JoySauce hopes to break Asian stereotypes in the media
Jonathan Sposato, co-founder and president of GeekWire, started the site to showcase what he likes to call Asian Americans.
SEATTLE — If you think of Asian Americans in entertainment or media, you’ll often find them in stereotypical roles, portrayed as nerdy or hardworking, martial artists or exotic women.
What if you saw more Asians in roles that showed them strong, funny and hip? That’s what JoySauce hopes to accomplish as the first multimedia platform featuring Asian Americans.
Jonathan Sposato, co-founder and president of GeekWirestarted the site to showcase what he likes to call Asian Americans in a different light: in entertainment, lifestyle, food, travel and comedy.
“I’ve always felt like there’s room to have, quite frankly, a happier take on the Asian American experience, that stories can be more uplifting. Stories can be more humorous and irreverent “said Sposato.
You can find a reality TV series about 23-year-old Samantha Tan, a professional race car driver who breaks barriers as an Asian and a woman. There’s a show called “Mixed Six” about mixed-race couples talking about their relationships, and a movie about an Asian actor trying to break into Hollywood.
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Viewers can also see unscripted and scripted streaming shows, licensed movies, comedy specials, and listen to podcasts.
“And when I think about things like anti-Asian hate crimes, of course, we all know they’re born out of a lot of bad things, and some of those bad things have to do with us being perceived as like others or stranger. But if we show the full spectrum of ourselves, not just that we’re successful in the jobs we do or that model minority trope,” Sposato said. “But if we show up clumsy and irreverent and do unusual and unconventional things, and that we’re badass, I think that’s another way of showing off.”
Growing up as a Korean-Chinese American, Sposato hardly saw anyone who looked like him in the media. When he did, it was usually an Asian male chosen as the martial artist.
“When you don’t see yourself reflected in the media, you feel like you’re not important, you don’t exist, you’re invisible, and you have no place at the table,” Sposato said. “You almost lose the sense of your own identity.”
That’s why JoySauce challenges stereotypes of Asian Americans and how they are commonly portrayed.
“What if it’s not about whether you’re female, (you’re) ineffably exotic all the time, or whether you’re male, that you have extraordinary power?” Sposato said. “I think it’s only when we show our fuller spectrum of who we are as Americans that we participate more fully.”
Sposato encourages filmmakers, writers, producers and actors who need a platform for their projects to find a home in JoySauce to continue developing and expanding the platform.