Cable TV Networks Spotlight AAPI Month Through Curated Programming

Take Out With Lisa Ling

For Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, TV networks are recognizing and celebrating the contributions of the AAPI community in the U.S. by showcasing their stories in special collections throughout the month of May. Cable programmers are deeply committed to using their reach and influence to advocate for a more diverse and inclusive world, and this includes helping to increase representation of the AAPI community on screen, lifting the voices of people of AAPI descent, and condemning racism in all of its forms. 

Below is a small sampling of the programming and on-screen initiatives that are taking place throughout May in honor of AAPI Month, but the cable industry continues its work every day of the year to create inclusive television that represents the wide range of races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, genders, and perspectives found across America.

AMC+ launched "Asian Americans Amplified," a curated collection of original series, specials, and films across the company's portfolio highlighting the perspectives of the AAPI community. These works include "Killing Eve," (for which Sandra Oh, who played the titular character, made history when she became the first woman of Asian descent to win multiple Golden Globes), "True Terror with George Takei," films, indies and documentaries. 

Comcast NBCUniversal is highlighting the diversity of AAPI communities through its "AAPI Amplified: Stronger Together" campaign, through TV spots and social media messaging featuring prominent AAPI individuals, including Randall Park and Erin Lin Rhodes. NBC Asian American is also publishing a multimedia project called AAPI Action, which highlights 100 of the solutions developed over the past two years to fight anti-Asian hate. 

Paramount+ released its new Watch Us Rise -- Celebrate AAPI Month collection of movies and shows that spotlight the AAPI community. The collection features performances from notable people of AAPI descent, including Yerin Ha, Aasif Mandvi, Isa Briones, George Takei, and Lucy Liu. Paramount+ also made a charitable contribution to and partnered with Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, an organization that advocates for advancing representation for creators and executives of AAPI heritage. 

Disney+ also built a collection of favorite films and shows honoring AAPI stories and talent that reflect on AAPI culture and experiences. Titles include film favorites like "Moana," "Up," and "Lilo & Stitch," and shows like "Amphibia" and "Mira, Royal Detective," which have broken the mold in their portrayals of the AAPI community. "Amphibia" is an animated series that follows the adventures of a Thai-American girl, and "Mira, Royal Detective," is an animated show inspired by South Asian culture. "To be a part of a company [like Disney] that is willing to show diverse cultures, diverse people, showing what's really great about this country and the fact that we're all so different. That's what makes it amazing," said Brenda Song, the voice behind the lead character in "Amphibia," at the Television Critics Association earlier this year. 

HBO Max's AAPI collection includes originals like "Tokyo Vice," "Take Out With Lisa Ling," and "House of Ho," and movies such as "Crazy Rich Asians," "In the Mood for Love," and Warner Bros. streaming exclusive, "Moonshot." HBO Max also launched the Ani-May initiative, which celebrates iconic moments in the anime genre, fashion from Asian animation, and TV episodes influenced by anime, such as Cartoon Network's "Adventure Time." And earlier this month, HBO Max hosted the sixth Asian Pacific American Visionaries Short Film Competition that showcased the work of emerging filmmakers of AAPI descent.