated to.”
Jenny Zhang, poet and author extraordinaire, is doing the damn thing— but her reflection on what it's like to have parents who never fully understand you gave us all the feels.
Octopus Books / Via
"If you are someone with a lot of ambition who has done what your parents wanted you to do— which is be really successful and great—it’s suddenly like you're in this world that they can't possibly understand and that's what they wanted for you. But it’s also sad because now it means there's a part of you they'll never understand. Part of them loving me is accepting that they’ve released me to be someone they can’t understand.”
No, YOU'RE crying 😭😭
Then there's tech superstar and inclusiveness champion
Anil Dash who still can't quite believe that he's “the first generation that had enough time to sit there and be like: ‘but what if I told a story’…?”
Netflix / Via
One of the hardest part of having immigrant parents in his opinion?
"How they wait for us...Their expectations around of who we’re going to be. We're thoughtless in trampling their vision because they didn’t realize they were going to have an American kid.”
Of her success, Padma says "It's not the money that's important, it’s the power that comes with it.”
For her, it's all about the ability to "bring in elements of my culture that are important to me."
And in case you live at the bottom of the ocean in a submarine with no wifi,
Lin-Manuel Miranda has been putting immigrants in the spotlight in a big way on Broadway.
Hamilton on Broadway / CBS / Via
The Hamilton star says he's basically been code-switching since birth, starting with his name. "Call me Lin," he said when his kindergarten teachers would butcher his name.
Now he's got a baby of his own to explain his Puerto Rican heritage to! Though so far his son sees no difference between his dad and Katt Williams...
The Pimp Chronicles Pt 1 / Via Salient Media, Hamilton/Joan Marcus
Hannah Giorgis talked about what it was like to grow up in two worlds — both in the Ethiopian culture, which her family wanted to preserve, but also American culture.
She says she's ten thousand percent over being hollered at as a 'young East African girl.'
Aftermath/Interscope Records / Via
Hannah says she's sometimes uncomfortable with how the physical features of East African women are exoticized and fetishized within Black American culture — "Rappers [and others] will name these really specific features as being endemic to all of East Africa. Which A) is false and B) they’re all the features — light skin, loosely curled hair, thin noses…” in other words, valued for their proximity to whiteness.
And speaking of pressure from traditional western beauty standards, can you even *believe* there was a time when
Uzo Aduba thought she shouldn't smile?!?
Shout out to Uzo's fierce Mama who was not here for the haters "Everyone in our family has gap. To close yourself off from that is to close yourself off from who you are."
So to quote the wise Tracy Clayton, "Brown people in America are like one big braid...and each of those strands is its own experience..."
"BUT at the end of the day you come together and you make this big-ass Beyoncé styled braid that has a mind of its own."
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