American Dream ISH

American Dream ISH

Photo: Classen Rafael/EyeEm via Getty Images

In this episode of Adult ISH, “Black Panther” actor Bambadjan Bamba talks with co-host Nyge Turner about coming out as a DREAMer. Folk singer-songwriter J.S. Ondara illustrates his journey from Kenya through his “American Dream” album. Then co-host Merk Nguyen asks her immigrant parents about their dreams and how they’ve changed over the last three decades.

Momma I Made It: Actor Bambadjan Bamba

“My dad rushed up to a 7/11 and [finally] got some flowers.”
(Courtesy of Bambadjan Bamba)

Actor Bambadjan Bamba (“Black Panther,” “The Good Place”) hid a secret about himself from the world: he’s a DREAMer — someone who came to the U.S. as an undocumented youth and whose status is now in limbo. He talks with Nyge about driving yellow cabs in NYC and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals a.k.a. DACA. Bambadjan’s also known for his work with Define American, an organization using storytelling to transcend politics and shift the conversation about immigrants and the American identity.

Folk Singer-Songwriter J.S. Ondara

“Bob Dylan was my gateway drug to folk music.”
(Courtesy of J.S. Ondara)

J.S. Ondara is a singer-songwriter from Nairobi, Kenya who moved to Minneapolis — thanks to the big influence Minnesota-native Bob Dylan had on him. Ondara plays three songs off his newest album, “Tales of America,” and shares the backstory to each track.

Mẹ and Ba’s American Dreams

Merk with her mom and dad, celebrating the Fourth of July.
(Courtesy of Merk Nguyen)

Merk knows her parents have been operating an auto body shop for the past 18 years. What she doesn’t know is what their dreams were before they became parents. In a reflective conversation, Merk asks mom and dad about how they don’t see eye-to-eye on their dreams and whether or not they’ve reached their #goals yet.

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