Get to know JoySauce, a new platform for the Asian-American experience
AL DÍA recently spoke to founder Jonathan Sposato about the one-of-a-kind online media platform.
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Jonathan Sposato, a tech entrepreneur of Chinese and Korean descent, never truly saw himself represented on screen. Besides the iconic Bruce Lee, there were virtually no other visible Asian-Americans in show business for much of the last two centuries.
Sposato, told AL DIA that up until very recently, he never was able to relate to movie and TV characters on a deeper level. There were no moments of joy, pride, or cultural connection in the media that he and his peers were consuming.
https://t.co/s1p4LGzg7V is a love letter to our community— JoySauce (@joysauce_) April 27, 2022
Allow us to introduce ourselves: we are an Asian American digital media platform amplifying and celebrating our stories and voices to own and (re)define our narrative to the world.
WE'RE LIVE Y'ALL pic.twitter.com/BsUK2rGpBY
Flash forward to 2022, and finally Asian-American actors have broken the glass ceiling, becoming superheroes and the stars of romantic comedies. Yet still, this large and diverse group of Americans remain grossly underrepresented.
“So if you think about it, Asian-Americans make up 8 to 9% of the United States population, but in terms of the number of speaking roles in movies and TV, not even lead roles, just speaking roles, it’s about two and half percent,” Sposato said.
Rather than waiting for Hollywood to give Asian-Americans a seat at the table in the industry, Sposato launched a media platform that will allow this community to sit at their own table.
Sposato is now the founder and CEO of JoySauce, a first-of-its-kind online network made for the American Asian community from American Asians and their allies.
JoySauce already has a dynamic library of engaging content ranging from reality TV series, scripted stories, stand-up comedy specials, documentaries, podcasts, and sharp-witted written editorials.
He was a co-founder of @geekwire... and now looking forward to talking with @jonathansposato about creating @joysauce_, a new media platform that highlights American Asian talent.— Vignesh Ramachandran (@VigneshR) May 23, 2022
Join us TUESDAY at noon ET/9 a.m. PT: https://t.co/cRRRGPokOO pic.twitter.com/tTvoDTZ6Z0
Sposato’s passion for this new platform goes beyond just filling in the diversity gaps. An increase in accurate and multi-dimensional representation of Asian-Americans hopes to lead to a reduction of anti-Asian hate crimes, which have surged over the past two years.
When asked about the relationship between these concepts, Sposato said that it’s not a direct, cause and effect relationship, but he expects that JoySauce will make a positive impact on the safety and well-being of Asian-Americans.
“I believe that hatred and violence against certain groups is due to [these groups] being othered due to some groups viewing them as foreigners and threatening their way of life. Whatever it is, it is because these people are not seen as human. And I do believe absolutely that if there was more nuanced representation, I think you would have less of that hate and violence,” he said.
JoySauce is jam-packed with tons of interesting content, including a one-on-one conversation with the legendary George Takei, and an exclusive look into the first Asian woman to win a major international endurance racing series.
These two segments, entitled American Icons and #TeamTan, are very exciting to Sposato. He grew up watching Takei shine on Star Trek, and told AL DIA that he is blown away by Tan’s talent and spirit as she navigates the male-dominated race car driving industry.
“The interview with George Takei is incredibly thought provoking. He does go into growing up as an American, and how patriotic he was. And then [he talks about] the moment he and his family got interned, and as a young boy, he saw the turmoil that his Americanized parents went through, being told that they weren’t American, even though they were,” Sposato said.
During WWII, about 120,000 Japanese-Americans were forcibly relocated and incarcerated in concentration camps in the western interior of the country.
Tan continues to face gender and race-based discrimination in her career, with people saying to her face that they think she can’t drive, and that women have no place on the racetrack.
“So she’s really pushing against those things. And still, to me, she’s a hero and someone who may not yet be a household name but should be,” Sposato said.
JoySauce viewers can explore a wide variety of content for any mood. To find comic relief, there’s plenty of stand-up comedy specials.
To find emotional connection, there’s Mixed 6, which delves into the meet-cute moments and the difficulties of nurturing an interracial relationship.
In #VeryAsian, prominent Korean-American journalist and philanthropist, Michelle Li, discusses multiple topics of interest to Asian-Americans in bite-sized segments.
“I think an interesting way for us to assert a new form of American Asian identity is to be very bold, and to do it completely unlike ways that other people have, and to do it with joy, positivity, humor, and chutzpah. So that’s what we try to put forth,” Sposato said.
Oh myyy! So excited to be the first guest on "American Icons" premiering on the @joysauce_ Network! FINALLY, a bold, fun, irreverent, smart multimedia platform centered on the "American Asian" experience!— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) May 2, 2022
Watch the interview here https://t.co/FGDvhn2SPN And let's SPREAD THE JOY! pic.twitter.com/TSZkubhYk6
Sposato’s biggest dream for the platform is to be “indelibly associated” with a rebirth of what it means to be both American and Asian. A rebirth that acknowledges past pain, but is very much focused on the optimism and joy of the future.
“If we can make a dent in the universe, we can cause greater bridges to be built, greater sympathy, more love, less hate, and we can see each other as human beings,” said Sposato. “That is the contribution I would like JoySauce to make.”