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Pinterest Announces New Initiatives to Celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

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Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is being held in May, and Pinterest has announced a range of new events and initiatives to help mark the occassion, and highlight API creators.

First off, Pinterest will feature a range of API creators on the Today tab in the app, which will also include resources for the community and allies in support of #StopAsianHate.

Pinterest is specifically commissioning work from WEAREUPRISERSNadya Okamoto, and Kim Saira, who will each share Story Pins and content to help spark inspiration in the app.

Pinterest will also look to highlight API-owned businesses in its May shopping spotlight, while it’s also hosting Instagram Live sessions with influential voices in the creator community.  

  • Join us on May 21st as Pinterest hosts an Instagram Live session with Interior Designer Noz Nozawa and Fashion photographer Anthony Gomes. Join us @PinterestCreators Instagram to catch the conversation live! 
  • Don’t miss Pinterest’s very own Head of Content and Creator Partnerships Aya Kanai’s IG live on May 14 with Jenny Wang, PhD, Asians for Mental Health

I mean, it seems a little odd that Pinterest is using Instagram Live for this, and not hosting the content in its own app – but then again, Pinterest doesn’t have its own live-streaming option, and Instagram does have more users and reach.

Pinterest doesn’t really see itself as a competitor to Instagram anyway, given the latter’s focus on social networking, and the former’s increasing emergence as an eCommerce platform. But Instagram is making a bigger push into Pinterest’s territory with its own eCommerce tools.

Seems a little strange, but that’s where it is.

Finally, Pinterest says that it will also support a range of API-related foundations and organizations through a two to one employee donation matching program, including Asian Pacific FundHollaback and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.

The Asian community has been subjected to increasing, and unjustified, tension in recent months, with race-based violence on the rise, seemingly linked back to the outbreak of COVID-19. Given this, Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month takes on even more significance this year, and it’s important to see social platforms like Pinterest looking to highlight the API community, as a means to facilitate increased connection and support.

You can read more about Pinterest’s Asian Pacific Islander Heritage month programming here.

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Iran pop singer silenced, but his song remains a protest anthem

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Shervin Hajipour's song "Baraye" draws on the tweets of Iranians longing for a normal life

Shervin Hajipour’s song “Baraye” draws on the tweets of Iranians longing for a normal life – Copyright Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)/AFP –

David Vujanovic

Even though he has been silenced, Iranian pop singer Shirvin Hajipour’s impassioned song in support of protests over Mahsa Amini’s death in custody remains an unofficial anthem of the movement.

The song “Baraye” notched up 40 million views on Instagram before it was deleted when Hajipour was arrested, but he has since been freed on bail and has distanced himself from politics, likely as a condition for his release.

Baraye, the Persian word “For” or “Because”, is composed of tweets about the protests and highlights longings people have for things lacking in sanctions-hit Iran, where many complain of hardship caused by economic mismanagement.

It also draws on everyday activities that have landed people in trouble with the authorities in the Islamic republic.

“For the sake of dancing in the streets; Because of the fear felt while kissing; For my sister, your sister, your sisters,” the song’s lyrics say.

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“Because of the embarrassment of an empty pocket; Because we are longing for a normal life… Because of this polluted air.”

Baraye has been heard played loudly at night from apartment blocks in Iran to show support for protests sparked by Amini’s death on September 16, after the notorious morality police arrested her for allegedly breaching rules requiring women to wear hijab headscarves and modest clothes.

It was also sung with gusto by the Iranian diaspora at rallies in more than 150 cities around the world at the weekend.

In one clip shared by the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran, a group of schoolgirls without headscarves is seen singing Baraye in class with their backs to the camera.

The tune was removed from Hajipour’s Instagram account shortly after his arrest but is still widely available on other social media platforms, including Twitter and YouTube.

– ‘Because of forced Instagram stories’ –

Hajipour’s lawyer Majid Kaveh said he was released on bail at noon on Tuesday.

The reformist Shargh newspaper said his family had been informed of his arrest in the northern city of Sari on Saturday, in a report that cited his sister Kamand Hajipour.

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She had said in an Instagram post that her parents had been informed of his arrest in a call from the city’s intelligence ministry offices.

Shortly after his release, Hajipour was back on Instagram, but this time to apologise and distance himself from politics.

“I’m here to say I’m okay,” he told his 1.9 million followers on the platform.

“But I’m sorry that some particular movements based outside of Iran — which I have had no relations with — made some improper political uses of this song.

“I would not swap this (country) for anywhere else and I will stay for my homeland, my flag, my people, and I will sing.

“I don’t want to be a plaything for those who do not think of me, you or this country,” he added.

In response to his post, many on Twitter suggested the line “Because of forced Instagram stories” should be added to the lyrics of the song.

Human rights groups including Article 19 have repeatedly called on Iran to end its use of forced confessions, which they say are false and extracted under duress or even torture.

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In one recent case, a young Iranian woman, Sepideh Rashno, disappeared after becoming involved in a dispute on a Tehran bus with another woman who accused her of removing her headscarf.

She was held by the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and appeared on television in what activists said was a forced confession before being released on bail in late August.

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