POC In Punk: Meet Lily Pearl Yang

Interview questions by Yara Al-badri

For you personally, what have you experienced as a POC in the music scene (either good or bad). What’s your perspective on POC in the scene?

As an Asian American in the music industry, I thankfully haven’t had a bad experience with race in the industry. I will say that issues with gender roles is something I did experience and see. I was almost always the only female on a tour. It was something I didn’t realize was an issue till I left the touring side of things. Gender should not depict someone's ability to do their job. I was usually picked because I was a hard worker, but I was always submissive at the time, I was quiet and I didn’t stand up for what I needed. The times that I did stand up for myself I was met with adversity. I didn’t have an awful experience and I’m thankful for everything that I did, because it taught me lessons that would only help me grow later in life.

As cheesy of a question, what inspired you to work in the music industry and what do you hope to achieve?

When I picked up a camera, I didn’t have the desire to work in any specific industry. I just wanted to take photos. When I got the chance to tour, and really start to experience a side of life I never thought I would be able to, things started to change. I learned a lot about myself and the stories that I had the ability to tell. My intention for each tour was to create a story, not only for the band but the people who might not have been able to be there. What inspired me to keep going in the industry was the ability to capture the unseen and create an experience for everyone.

Growing up, did you feel like there was a good amount of representation for you? If you had someone who you looked up to, who is this person?

I grew up in Ohio, when I moved to Chicago I saw culture for the first time in such a beautiful way. I discovered my roots and began to plant them. Growing up it wasn’t anyones fault that asian and queer folk were underreppresented. It had a lot to do with the environment and that wasn’t something I or anybody else could control. I believe that we are working towards representation of all queer and poc folk. During the time that I was growing up in the 2000’s that just wasn’t something that was common. I don’t blame anyone or my environment for that.

What are some ways non-POC allies can support POC?

Some ways that poc folk can show up for each other is by just sharing! Sharing in any way that you can. Whether it be boosting others through social media or sharing each other's work on our platforms. Organizing different online events with different folks or group classes where multiple photographers can not only learn from each other, but also teach other people. The goal at the end of the day should be to support everyone, in the work that we do and show up for each other as well.