Riverdale star Charles Melton has this week penned an emotional op-ed about his experiences as a Korean-American...
And it has both shocked and broken the hearts of his fans far and wide.
Scroll on to read what he had to say for yourself...
Now, the thirty-year-old actor, who is known best as Reggie Mantle in Riverdale, has lived the majority of his life with very little acknowledgment towards his Korean heritage.
Born in Juneau, Alaska, to a white American father and Korean mother, Charles admitted to ignoring his Asian background for years by instead trying to identify as a "proud American citizen."
He recalled feeling "shame" when friends would make comments about his house "smelling funny" because of his mother's home-cooked Korean meals.
Though he did admit that the lack of education surrounding Asian history and culture was partly to blame.
"At school, I never learned about my Korean American history – or Asian American history at all. If you never learn about your own history, how can you really exist?"
So, in the wake of the racially-motivated shootings in Atlanta last week, Charles decided to put down his feelings surrounding his Asian identity to paper in an essay for Variety.
And, as stated earlier, fans have been left incredibly moved.
Charles 😭❤️— 𝙰 𝚗 𝚊 𝚑 í ♡ (@cherryplushies) March 20, 2021
Thank you Charles for your story. It must have been very freeing to say what had burdened your heart all these years.— BTS_Mumma (@bts_mumma) March 20, 2021
It took a lot of courage to share his story, one that many AAPI and multiracial people can relate to. Hope it encourages more to speak up with confidence and those on the other side to listen with empathy.— Vince (@VincePai) March 19, 2021
Really proud of him 👏👏👏— Joyce Takako ♿️🤢💜 (@JoyceTakako) March 19, 2021
Thanks for sharing Charles 😭— ᴮᴱJINius prince⁷ 👑💜⟭⟬ (@JJ01263) March 20, 2021
Wow, the opener is already hard to take.— OE 오이 (@opheliasego1000) March 19, 2021
I am so proud of your statement of Korean pride and humility as a human being. I am so moved by your commitment to our community. Thank you, it’s been a hard week.— SalmonRoe (@SalmonRoe11) March 20, 2021
be proud of who you are. always.— Your Name Goes Here (@WhyNot6081) March 20, 2021
It makes me happy to see other biracial people rediscover their heritage and live as a whole, instead of two halves. I congratulate Charles Melton his journey towards his own authenticity and heritage ❤️ https://t.co/Bymt7FcTB0— Jesse Inocalla 🍥 (@jinocalla) March 20, 2021
charles melton appreciating his heritage😻😻😻😻😻😻😻😻— savannah (@savseneviratne) March 21, 2021
"With the continued rise in horrific hate crimes towards my community, I have been in deep introspection by recalling my own experiences, unpacking my past, and trying to understand it all," Charles began.
"Through it, I've realized that I never stood up for my Korean heritage. I've willfully ignored the racism and microaggressions directed towards me and my people. I failed to defend my heritage in fear of retribution."
He went on to describe coming to terms with both sides of his racial identity after being frequently told that he isn't "white" or "Asian enough."
"And I question whether I am enough at all."
He admitted to having "never stood up for his Korean heritage" amid the countless racial attacks against the community over the years...
But announced that, today, that all changes.
"I will no longer remain silent about my lived experience."
"The hate crimes that have swept the country have forced me to realize how important the platform I have is and the responsibility that comes with it."
"Domestic terrorism and hate-driven violence have plagued our nation and continue to do so. What's clear in all of this is the rampant violence against Asian people."
"While I'm still trying to figure out how to merge my past and my present, I know the first step is to acknowledge that the problem exists. I intend to do the work in learning my own place... I want to reconcile my identity and come to terms with who I am, despite the pain."
"This is where I'm at. I am Charles Melton, and I am a proud Korean American."
You can read his full essay here.