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very asian

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‘No one is just one thing’: Michelle Li doubles down against racism, launches Very Asian Foundation to amplify AAPI voices

Michelle Li
  • Michelle Li, a news anchor with KSDK in St. Louis, received a call on New Year’s Day from a viewer who complained about her mentioning dumpling soup.
  • The viewer called Li “very Asian,” a phrase that quickly morphed into a movement as politicians, journalists, celebrities, influencers and social media users showed support and shared their own stories.
  • Li appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Wednesday where she received seed funding to start The Very Asian Foundation, an organization that will amplify AAPI voices.

Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected to indicate that the caller who complained about Li for covering a Memorial Day celebration did not reach KSDK, but another station Li had worked with years ago.

Weeks after receiving a racist voicemail that quickly transformed into a solidarity movement, Missouri news anchor Michelle Li launched The Very Asian Foundation, an organization committed to amplifying diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voices.

Toronto bakery declare themselves #veryAsian after customer rejections deemed them not ‘normal’

  • LA LA Bakeshop in Toronto taped a sign to their front door on Tuesday that reads, “Hi there! We are a #VeryAsian bakery,” after customers allegedly walked out of the bakery because it wasn’t a “normal” bakery.
  • The staff posted their sign to their Instagram page on Wednesday in solidarity with the hashtag inspired by recent viewer criticism of news anchor Michelle Li as “being very Asian.”
  • Li created the #VeryAsian hashtag after receiving backlash for sharing she enjoyed dumpling soup for New Year's and was told by a viewer who called in to complain that she should “keep her Asianness to herself.”

LA LA Bakeshop, a Vietnamese bakery in Toronto, is spreading the word that they’re “very Asian” after having people walk out upon realizing they’re not a “normal” bakery. 

Their announcement on Instagram was inspired by the #VeryAsian hashtag started by news anchor Michelle Li.