The stories of violence against people of color continue to flood the news. This past week saw the killing of Daunte Wright plus continuing violence against Asian Americans. GoFundMe is the latest brand to step out in response to the latter, with a new film starring celebrities including actors Ken Jeong and Olivia Munn and journalist Lisa Ling.
Shot in black and white, the film takes place during a nighttime vigil in Los Angeles. It opens on Munn, masked and holding a candle as she recounts the Atlanta spa shootings of one month ago, which took the lives of eight people, including six women of Asian descent. “They were killed because they were Asian,” she says. “But anti-Asian violence is not new. It is part of our collective memory.”
She then joins her candle to another held by Jeong, who continues to reflect on the country’s long history of racism and violence toward the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. He’s followed by others including actors Khalif Boyd, Simu Liu, Akemi Look and Winston Duke, activists Lacy Lew Nguyen and Diana Barbadillo and actor/writer/producer Vivian Bang.
The film encourages donations to the GoFundMe fund supporting the AAPI community.
"The recent violence against the AAPI community has catalyzed an overwhelming response from those wanting to help and make a difference," said GoFundMe CMO Musa Tariq in a statement to Ad Age. That led GoFundMe to create the above fund alongside various communitiy leaders. "The film is a continuation of that work and brings to light the many horrific prejudices experienced by the AAPI community throughout the course of history," Tariq added. "We want people to know that the attacks over the past few months are not new, isolated incidents; they're endemic and part of a systemic pattern of anti-Asian racism."
The film was directed by Vietnamese-American filmmaker Bao Nguyen, whose work includes documentaries “Be Water,” about Bruce Lee, and “Live From New York,” which chronicled the legacy of “Saturday Night Live.” He’s also directed commercial work for Google, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Uber, Samsung and McDonald’s and also worked on the Cannes Lions Titanium and Integrated Grand Prix-winning campaign that helped elect President Barack Obama.
As of April 14, the platform has raised more than $5.5 million for the AAPI Community Fund, which it is donating to organizations who are supporting, uplifting and protecting the AAPI community. In its most recent round of grants, the organization prioritized community-based organizations that have been doing cross-racial and cross-cultural work alongside other communities of color to promote safety and unity across all groups.