N’jaila Goes Bananas!

Wanna watch me talking about Asian dicks and porn star health insurance? 

I’m finally back from Banana 2 the event I’ve been talking about for months. I actually got back on Tuesday but thanks to some questionable sushi I was out of commission for a bit. Banana 2 took place in Studio City, Los Angeles and it was only my 2nd time in LA. The first time I spent about 3 hours in LA having Pho with Rick Lee.

I can say with no hyperbole that it was one of the proudest and most amazing experiences of my life. Not only did I get to hear men and women who I’ve respected and admired for years but got to meet and speak with them.

Banana 2 was organized by Lac Su , who’s book I Love Yous Are for White People
really resonated with me , and Steve Nguyen of Channel APA. It involved a who’s who of the Asian American community so impressive I was wondering what the hell my skanky ass was doing there as soon as I arrived.

As I stated in a pervious post I thought that I was going to feel completely out of place. The only Black woman, only self admitted stripper and one of the very few fatties.  I expected some looks and eyes nervously darting away from me but I was pretty much unanimously greeted with kindness and support.

I was nervous as hell just finding a place to sit and eat breakfast I was so relieved when I saw Daddy-Blogger and my fellow niche blog panelist Jason Sperber. I’m assuming he used his uncanny daddy powers to sense that I was about to puke because he stuck by me and found me a seat with him and mystery writer Naomi Hirahara.

Joz of JozJozJoz.com giving opening remarks.

The panels where outstanding, before the break out session there were speakers that were journalists, bloggers, community organizers and those that work in a business capacity for new media. Sadly I didn’t take many pictures I was very engrossed with each panel and what the speakers had to say.  I only took a few seconds out here and there to tweet.

I was happy to hear and meet the woman behind HapaVoice.com , Erica Johnson.  She was on a very difficult panel one that asked the question, who are we as Asian Americans.  I was very happy that a mixed race woman was asked to take part, but I was a little saddened that I was the ONLY Blasian there.

I asked a question at the end of Erica’s panel asking how can people talk to other bloggers about expanding their own definitions of Asian America and how to include people that fit outside of what most people think of when they think “Asian”.  She was kind enough to take some time after her panel to talk to me about the subject and introduced me to the Bill of Rights for People of Mixed Heritage.  I’ve never heard of such a thing but I really wish I had something like that growing up.

The other panel that was very engrossing was one on social activism that was brought together by  the adorable Edward Hong of 8Asians.com.  It addressed a lot of the grievances that I have with activism and new media.

It’s easy to call yourself an activist if all you think you have to do is tweet a link and change the world.  What this panel did was show people how to actively educate and call readers to actually DO something. I hope that I can implement what I learned to make my own call to action post more fruitful.

The event also had an award luncheon, which honored the career of AArisings.com’s Nelson Wong.  Who has profiled and chronicled Asian American achievements in entertainment and the arts for TWENTY YEARS! That’s almost as long as I have been breathing air!

Then of course I have to speak on my panel, which was just filled with fascinating people, Cynthia Brothers of BiCoastalBitchin.com, the first blog to link to mine, moderated and did an excellent job.  The other panalists : Jot Voraphaychith (of live LAOd), Jason Sperber (of Rice Daddies), Marvin Gapultos (Burnt Lumpia) were all so varied but equally interesting.  I must say that I think I was on panel with the hottest dudes.  Jot Voraphaychith is lust certified, all men that can cook are automatically sex.

All of us write about completely different topics, we all were of different professional disciplines yet we call used writing as a way to explore who we were as people, and as Asian Americans.   I was thankfully not the only mixed person on my panel the modorator and the daddy blogger are also.  I was happy that no one stood up and asked us to provide a road map of our Asianness.  All the Hapa, Quapa and beyond were met with grace and brotherhood.

All in all I was so honored to even be invited to this event and met so many talented and focused people. I was so impressed that many of the people that I thought might shun me for being a sex worker, or being big and black ect were not only open to what I had to say but wanted to help me create a platform on which to speak on.

I sincerely hope that at Banana 3 there will be more Blaisian present, and I for one cannot wait!

If you are interested in seeing the panels you can view them HERE!

 

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Author: N'jaila

N'jaila Rhee grew up in north New Jersey and graduated with a degree in Journalism and Communication media from Rutgers University in 2009. Rhee began exotic dancing while attended classes at Rutgers, and still dances at special events. Currently working professionally in media in the NYC metro area, she enjoys writing erotica, eating Nilla wafers and giggling at the word "balls".

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  • Paul_A54

    Sounds like it was a great event, and having watched the video of your panel there is no question about you being there and the contribution you made. It seems like an event that manages celebrate diversity even with a focus on Asian issues.

    I thought you were great on the panel – by the end you looked like you would have been comfortable with another hour. I really liked your outfit too (and I see from YouTube that you had a pink NSFW necklace lol).

  • CBruhs

    Awesome re-cap! And I have to echo Nelson’s comments. You better be at B3, and here’s to a bigger Blasian contingent! 😉

  • Nelson

    N’Jaila, you were the star of the conference in many eyes. I can’t even begin to count how many times I heard people praising you for being one of the most interesting and thought-provoking panelists. I, for one, am certainly glad you were there.

    Oh, and Phil Yu is Angry Asian Man. I think you meant Steve Nguyen from Channel APA. 🙂

    • holy crap you are right I typed the wrong name. How on earth did I manage that fuck up. lol. Thank you for pointing that out.

      I think my panel was awesome because ever person on it was very engaging and had a very interesting and unique perspective. I’m a little ashamed that I was so afraid to go. I’m starting to wonder what other things I’ve missed out on because I didn’t think I was Asian enough, Black enough, or Caribbean enough to go.