Writer and performer Kristina Wong has made a career out of fearlessness. She has been a guest commentator for Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. Her writing has appeared in Playgirl magazine. And lately she’s become a social media sensation, with essays on topics, such as the fetishization of Asian women and her Periscope jaunts through Los Angeles’ Koreatown, as she doles out bad dating advice to a voyeuristic audience.
Wong’s versatile outspokenness has taken her around the world, and now it brings her back to Miami, as the Miami Light Project presents her latest one-woman show, The Wong Street Journal. It was inspired by a recent trip she took to northern Uganda, where she volunteered with a micro-loan organization, a journey she undertook in part to break away from the social-media saturated online world she found herself occupying.
“So what does any American do when they are feeling jaded?” Wong asks in her signature self-deprecating style. “They go to Africa because it is so easy to go fix other people’s problems and feel important and useful!”
In The Wong Street Journal she works through the online ennui that caused her to take the trip in the first place, performing on a set she crafted by hand from felt. She engages the audience in a hashtag war, complete with felt hashtags she sends hurling through the air. She uses felt flip charts to demonstrate the economics of NGOs and where your money goes. She also confronts what happened when she found herself wielding the kind of power and privilege that she had always felt oppressed her, after Ugandans referred to her as mzungu, or white.
She was confronted with her “mzungu-ness” throughout her trip, most notably one night when she met a group of musicians at a food stand and teased them not to charge her the mzungu price. They struck up a friendship and invited Wong to their studio to record. That accidental encounter led to her recording her first rap album, with the first single Mzungu Price (which is featured in her show), becoming a hit at Ugandan nightclubs.
“This only could have happened, not because they saw me and thought ‘Oh, this woman can rap!’ but because there was a curiosity around me,” Wong says. “What I witnessed there was what true community looked like.’’
If You Go
What: Kristina Wong in "The Wong Street Journal"
When: 8 p.m., Thursday to Saturday
Where: The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, 404 NW 26th St., Miami
Tickets: $25, $50 VIP, miamilightproject.com or 866.811.4111