Daniel Dae Kim on ‘Asian-Americans’: Ugly History, Relevant AgainBreaking News
tags: documentary, television, Asian American History
In late March, the actor Daniel Dae Kim posted a video on Instagram revealing that he had tested positive for Covid-19. Back then Kim, best known for memorable roles on “Lost” and “Hawaii Five-0,” was one of the early well-known carriers of the coronavirus, having potentially contracted it while filming his NBC medical drama “New Amsterdam” in New York City. He documented his recovery process online while most Americans were just beginning to comprehend the impact of the pandemic.
Since then, Kim has felt close to normal, despite some lingering effects — the occasional disappearance of his senses of smell and taste, some issues with focus. He has continued to be active in the fight against the virus and its fallout, donating his plasma, raising money for health care professionals and condemning the anti-Asian xenophobia and attacks that have been on the rise in the age of the coronavirus.
“I don’t necessarily see my activity as a responsibility,” Kim said in an interview. “My only goal was to be informative and helpful for those who were fearful or had no reference point.”
Kim, though, was largely uninterested in talking about himself during a recent Zoom call. Instead, he wanted to discuss “Asian-Americans,” the new documentary series he narrates with the actress Tamlyn Tomita. Premiering Monday on PBS, the five-part special is the most ambitious documentary project ever to chronicle the history of the Asian-American community. It is arriving with an unanticipated relevance, amid the surge of racism toward Asian-Americans during the pandemic.
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