asienne was fortunate enough to speak with one of the main panelists that is Miami Heat dancer. Lue-Choy talked about her own experiences as someone with a mixed ethnic background, her message to mixed race kids and what her message is when it comes to mental health awareness in (and out of) the intersections of her racial identities.
Here’s what we chatted about:
A: How did Born This Way Foundation find you and what do you hope to accomplish with them?
BLC: Well, Miami Heat’s actually partnering with Born This Way.
I’m a Heat dancer but I also do speaking engagements with them about what I’m really passionate about: empowerment, empathy and being kind. That’s some of the main focuses of what I do. It kind of just fit hand in hand. They knew I was interested in this so they asked me to come out and be a part of this and I’m so grateful to even be here.
A: Can you speak a little bit more about your Asian background? Is it one-half? One-third? Is that right?
BLC: I’m actually one-fourth. (laughs)
My mom is Jamaican and her father is full Chinese. So my mom is half [Jamaican] and half [Chinese] and my father is African-American.
We are really, really deeply-rooted in our roots if that’s a thing to say. We actually traced our ancestry the last time I went to China. We found out that we belong to a village that was the founder of the first tea…
A: …green tea! (laughs)
BLC: Green tea! (laughs)…so, it was really cool. We got to meet some family members that we’ve never seen before. It’s just really an eye-opening experience. Because you know, you don’t really get to connect with different sides of your family especially because [China]’s so far away.
It was really awesome to tap into that part of our culture.
A: What is your message for other mixed race kids in terms of specific mental health issues they may face?
BLC: I think the hardest races to talk about mental health awareness are Asians and African-Americans.
In most households, they’re very stern and they have a cookie-cutter––where you can only talk about these [certain] issues: you’re going to go to school, you’re going to get a job, you’re going to do what you’re supposed to do and then you’re going to marry and that’s it.
So, I think opening the conversation and being transparent with your kids, to start off…because I feel like our parents are conditioned to just have the same routine: get a job, get married, have kids and that’s it.
They don’t really want to deal with those issues that you have growing up especially in this generation. So, it’s just about starting that conversation and breaking those barriers with your children and making them more comfortable because we are all different.
We all have things about us that make us special and unique, but there’s also our quirks to us that we need to talk about and discuss to move forward and grow as human beings.
A: You also touched on a lot of common subjects with Monique. You talked about how life is much simpler where you’ve traveled. Can you give a specific example of something that was a “cultural thing” in comparison to an “American thing” that would translate into what you said?
BLC: I’ve been to a couple of different places but one place that stands out to me in my mind is China. So, I went to four different cities in China.
And here we’re so spoiled. We take so many things for granted. Over there, they literally live in a room…there’s a family of five and they make it work. They don’t complain and they’re happy…a functional family.
I feel that here, we take things for granted. We have all this room. We have all these restaurants and space on the road…Just, you know, it just really changed my view of reality and how fortunate we are to be where we are.
Their mindsets and their values are just so different.
They’re just grateful to be alive. They’re grateful to have their families, grateful that they have jobs and transportation…
I think we need to really realign our purpose to make sense of things.
A: [On the panel earlier,] you talked about juggling other jobs. What are those other jobs that you mentioned?
BLC: [Besides being] a dancer, I also do freelance editing because I got my degree in–
A: Oh my gosh! That’s right! Communications! (laughs)
BLC: (laughs) Yes! Broadcasting Journalism. So I do freelance editing for people’s YouTubes and their websites and things of that nature.
I also work at a church as a media director and I’m also a dance teacher.
A: Wow. How do you balance all of that and give yourself grace?
BLC: I think it’s just about how I enjoy all of those things very much where it doesn’t really feel like I have to force myself to balance. The balance comes together naturally.
You have to make sure that you’re passionate about what you’re doing and I think in all of those things, I genuinely enjoy every single thing.
I love sitting in front of a computer and making sure that a piece of work comes out the way that I want it to. I love working with kids and teaching them. I love traveling and helping other people and I love dancing. Period. So, I think it’s really about finding things that you’re passionate about and you enjoy and it’ll work itself out.
For asienne’s interview with Born This Way Foundation’s Executive Director Maya Smith click HERE!
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