Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: Representation in the Media

Our favorite AAPI movies, TV shows, podcasts, books, and social media influencers

May 1, 2024

May is AAPI Heritage month, which means we will see a surge of Asian American and Pacific Islander movies, TV shows and books being promoted.

Growing up, I remember not seeing many Asians on TV or in the movies. When one does show up, I was so happy! It was always exciting to see some representation in the media and to see someone that looks like me.

Back in the 70s and 80s, Asians were not even cast in lead roles in movies and TV. When they were casted, they had secondary roles as the "smart best friend", the nerd, or the waiter.   So fast forward to today, now there are so many opportunities for Asians in the media. Asians are gaining more lead roles and even their own series/movies. We are seeing many more books, toys, and social media platforms that are created by Asian Americans.

Although I am glad to see that we have a voice in Hollywood now, I think we still have a long ways to go. Whenever May comes around, all things Asian American suddenly pops up in the media, with books, articles, social media and streaming media. It has become the "trend" of the month and the rest of the year it goes back to normal. Although I am glad to see there is a month to acknowledge us, I'm hoping to see more Asian American Pacific Islander content that's more intentional and not just a "trend".

With that said, we've asked some people in our community what are some of their current favorite AAPI movies, TV shows, books, and social influencers (YouTubers, TikTokers, Instagram)! 


Always Be My Maybe (PG-13)

The Breadwinner (PG-13)

Crazy Rich Asians (PG-13)

Easter Sunday  (PG-13)

Everything Everywhere All At Once (R)

The Farewell (PG)

Finding 'Ohana (PG)

The Half of It (PG-13)


Joy Ride (R)

Mighty Little Bheem

Mira, Royal Detective (Y)

Minari (PG-13)

Nam June Paik:Moon is the Oldest TV

Never Have I Ever (PG-13)

Over The Moon (PG)

Polite Society

Raya and the Last Dragon (PG)

Searching (PG-13)

Set It Up (TV-14)

Sitara: Let Girls Dream (PG)

Marvel's Shang Chi (PG-13)

To All The Boys I've Loved Before (PG-13)

To All The Boys P.S. I Still Love You (PG-13)

To All The Boys Always and Forever (PG-13)

A Tourist's Guide to Love

Turning Red (PG)

Umma (PG-13)

Good Enemy - audible theater


Far East Deep South - an award winning documentary that takes you on a journey with the Chiu Family as they search about their lost family history in Mississippi.


American Born Chinese


Bling Empire (MA)

Doogie Kamealoha, MD (PG)

Fresh Off The Boat (PG)

House of Ho (MA)

Kung Fu (TV-14)

Kim's Convenience (TV-14)

Ms. Marvel (TV-14)

Together as One 

The Witcher: Blood Origin (MA)

XO, Kitty (TV-14)


American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Chlorine: A Novel by Jade Song

Hula by Jamin Iolani Hakes

Local: A Memoir by Jessica Machado

Natural Beauty: A Novel by Ling Ling Huang

The Noh Family by Grace K. Shim

The Not-So-Perfect Plan by Christina Matula

Rise: A Pop Up History of Asian American from the Nineties to Now - Jeff Yang, Phil Yu, Philip Wang

Sea Change: A Novel by Gina Chung

Uplifted: Journeys of Abundance, Community, and Identity by Geena Chen, Asian Hustle Network

We Were Dreamers by Simu Liu

Children's Books

A Child's Introduction to Asian American and Pacific Islander History: 
The Heroes, the Stories, and the Cultures that Helped to Build America 
(A Child's Introduction Series)   

All My Rage - Sabaa Tahir

American Born Chinese - Gene Luen Yang

Amina's Voice - Hena Khan

An Asian American A to Z: A Children's Guide to Our History - Cathy Linh Che (Picture Book)

Bitty Bao books

A Different Pond - Bao Phi (Picture Book)

Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho

Finding Junie Kim - Ellen Oh

Flamer - Mike Curato

From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trail That Galvanized the Asian American Movement - Paula Yoo

Front Desk series- Kelly Yang

Geraldine Pu and Her Lunchbox Too! - Maggie Chang

Green Lantern: Legacy - Minh Le

Golden Mountain Chronicles series - Laurence Yep

Hello Universe - Erin Entrada Kelly

Hundred Years of Happiness - Thanhha Lai

I Am American: The Wong Kim Ark Story (Picture Book) - Marcha Brockenbrough

I Am Golden - Eva Chen

I Love BOBA - Katrina Liu

Inside Out & Back Again - Thanhha Lai

Kalei's May Day in Hawaii Nei - Keilani Akoi Clark

Kira-Kira - Cynthia Kadohata

Last Chance - Maisy Chen

Laxmi's Mooch - Shelly Anand

Leila in Saffron - Rukhsanna Guidroz

Lucky Cat by AsianBossGirl

Maizy Chen's Last Chance - Lisa Yee

Monstrous - Sarah Myer

Obie is Man Enough - Schuyler Bailar

Role Models Who Look Like Me - Jasmine Cho

Ruby Lu books and Alvin Ho books by Lenore Look

Saints and Misfits - S.K. Ali

Secret Coders - Gene Yang

Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story - Paula Yoo (Picture Books)

This is Just a Test - Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang

Troublemaker - Jon Cho

Thao: A Picture Book - Thao Lam

We Are Not Free - Traci Chee

What's That? - Karen Chen

When Lola Visits - Michelle Sterling

You Are Here: Connecting Flights - Ellen Oh


Asian Boss Girl - podcast for the modern day Asian American women

Asian Enough - all about being Asian-American

Dear Asian Americans - focus on authentic storytelling rooted in origin, identity, and legacy

Gen Asian - sharing stories from Asian Canadian millennials 

The Infatu Asian Podcast - elevate Asian culture and creators

Love, Discovery & Dim Sum - an enlightening discussion on Asian American perspective on race and culture

The May Lee Show - conversations with those who are making an impact in the Asian American community

Mid Pacific - explores what it means to be Asian American

Outcasts the Podcasts - two girls from Macau

Perfectly Imperfect with Christina and Regina - for those searching for growth and acceptance

REEL Asian Podcast - focuses on Asian and Asian-American films, exploring themes and cultural impact

Self Evident Podcast - telling Asian American stories that impact lives

Shoes Off: A Sexy Asian Podcast - celebrates badass Asians who are making a mark on pop culture and entertainment

They Call Us Bruce - unfiltered conversations about what's happening in Asian America


Felix and Amanda Eats - Foodies Felix and Amanda take you around Hawaii for some good eats

Fong Bros - Two brothers discussing Asian representation

Wong Fu Productions - Dramatic Shorts and Comedy Sketches


One thing I enjoy about learning other cultures is going to events and festivals. There are some great resources to find festivals in SoCal and even in other states. 

Aloha World - resource for Hawaii events on the Mainland

Heleloa - resource for Hawaii events and businesses in Southern California

Japanese City - Japanese Arts, Culture, and Entertainment

Want to learn another language or skill? Youtube and Udemy are some great resources. Here are a few of our favorite links:

Learn Cantonese - Hey Mommio

Have Fun Learning Japanese - Learning Japanese with Sayuri

Learn to Hula - Gloria

Chinese Cooking - Chun Shim

Sing-Along Learning Songs for Children - Be Studios Enhancing Wellness Through Creativity

Know of any other great resources? Email and let us know!

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