Droga5 supports the Asian American Federation in deconstructing the “where are you really from?” dilemma

The advertising agency has created a visual campaign in response to the crisis of anti-Asian hate crime by mimicking vintage travel posters.

25 November 2021


If you’re from a minority ethnic background, you’ll have been asked where you’re “really from” a good few times now, as if naming the country you were born in isn’t a valid enough answer. Following the steep rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, particularly after the Covid-19 pandemic, the Asian American Federation (AAF) and Droga5 have partnered with ten Asian and Asian-American artists and storytellers to spotlight hopeful stories surrounding ideas of “belonging” through the experiences of the selected Asian-American creatives.

For its Hope Against Hate initiative, the AAF wanted to raise money in support of its community programmes – which includes safety and training programmes in New York City – by addressing that eye-rolling question. In the form of travel posters, the AAF shows where Asian Americans are “really” from. At first glance, they appear to be posters for far-away, “exotic” destinations in a vintage style. But at a closer look, they reveal themselves as posters for New York City, Houston, Seattle, St. Louis, and San Diego.

Including more high profile members of the Asian-American community like Kevin Kwan, Apolo Ohno and Eva Chen, and victims of anti-Asian hate such as Noel Quintana, the I’m Really From campaign aims to tackle the xenophobic undertones of asking a question like, “where are you really from?”, with a creative and design team led by Droga5’s Karen Land Short, executive creative director, Albie Eloy, associate design director, and Nod Arceo McFall, art director, alongside production company Second Child. The campaign aims to celebrate the complex relationships each storyteller has with the place they call home. These stories then acted as the inspiration for ten well-known Asian and Asian-American artists to create a collection of travel posters that feature the cities and neighbourhoods the storytellers hail from. The illustrators are Bianca Austria, Jun Cen, Dani Choi, Sophie Diao, Lisk Feng, Kezia Gabriella, Debroah Lee, Lydia Ortiz, Gica Tam, and Jiaqi Wang.

The posters are exclusively available through a donation to Hope Against Hate, and the stories will run throughout social media, digital asset creations, and virtual and live events where the AAF hopes to inspire the community and its allies with stories of belonging. The AAF is encouraging people to learn more about the current anti-Asian crisis, how to fight back, and to share their own stories on the I’m Really From page here.


Droga5: Suki Terada Ports (Copyright © Asian American Federation, 2021)


Droga5: Noel Quintana (Copyright © Asian American Federation, 2021)


Droga5: Kevin Kwan (Copyright © Asian American Federation, 2021)


Droga5: Apolo Onho (Copyright © Asian American Federation, 2021)

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Droga5: I’m Really From (Copyright © Asian American Federation, 2021)

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About the Author

Dalia Al-Dujaili

Dalia is a freelance writer, producer and editor based in London. She’s currently the digital editor of Azeema, and the editor-in-chief of The Road to Nowhere Magazine. Previously, she was news writer at It’s Nice That, after graduating in English Literature from The University of Edinburgh.

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