Feb 22, 2022
Amidst the ongoing crush of anti-Asian violence in America, Producer James turns to a personal source of restoration: ska music (yes, that ska music).
When he was a teenager, the do-it-yourself ska scene — and an indie record label called Asian Man — taught him to take racism seriously, embrace the road less traveled, and never wait for anyone else’s approval to be himself. But as James starts connecting with all of the Asian American ska fans he’s met over the past few years, he also starts to question how much his own memories are wrapped in a black-and-white-checkered blanket of nostalgia.
Eventually, these connections all lead to Mike Park, Korean American founder and still-only-employee of Asian Man Records — and Jer Hunter, a younger Black and queer musician who’s carrying the torch for ska music as a home for anti-racist activism.
And the more these conversations peel away the layers of nostalgia surrounding ska, the more James believes that this oft-misunderstood subculture has something real to offer in a world that can feel like it’s crumbling beneath our feet.
Self Evident is a Studio To Be production. Our show is made with support from PRX and the Google Podcasts creator program — and our listener community.