Home Entertainment News Discover AAPI Heritage Stories All Month Long
Discover AAPI Heritage Stories All Month Long

Discover AAPI Heritage Stories All Month Long


 PBS SoCal, Southern California’s flagship PBS station, curated a slate celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. PBS SoCal is dedicated to telling diverse stories highlighting Asian American history throughout May with over 20 programs including new specials emphasizing creative cultural activism.

In particular, the documentary SNAPSHOTS OF CONFINEMENT illuminates the hardships and resiliency of Japanese Americans incarcerated by the U.S. government during World War II and how photography served as a tool for resistance. The month’s focus on artists-turned-activists features an in-depth look into the life of “Star Trek” legend, LGBTQ+ advocate, and spokesperson for racial injustice George Takei in TO BE TAKEI as well as the triumphs and tragedies of life behind the lens of acclaimed photographer Corky Lee in PHOTOGRAPHIC JUSTICE: THE CORKY LEE STORY.


Monday, May 13th Chinese American photographer Corky Lee used his art as a “weapon against injustice.” His unforgettable images of Asian American life empowered generations. This film’s intimate portrait reveals the triumphs and tragedies of the man behind the lens.

Rosie Kakuuchi as featured in SNAPSHOTS OF CONFINEMENT. (Image Courtesy of PBS SoCal)

SNAPSHOTS OF CONFINEMENT May 13th at 11:00 pm. During World War II, the US government limited the use of cameras by Japanese Americans in the confinement sites, while simultaneously utilizing photography for propaganda. Despite the ban, families found ways to document their lives, transforming how this history is understood today.

PBS SoCal’s AAPI lineup continues with TO BE TAKEI following actor George Takei from his time growing up in a Japanese American incarceration camp to his groundbreaking role as Sulu on “Star Trek” and finally going on to his rise as a pop culture icon. Over seven decades, the actor and activist now has boldly journeyed to the daily news feeds of five million Facebook fans. Join George and his husband Brad on this star’s playful and profound trek for life, liberty, and love. The 60-minute special debuts on Sat., May 18 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus.

Up until his death at 106, visual artist Tyrus Wong was America’s oldest living Chinese American artist and one of the last remaining artists from the golden age of Disney animation. The 90-minute AMERICAN MASTERS episode “Tyrus Wong” will broadcast on Thurs., May 9 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal.

Additional encore presentations of PBS SoCal’s original Emmy® award-winning arts and culture series ARTBOUND will air in May, which tell the influential stories of Asian American artists who played a pivotal role in shaping both the cultural identity of Southern California and its impact across the country. The month-long broadcast of episodes includes topics ranging from Los Angeles’ burgeoning punk rock scene in the 1970s in “Chinatown Punk Wars” to the cultural influence of both the Asian American pop culture magazine as featured in “Giant Robot: Asian Pop Culture and Beyond” as well as the 58-year history of the longest running ethnic theatre in the United States, as showcased in “East West Players: A Home On Stage.” The 60-minute episodes of ARTBOUND air throughout the month on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus.

PBS SoCal creates a variety of locally-produced programs dedicated to a richer and more inclusive Southern California experience, helping residents understand and connect with diverse communities in documentary series ARTBOUNDBROKEN BREADTHE MIGRANT KITCHEN, and LOST LAAll PBS SoCal programs can be found on the free PBS Video App and are available to stream on the PBS SoCal website where digital resources dedicated to informing and educating the community on topics surrounding Asian American history can also be found.

FIELD TRIP WITH CURTIS STONE: “Hong Kong” – Wed., May 8 at 7 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus– New!

Folding dumplings with a master who has been at it for 40 years, exploring jars of ancient ingredients, and facing up to a martial art legend whose most famous student was Bruce Lee, host Curtis Stone reconciles the balance between the old and the new.

ASIAN AMERICANS: “Breaking Ground” – Wed., May 8 at 8 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus

In an era of exclusion and the U.S. empire, new immigrants arrive from China, India, Japan, the Philippines, and beyond. Barred by anti-Asian laws they become America’s first “undocumented immigrants,” yet they build railroads, dazzle on the silver screen, and take their fight for equality to the U.S. Supreme Court.

ARTBOUND: “Giant Robot: Asian Pop Culture and Beyond” – Wed., May 8 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus

“Giant Robot” created an appetite for Asian and Asian American pop culture, exploring Sawtelle Boulevard as a Japanese American enclave, and ultimately resulted in a lasting legacy of Asian American artists that achieved worldwide recognition. The film features interviews with Margaret ChoTakashi Murakami, and Daniel Wu among others.

THE STORY OF CHINA WITH MICHAEL WOOD: “Ancestors/Silk Roads and China Ships” – Thurs., May 9 at 7 p.m. on PBS SoCal -Explore China’s early history with host Michael Wood as he joins a million people at a festival devoted to ancient gods, hear the tale of China’s bloodthirsty First Emperor and travel the Silk Road to discover the brilliant Tang dynasty.

AMERICAN MASTERS “Tyrus Wong – Thurs., May 9 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal-Until his death at the age of 106, Tyrus Wong was America’s oldest living Chinese American artist and one of the last remaining artists from the golden age of Disney animation. The quiet beauty of his Eastern-influenced paintings had a pioneering impact on American art and popular culture.

PBS ARTS TALK: “Ann Curry with Min Jin Lee” – Thurs., May 9 at 10:30 p.m. on PBS SoCal-Award-winning journalist Ann Curry conducts a deep, frank interview with author and New York State Writers Hall of Fame inductee Min Jin Lee about her book “Pachinko” and beyond.

PHOTOGRAPHIC JUSTICE: THE CORKY LEE STORY – Mon., May 13 at 10 p.m. on PBS SoCal – New!-Using his camera as a “weapon against injustice,” Chinese American photographer Corky Lee’s art is his activism. His unforgettable images of Asian American life empowered generations. This film’s intimate portrait reveals the triumphs and tragedies of the man behind the lens.

ASIAN AMERICANS: “A Question of Loyalty” – Wed., May 15 at 8 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus: An American-born generation straddles their country of birth and their parents’ homelands.

ARTBOUND: “East West Players: A Home On Stage” – Wed., May 15 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus-East West Players theatre company, founded by a group of rebellious Asian American actors in 1965, has been a home for Asian American artists such as George TakeiJohn ChoDaniel Dae KimJames Hong, and many others featured in this documentary. The theatre troupe continues to produce works and educational programs that give voice to the Asian American experience.

THE STORY OF CHINA WITH MICHAEL WOOD: “Golden Age/The Ming” – Thurs., May 16 at 7 p.m. on PBS SoCal-See the stunning achievements of two of China’s most brilliant dynasties: the Song, creators of the Chinese Renaissance, and the Ming, builders of the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.

THE STORY OF CHINA WITH MICHAEL WOOD: “The Last Empire/The Age of Revolution” – Thurs., May 16 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal-Journey back in time to see the splendor of the last Chinese dynasty, the Qing. Witness the fateful First Opium War, which sparked the fall of the empire, and, after the 20th-century revolutions, the birth of today’s China.

TO BE TAKEI – Sat., May 18 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus – New! Together with his husband Brad, actor-activist George Takei parlays his remarkable acting career and wicked sense of humor into a new role as a beloved pop-culture icon and Internet phenomenon.

ASIAN AMERICANS: “Good Americans” – Wed., May 22 at 8 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus– During the Cold War years, Asian Americans were simultaneously heralded as a “Model Minority” and targeted as the perpetual foreigner. It is also a time of bold ambition, as Asian Americans aspire for the first time to national political office and a coming culture quake simmers beneath the surface.

ARTBOUND: “Artists-In-Residence” – Wed., May 22 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus Artists-In-Residence programs provide opportunities to artists like Céline Brunko, Christine Lee, and Carol Zou to have time and space to create new work and engage with different communities and cultures while growing as artists and people. 

FINDING YOUR ROOTS: “Children of Exile” –Tues., May 28 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal Henry Louis Gates, Jr. retraces the ancestral journeys of David Chang and Raúl Esparza, whose families fled their homelands, leading them to find lost parts of themselves along the way.

ASIAN AMERICANS: “Generation Rising” – Wed., May 29 at 7 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus During a time of war and social tumult, a young generation fights for equality in the fields, on campuses, and in the culture, and claims a new identity: Asian Americans. The war’s aftermath brings new immigrants and refugees who expand the population and the definition of Asian America.

ASIAN AMERICANS: “Breaking Through” – Wed., May 29 at 8 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus At the turn of the new millennium, the national conversation turns to immigration, race, and economic disparity. As the U.S. becomes more diverse, yet more divided, a new generation of Asian Americans looks at how the nation moves forward together.

ARTBOUND: “Chinatown Punk Wars” – Wed., May 29 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus In the late 1970s, two Chinese restaurants became the unlikely epicenter of L.A.’s burgeoning punk rock scene. The emerging music form featured fast-paced songs and hard-edged melodies with anti-establishment messaging. As told through interviews with John Doe (X), Alice Bag (The Bags), Keith Morris (Circle Jerks, Black Flag, OFF!), and Martin Wong (Save Music in Chinatown) featuring music from current performers such as The Linda Lindas and more.

FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK – Wed., May 29 at 10 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus The story of a Filipina American garage band that morphed into the ferocious rock group “Fanny.” Hailed as the “female Beatles,” FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK tells the little-known story of the first all-female band signed to a major record label with a multi-album deal. Their five critically acclaimed albums made Fanny a groundbreaking act despite its little-known history in music.

About PBS SoCal
PBS SoCal uses the power of public media for good, strengthening the civic fabric of Southern California
and providing our community with an essential connection to a wider world. As a local, donor/member-
supported non-profit organization, PBS SoCal is available to stream on the PBS app and the PBS Kids
App and reaches nearly 19M viewers across 7 Broadcast channels — including 2 primary channels, PBS
SoCal and PBS SoCal Plus and 5 digital subchannels. With a commitment to make content available
anytime and anywhere for free, PBS SoCal offers programming that reflects the diversity of Southern
California and showcases the full schedule of beloved and trusted PBS content spanning Education,
News, Environment and Arts & Culture. PBS SoCal also sparks the sharing of ideas at in-person cultural
events and community conversations as well as prepares children for kindergarten and beyond by
bringing bilingual, hands-on learning experiences to the community for free.

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