Last February, the closest I got to a Black History Month post was my review of Horror Noire on Shudder. This year, I’m aiming a little closer to what I’m writing about on the regular, by focusing on Black and Asian celebrities – as I’ll be writing a short piece on Afro-Korean celebrities at some point in my series on Korean pop and hip hop later on in the year. I stan talent first and foremost, but it has been incredibly convenient that I already had this list loosely sketched out in my mind with these incredibly talented celebrities.
Yoon Mi Rae/Tasha
Notable For: being a pioneer in Korean hip-hop alongside her husband Tiger JK and her solo work as a rapper
Why I Like Them: Yoon Mi Rae is a legend.
You cannot talk about Korean hip-hop without talking about her. She’s the most well-known female rapper in Korean hip-hop as far as I can gather and she’s iconic and inspirational to upcoming rappers in the country. I knew of Yoon Mi Rae because it’s impossible to be interested in East Asian hip hop and not come across her work, but it’s only been across my big project that I’ve found myself immersing myself in her entire of work. And y’all… I don’t regret a moment of it.
Bonus for y’all: If you’re watching Crash Landing On You, a drama revolving around a young woman who’s dropped into North Korea, Yoon Mi Rae’s on the soundtrack with “Flower”.
Han Hyun Min
Notable For: his modeling career, his time hosting M Countdown with Lee Daw-hwi, and Hip Hop King, Nassna Street
Why I Like Them: I think I first saw a news story about Han Hyun-min back when he was getting started in his modeling career and news outlets were reporting the strife he’s faced for being visibly Black in the Korean fashion industry.
I am the least fashionable person out there, but I really love learning about modeling and seeing who’s on the catwalk so I filed his name away for me to remember for the future. Which was smart because I think Han Hyun Min is a talent to watch.
He’s incredibly expressive and I think that what I’ve seen of him on Hip Hop King, Nassna Street – because the series doesn’t have English subtitles any of the places I usually watch dramas – bodes well for his future acting career.
Notable For: her music career as a pop and R&B diva as well as her performances in musicals
Why I Like Them: I’ve been a diehard Crystal Kay fan since I was a teenager well over a decade ago. I was introduced to her via m-flo and I just… kept up with her since.
Out of the artists/celebrities on this little list, Crystal Kay is one of two who’ve been a solid constant in my life. She did a cover of “Over The Rainbow” that pretty much ruined me for other covers of the song. It’s been, again, well over a decade. Her voice is so beautiful. Honestly. I need her to be in something new that I can stream endlessly like yesterday.
Notable For: her voice (and you know, her overarching music career) and her book blog
Why I Like Them: Amerie’s “1 Thing” was one of my favorite songs when I was a high schooler. I think I still have the first copy of the music video that I’d downloaded really on in my “Downloading Music Videos From YouTube” career somewhere on one of my old external hard drives.
Like I am so intensely fond of Amerie because I think… she’s definitely another constant in my fave files. Also like… did y’all know she has a youtube channel that’s where she puts her music, of course, but is also part BookTube hub and part Beauty Vlogger Central? Because she does and that’s amazing.
being her… just kidding, her incredibly soulful voice, and winning the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance in 2019 for her song “Best Part” (with Daniel Cesar) and Best R&B Album for her self-titled CD
Why I Like Them: I don’t smoke, but if I got high like ever, I’d want to do it while listening to her voice.
I’m pretty sure that H.E.R. is younger than me, but when I listen to her sing, my brain’s like “oh shit she sounds so classic”. Her voice is… stunning and her lyrics are always on point. She is relatable as hell and I cannot get enough of her work.
Can I get a full length concert streamed somewhere? Like Beychella but like… maybe not Coachella-related as I’m not that event’s biggest fan….
Notable For: his Tiny Desk Concert, winning the Grammy for Best R&B Performance in 2020 for “Come Home” (feat. Andre 3000), his gorgeous smile
Why I Like Them: Anderson Paak appeals to the part of my brain that can’t get enough of rappers who walk a line between hipster nerd and attempted hardass.
Like he’s got some hits my sister would love (and probably already does) like “Bubblin'” and then I literally cannot get enough of “Make It Better” where he’s just a soft blipster – Black hipster, someone used it to describe Killmonger in Black Panther in my vicinity and I haven’t been the same since – doing his best with his bae. His music is just… so fucking good, y’all. Like the choices he makes with his lyrics and his rhyming schemes and deliver – I’m weak. I want more.
Notable For: being really fucking good at tennis
Why I Like Them: Why yes, I did just embed an entire tennis match in this post.
I am as far from athletic as it comes. That’s why I appreciate the hell out of anyone who’s got the determination and skill to succeed at a sport. One of the things I’ve genuinely loved about tennis is watching a new generation of young Black girls who grew up inspired by the Williams Sisters coming into their own as athletes and holding their own against them.