by Eddie Wong.
I had the honor of appearing on a webinar with Tiffany Lytle, a performing artist and scholar, on May 6, 2021. Moderated by UCLA Asian American Studies Professor Kelly Fong, the “Art + Politics: Asian American Activists in the Movement for Social Justice” panel also featured renown singer/choreographer/writer Nobuko Miyamoto and filmmaker Lan Nguyen. I’ll provide a link to the session at the end of this article.
After the panel concluded, I was intrigued by the video clip of Tiffany’s performance work as a dancer and singer and have become an unabashed fan. Tiffany Lytle has a commanding voice; she’s bold and passionate and her goal is to create work about transgenerational memory, cultural identity, and multiraciality in the Cambodian American diaspora.
During the panel discussion, Tiffany spoke about her childhood in San Pedro, CA as a biracial person, whose mother is a Cambodian refugee and whose father came from a family of civil rights activists. “There weren’t many Cambodians in San Pedro… and in high school all the Southeast Asian kids ended up in Mabuhay (the Filipino students club).” She credits to activism to an awakening in the Asian American studies program at UCLA where she developed a sense of outrage against imperialism and systems of oppression.
Ever since she was young, Tiffany studied classical Cambodian dance. She references that experience in “Cambodian Classical Dance: Authenticity, Affect, and Exclusion,” an essay in the anthology California Dreaming: Movement and Place in the Asian American Imaginary (University of Hawaii Press, 2020).
Tiffany Lytle also studied contemporary dance with the multiracial KPA Fusion Dance Repertoire. All of these influences come into play with Tiffany’s 2020 CD “Cambodian Child,” which is available on iTunes, Apple Music, and Spotify. Here’s an overview of CD.
The single from the album is the powerful song “Justice.” Written about the 2018 United Nations declaration that the mass killing of Cambodian and Cham people was an act of genocide, Tiffany’s urgent, rocking chorus reminds us “why doesn’t it feel like justice, i’ve been waiting all my life, now that they’re calling it genocide.”
Tiffany Lytle’s work as a choreographer and singer can also be viewed in this clip from the Refugee Re/Enactments performance at UCLA as part of the Campus as Canvas Arts Initiative in April 2018.
Later this year, Tiffany plans to release footage from her performance work “Qnoum Kaun Khmer/ I AM a Cambodian Child,” which premiered at the Highways Performance Space. Follow her at IG:@TiffanyLytleMusic; Facebook:@TiffanyLytleMusic; and TikTok: @creatiffity to get updates on the release date of those performance clips and other projects. In the midst of all this creative work, Tiffany is a PhD student of Theater Dance and Performance Studies at UC Santa Barbara where she also teaches in the Asian American Studies Department.
Here are links to purchase “Cambodian Child,” –