Hi, Zuko Here! APIA Representation in Media w/ Dante Basco

Greetings, all!

SAO is deep into APIA Month, and last Thursday (4/4) was a BIG day — Firelord, American Dragon, and Leader of the Lost Boys DANTE BASCO graced Swarthmore’s campus in the evening!

Dante and Us

For those who haven’t heard of Dante Basco or don’t know much about him, don’t fret – here’s a little background to catch you up.  Filipino American Dante Basco has had a long career in the arts, doing things from acting/voice acting to dancing to even poetry. He’s most known for voicing Prince Zuko in Avatar: The Last Airbender, Jake Long from American Dragon: Jake Long, and for playing Rufio in the live-action film Hook. He also starred in the Filipino American film The Debut. In addition to playing many roles in films and television shows, Dante started a production company, Kinetic Films, which strives to be a leader and pioneer in Asian American media. As a producer, writer, and actor for Kinetic Films, Dante has starred in multiple films, the most recent being Hang Loose. And on Thursday he came to talk to us about his take on Asian Americans in the media…and maybe tell us what his favorite line as Prince Zuko was.


After a quick video intro (s/o to John Sun!), Dante walked down the aisle of Admissions Commons to start his Q&A. As he gave a us a basic overview of his career and background as a “hip-hop Asian”, he mixed in a few of his poetry pieces. Very cool.

To continue, Dante voiced a lot of his thoughts on his identity and role as an Asian American. He especially distinguished the catch in Hollywood that out of the few ethnic roles that are available for Asian Americans, most continue to adhere to and propagate old Asian stereotypes — something he doesn’t necessarily hate, but is disappointed about. It’s especially frustrating to him because he, as he pointed out in his Q&A, is Asian American, and as such, he’s had many of the same experiences as others who grew up in this country and wants to communicate that through the films he writes and roles that he plays.

Check out this little blurb he wrote back last year.


As for my own thoughts, I was personally surprised by the depth of thought he had put into this topic. As a fan, you never really get to see what else goes on outside the recording room, and I was really glad to have gained insight into Dante’s own experiences. In addition,  I was absolutely blown away by the turnout – Admissions Commons couldn’t even hold everyone! And while I don’t think everyone attended for the Q&A, it was great that everyone could hear this conversation about the APIA community. It’s all about getting the word out there first, right?

And I have to say, what a trooper. After the Q&A, all the fans on campus got in line for autographs, pictures, and the occasional voice recording with Dante. It lasted as long as the event itself, but everyone had a great time. Including Dante! So (if you’re reading this, Dante) on behalf of SAO, thank you so much for coming out and just chilling with us for a while. It was a blast!

Dante and SAO

While you’re here, here’s a few links to visit:

Dante’s Tumblr

Wikipedia Page

And of course, follow us for updates and events as we continue through April and APIA Month! Get pumped 🙂

SAO Facebook

SAO Twitter


Get ready — our next events coming up are the Magical Asian Food Cart (Thursday 4/11) and our APIA Month Concert with Kero One (Friday, 4/12). Hope to see ya there (cause I’ll be there)!


Smell ya later~





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