Wong Su-Ren (黄淑仁) is a Los Angeles native and mixed-race Chinese-American vocalist at Berklee College of Music.
Her background is comprised of seven different ethnicities: Chinese, French, German, Irish, English, Scandinavian and 1% Korean (“every little bit counts!”). She hones her cultural appreciation through her music, which is primarily jazz and blues influenced (though she aims for a multigenre approach.
Su-Ren is not only multiracial and multilingual; she is multitalented. Her album Synesthetic was ranked #6 on Broadway and vocalist charts, as well as Amazon music. In addition to singing, she swing dances, acts, invents toys (for which she was a finalist on ABC’s The Toy Box).
To Su-Ren, “cultural diversity” does not necessarily refer to the different ethnicities one is, but rather how much of a given culture they have been exposed to or even appreciate. She is very in touch with her Chinese roots despite being a second-generation Asian-American and identifying as “100% American.”
People have had perceptions and expectations as to “what she is” (what her ethnic background is and how she is “supposed” to act); Su-Ren is neither fully Asian or fully white, though she is American, characteristics which she says may comprise an “unidentifiable” figure too difficult to even try and understand. Regardless, however, her American customs are integrated with her cultural appreciation and this, she says, comprises her identity.
Her experiences showcase reasons as to why people should not make assumptions about mixed-race people based on select ethnicities; their identity is not limited to just one or two. The purpose of this podcast is to shed light on what mixed-race people may experience and to raise questions for those who cannot relate to what it is like to feel “unidentifiable.”