When this title popped through my Audible suggested reads, I was intrigued. It is often, if not rare to see a title such as this roll through the normally tame fields of publishing.
However, I was intrigued.
I’ll admit it. I, too, for as well-read and wizened as I can be to some, I held on to that ‘model minority’ mythos that the greater public pushes on the other-colored public. The Asian kids were always smart, always in the right clubs or classes, never doing anything untoward. They were as close to White (read: the ideal) that one could be without ‘being White.’ I did not think there were any people whom were of any permutation of Asian-American whom were in music–in the U.S. anyway. From the first two paragraphs in this book, I knew that Sophia Chang was a chick I had to get to know. I just had to get to know.
Sophia is smart driven, ambitious and unapologetic. At the end of the prologue, she reminds the reader that she is not a sexual fetish, nor the geisha girl ready to be the ideal esthetic to a gracious White conqueror. The dopest quote she says includes the phrase ‘ninja warrior Queen’, and ends with “You kneel before me and kiss the motherfucking ring.”
I knew that I would love it. When brilliant women I know and admire curse? I know I’m in good company.
Sophia Chang is a Korean-Canadian hip-hop aficionado. She is the daughter of Korean immigrants (her mother is one of the most incredible women I have ever had the privilege of hearing. Trust!), and her father is the light of her life. They never tried to make her be what she was not; Sophia even said her parents never tried to make her be a ‘model minority’ either. I breathed a sigh of relief the parents of this dynamic woman were not Tiger Parents.
This book is a love letter to hip-hop! That letter includes the people whom made it what it was from the early 1980’s, her love of the powerful beats, lyrics and how she felt when she first listened to this new, bidding genre with an then boyfriend. She says it this way, ‘my whole body moved!’
Her book pulls no punches. She talks about her love of music, discovery of self, and how she had to confront her own career trajectory. Mainly, how she thought it was okay to be a resource or conduit to support powerful men. How she had to break herself out of feeling content to be unseen. There are revelations in this book that deal with her own growth, sexual autonomy–unabashed in ownership of her sexual self–and even how she maneuvers in all-White spaces! But by far, the coolest thing? She is adopted by the Wu-Tang Clan. The RZA (yes, THEE RZA!) is the godfather to her children! Like Method Man stood up for her when someone tried Sophia, asking, “Where are you from?”
She talks about motherhood, dating and even marriage. If you an ambitious woman trying to make your way in the world, identifying as Black or a person of color read this book! Gift this book to women in your life that are doing things which are unique and unprecedented! Women need to be edified, and ambitious women need that sort of encouragement moreso. If you know who are, with a bomb squad with you, a family that rides with you, there is nothing you can’t do.
The fact this 50+ petite Asian woman, with a Samurai hair cut, Gucci fedora hat and red bottom shoes, is owning her power and sense of self in a male-dominated industry? That reminds me to own every part of me, every part that wants more, works harder, and realizing just like Flame Monroe said, “Can’t no bitch do, what I do.” Thank you, Sophia. Thank you.