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Ocean Vuong calls out newspaper for misidentifying him with photo of different Asian man

via Louisiana Channel

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    Acclaimed Vietnamese American poet Ocean Vuong has called out an Italian newspaper after it printed a picture of a different Asian man while celebrating the writer’s second poetry collection translated into Italian.

    Vuong, 34, shared the “awkward” moment in an Instagram post over the weekend. The post contains a picture of a printed La Stampa newspaper celebrating the Italian translation of Vuong’s second poetry collection, “Time Is a Mother.” 


    View this post on Instagram


    A post shared by ocean vuong (@ocean_vuong)

    Vuong wrote in the post’s caption:

    While I’m deeply touched that the Italian translation of Time Is A Mother got such wonderful coverage at La Stampa, it appears this poor Asian man on the cover has been forced to be the embodiment of heavily-enjambed poems on modern sadness and ontological degradation. No light burden I’m sure. If you see him out there, please send him my sincerest apologies. #WeDontAllLookTheSame

    In the post, Vuong tagged the Instagram handle @gius.seppe_leo, which has since been deleted as of this writing.

    “Time Is a Mother” was released following Vuong’s award-winning 2019 novel “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous.”

    The latest collection, which is divided into four sections, addresses the writer’s grief after the death of his mother, Hông, who also went by the name Rose, from cancer.

    The man in the picture was eventually identified in the Instagram post’s comment section as Bao Vuong, a Vietnamese artist who recently held an art exhibit titled “Horizon” in France.

    Born in Vietnam in the ‘70s, Bao Vuong’s family was forced to flee the country and found asylum in France when the artist was barely a year old, according to his biography. He now currently works and lives between France, Belgium and Vietnam.

    Several Instagram users shared their thoughts on the matter in the comment section, with some calling out La Stampa, one of Italy’s oldest and well-known newspapers, and others expressing dismay.

    Do they not have google in Italy?” one user commented, while another wrote, “LOL they googled ‘ocean + Vuong.’”

    I’m deeply sorry for Italian Journalism,” another Instagram user commented. “We have to deal with their racist bullsh*t everyday. It’s really frustrating and makes me ashamed of studying publishing and Journalism. They don’t teach us absolutely ANYTHING. Sincerely. My apologies.”

    Singer Jihae Kim shared a similar experience, writing, “Amused or bemused at fake news? I’m a K-pop singer turned actress according to some publications.”


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