7/1/2022

Being African and Vietnamese According to a Former Miss Universe Contestant

Huỳnh Thị Cẩm Tiên is the only African-Vietnamese to compete in a Miss Universe Vietnam Contest. During the competition, some praised her dark skin and mixed appearance, but viewers and judges also told her that she didn’t represent Vietnam because of her mixed-race identity. Despite the racist criticisms about how her skin color cannot represent Vietnam, she remained self confident during the competition and in doing so, found a way to bring Cameroonian culture and Vietnamese cultures together. When Tiên was younger, she would get tone-deaf comments from her friends about her curly hair and melanin skin. While Tiên experienced racism, her mother wanted Tiên to feel confident in her natural features by accepting herself. Her mother taught Tiên to stop seeking validation from others and to live a life that would build and prioritize her happiness. Tiên is currently a fashion designer making clothes so that people who wear her clothes can feel confident about who they are.

7/1/2022

Being African and Vietnamese According to a Former Miss Universe Contestant

Huỳnh Thị Cẩm Tiên is the only African-Vietnamese to compete in a Miss Universe Vietnam Contest. During the competition, some praised her dark skin and mixed appearance, but viewers and judges also told her that she didn’t represent Vietnam because of her mixed-race identity. Despite the racist criticisms about how her skin color cannot represent Vietnam, she remained self confident during the competition and in doing so, found a way to bring Cameroonian culture and Vietnamese cultures together. When Tiên was younger, she would get tone-deaf comments from her friends about her curly hair and melanin skin. While Tiên experienced racism, her mother wanted Tiên to feel confident in her natural features by accepting herself. Her mother taught Tiên to stop seeking validation from others and to live a life that would build and prioritize her happiness. Tiên is currently a fashion designer making clothes so that people who wear her clothes can feel confident about who they are.

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Thai Group, The Barbarian, Inspired by Chicano Culture

Leng the Barbarian is not a gangster, he’s a big brother in a family–one where male members endure 13 seconds of violence to belong, and female members (depending on if they’re “sweet” or “strong”) must dance or drink alcohol. This initiation, Leng explains, is a challenge meant to attract like-minded people: strong, determined, perseverant. This family has house rules, including not doing cocaine and amphetamines, or anything that can “ruin their lives”. They take care of one another like a family does, sharing everything from money and food to jobs and opportunities. In 2017, Leng founded The Barbarian, a group that was aimed to be independent, creative, and loud. As a child growing up in the slums, he had experienced watching fatal overdoses on his way to school, and grew up to become a thief buying drugs. Deeply inspired by Chicano gang culture and style, and listening to Mexican rappers like Lil Rob and Mr Yosie, Leng was drawn to how gentle the culture was from how they dance to iron their clothes. Chicano, a chosen identity for Mexicans who immigrated to Los Angeles, was once a term of derision and then adopted as an expression of defiance towards white assimilation. Not only did Leng integrate Chicano gang style into The Barbarian aesthetic, he built an imported clothing business focused on Chicano streetwear. He wants people to raise children with an open mind, and learn about Chicano culture by wearing it. Leng believes it’s their recognizable style that has made The Barbarians a target for police today.

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Being African and Vietnamese According to a Former Miss Universe Contestant