In North America, May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month where we come together to celebrate and honor the contributions and achievements of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) people who have deeply enriched our culture. API includes people with ties to all parts of the continent - from East to West and South to North, and the Pacific Islands. This year, it's more important than ever to come together to support the API community. We're using the month of May to share and recognize the historical experiences of this diverse and complex community.
On TikTok, API creators are embraced for their creativity, authenticity, and cultural pride. This month, we're honoring the API community with #WeAreAPI and #AsianTikTok, to shine a light on their powerful stories and experiences. We'll also be hosting weekly virtual community events, including TikTok LIVE streams, and API creator and small business spotlights, to celebrate the impact API creators have made in the community.
From starting food trends to celebrating family moments, to entertaining and inspiring others, API creators are a big part of TikTok's vibrant and creative community. Every day, they bring API stories and culture to life through engaging, meaningful, and relatable content. We're honored to celebrate them this month and every day of the year.
Inaugural API TikTok Trailblazers
Today we're announcing the inaugural API TikTok Trailblazers list. These individuals were recognized and nominated by the North America API creator community for their passion and dedication to creating content that connects and inspires. Our Trailblazers are using their platform to educate, entertain, and advocate for the API community. From a Korean vegan lawyer to a fire-breathing dancer from Polynesia, these creators are proudly representing their API heritage authentically and creatively every day. Follow them on TikTok and look out for more from these 15 incredible Trailblazers!
- @8illy - Billy is a talented creative with a Cantonese-Chinese background, who uses his unique editing style to create captivating videos and short films. His content does not follow a uniform style, so you could find yourself mesmerized by watching him make a playlist or watching him transported into a cardboard world.
- @bellapoarch - Bella is known for her most watched TikTok video of 2020, M to the B, along with her Face Zoom videos. She was born in the Philippines and is a US Navy Veteran. She is an artist signed to Warner Brother Records and is currently the third most followed TikTok creator in the world.
- @ElenaShinohara - Elena Shinohara is a Japanese rhythmic gymnast on the USA National Team. She produces content on TikTok performing rhythmic gymnastics and showing off her flexibility. With her videos, she aims to inspire and motivate people to do what they love.
- @ImTiffanyYu - At the age of 9, Tiffany Yu became disabled as a result of a car accident that took the life of her father. Today she is a social impact entrepreneur, podcast host, disability advocate, and a three-time TEDx speaker. She’s the CEO & Founder of Diversability and the Founder of the Awesome Foundation Disability Chapter. She also serves on the San Francisco Mayor’s Disability Council. Before focusing her career on being an advocate for people with disabilities, she worked at Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg and Sean Diddy Combs' REVOLT Media & TV.
- @inmyseams - As a proud Korean-American, Janette Ok creates content around style hacks and makeup, but she also speaks on social issues. Growing up with immigrant parents, she has seen and experienced racism and discrimination against Asians firsthand. She focuses on diversity, size inclusivity, breaking stereotypes and shedding light on the beauty of her heritage.
- @krithi.com - Krithi Srinivas and her mother started sharing original dances on TikTok that loosely incorporated classical Indian dance (which her mother teaches professionally at her own dance academy). Though Krithi has never officially taken lessons, she's picked up quite a bit from watching her mother over the years. While dance is what catapulted her into the spotlight, she's equally recognized for her subtle and sarcastic comedic style. She wants to continue creating content while she pursues a degree in graphic design from the Rhode Island School of Design.
- @Maugamu - Mikaele is a five-time World Fireknife Champion, a traditional form of ceremonial Samoan dance. From harvesting taro to explaining Polynesian slang to cooking traditional meals, he loves to share his Polynesian Culture with the world.
- @milan.mathew - Milan Mathew is a Malayali Indian American fashion and beauty content creator and model based in Houston, Texas. She is known to combine her love for fashion and beauty with her South Asian heritage while inspiring others to be unapologetically themselves. She took over the Internet with her cultural version of the Hot Seat Challenge and spiraled a trend among all communities to embrace their cultures through fashion.
- @Myhealthydish - My Nguyen is a first generation immigrant from Vietnam who shares her passion for cooking on TikTok. Her content is full of healthy, delicious recipes that are both entertaining and educational. She’s based in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, twin daughters and two fur babies.
- @onlinekyne - Kyne is a drag queen and mathematics wizard known on TikTok for spreading enthusiasm for education, math, and diversity and inclusion in STEM on TikTok. She was born in Manila and grew up in Ontario, where she graduated from University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Mathematics majoring in mathematical finance.
- @Sulheejessica - Jessica Woo’s food and lifestyle content on TikTok has gone viral, specifically her magical short clips of assembling bento-style lunches. Her love of food inspires many of Jessica’s videos, where she incorporates healthy ethnic dishes styled-up for her 4.5M followers.
- @thekoreanvegan - Joanne Molinaro is a trial lawyer who shares popular plant-based recipes and empowering advice along with stories about growing up as a child of immigrants. Based in Chicago, she is also a long-distance runner and writer. Thanks to her growing popularity on TikTok, Joanne will be releasing a cookbook this fall.
- @Tiffycooks - Tiffy is a first-generation Taiwanese immigrant and food blogger who shares easy, delicious, and quick Asian recipes she learned both growing up in a household of foodies and those she cultivated through her travels across Asia.
- @yayayayoung - Young Yuh, aka the Egg King, is a skincare lover of all things – from chlorophyll masks to pimple patches! He combines entertainment and education to help people either start or improve their skin health.
- @YourKoreanDad - Nick Cho is a specialty coffee small business owner in San Francisco, and is known as "Your Korean Dad" on TikTok. His content touches on food, family, and humor all with a Korean flair.
Starting May 1, #WeAreAPI and #AsianTikTok will be a featured banner on the Discover page, connecting our community to a schedule of TikTok LIVE programming featuring API creators and artists. Each week, we'll host TikTok LIVEs that showcase the pride, diversity and strength of the API community, including "This is Activism," "Styling and Shining," "Kitchen Chronicles," and "History is Happening." Community-favorite TikTok LIVE programs such as #LearnOnTikTok and Sound Off will also honor and feature API creators, celebrating the rich diversity of the API community. Check the Discover page daily for the latest LIVE programming schedule.
In-App Creative Effects
Our design team has also developed new stickers to help creators celebrate and share stories of API culture and community. The creation of the stickers was led by Julia Yellow, a TikTok employee of Taiwanese descent, who was inspired to create stickers that looked beyond identity and celebrated the different dimensions of API cultures. To feature an API Heritage Month sticker, open the Stickers tray after filming and add them on top of your video.
Maintaining strong safety policies in support of the Asian community
With the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes, we remain vigilant and work to identify and remove hateful content if it manifests on our platform. For instance, at the start of the pandemic, we banned "kungflu" and other slurs used against these communities. There's no finish line when it comes to safety, and our Community Guidelines exist to protect the API community and others as we maintain a safe and welcoming experience on our platform. We encourage people to report content they think violates our Community Guidelines.
API Community Support
In honor of API Heritage Month, we're donating $275K to non-profit organizations that fight for racial equality and justice and provide programs and resources to local API communities. These organizations include Asian Mental Health Collective, Hate is a Virus, and more. We're also sponsoring the Third Annual Act to Change AAPI Day Against Bullying + Hate Conference on May 18.
Building on our support for small businesses, we're recognizing and promoting amazing API-owned businesses throughout May. Six of our incredible Trailblazers will partner with an API-owned small business to help raise awareness of the business's impact on the API community on TikTok and beyond. The TikTok community will be able to discover these businesses through #SpotlightAPI, and each of the businesses will participate in a special workshop designed to help them reach customers and thrive on TikTok.