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Self Evident: Asian America's Stories

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.



  • Produced, written, and sound designed by James Boo
  • Edited by Julia Shu, with help from Cathy Erway
  • Sound mix by Timothy Lou Ly
  • Fact checked by Tiffany Bui and Harsha Nahata
  • “No Guarantee” written and performed by James Boo, feat. Dorian Love on bass and Chris Erway on trombone, trumpet, and alto saxophone
  • Ska Dream by Jeff Rosenstock; original compositions for “No Time to Skank” and pickitup” licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
  • Music provided courtesy of Asian Man Records:
    • “Still Down for Tomorrow” by the Bruce Lee Band
    • “Signature” and “You Don’t Know” by The Chinkees
    • “Riptide 28” and “Sultan’s Cross” by Let’s Go Bowling
    • “David Duke Is Running For President,” “Pabu Boy,” “Onyonghasayo,” and “Thick Ass Stout” by Skankin’ Pickle
    • “Mutually Parasitic,” “Achilles’ Dub,” and “Stash” by Slow Gherkin
  • Photos of Mike Park courtesy of Mike Park
  • Photo of Jer Hunter courtesy of Rae Mystic
  • Photo of band huddle at Ska Dream Nights by listener Frank Chan
  • Self Evident theme music by Dorian Love
  • Our Executive Producer is Ken Ikeda


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.