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Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Black Culture Meets Asian Culture in New Book By Cameroonian Wife, Mom of 3

Africa Yoon, author of The Korean, with her family

Nationwide — What does Black Asian solidarity mean? Africa Yoon, the Cameroonian American author of a memoir entitled The Korean, says it looks like telling stories of when we get along too. Including a story of an A-list Korean American actor showing her memoir support.

It was two days before her book launch and she got a major supporter “I had been working pretty hard and stopped to rest, then mid-day Saturday; I got a notification that Actor and Ambassador Daniel Dae Kim, a member of the White House AAPI Advisory Committee and fellow Hawaiian, mentioned me in a viral post on Instagram. “What he did sent a ripple that helped my book launch in a strong way and it is far more important than he and I. Seeing an Asian icon supporting a Black woman in her efforts to succeed is course-changing. When we ask for our lives to matter you see it’s actually in those moments.”

Yoon felt the gesture was uplifting but important beyond herself; it also meant a great deal to her husband, Byongchan Yoon, and his family. “Saying that a Black life matters means also in our work to feed our families. Using his visibility to help me and it touched mte because I know a young Black or Asian person seeing that comradery will have a shift in perspective.” The Asian American community online also saw the video and Yoon was encouraged by Asian Americans and African Americans together. “It was one of those moments I’ll remember all of my life because I knew it happened to me but was not for me.”

Africa Yoon born Engo, a daughter of a powerful African diplomatic lineage is now a member of a Korean family with roots in South Korea, who raised their children in the mid-west before returning back to Asia. She immersed herself in stories of mixed-race Black and Korean adoptees who she considers to be the most honorable living ancestors of her children; she was a teen during the L.A. uprising.

“Black and Korean people have had their lion’s share of tension and pain. Somehow in the midst of this, I have been warmly welcomed into my husband’s family and him into mine.” Yoon also feels welcomed by Korean American mothers into the community. “I feel that we should tell these stories also, as bridges that bring our communities closer together.”

In The Korean, she tells a story of a Korean elder woman who called her fat one afternoon; then helped her to lose 110lbs. “I am sure with every fiber of my being she was sent to me by God. I am not sure exactly how but she came not only to heal me; there is a larger purpose here. One that brings people that look like us together.” Another example she says, of things happening to her but not for her.

For more details and/or to purchase the book, visit TheKoreanBook.com

Africa has been featured on Today.com and The Korea Times to talk about her story.

For press inquiries or interview requests, contact press@blackyoonicorn.com or 808-638-4125.