Martial arts icon Bruce Lee has long had a legion of devotees, but a new generation has embraced him in recent years, buoyed by projects such as the recent ESPN film Be Water , and the Cinemax series Warrior , based on a concept of Lee’s and executive produced by his daughter, Shannon Lee .
As the CEO of The Bruce Lee Family Company , which celebrates Bruce Lee’s life through various media initiatives, and chairperson of the board of directors for the Bruce Lee Foundation , Lee, 51, is dedicated to furthering her father’s work.
“My mission is to share my father’s life and legacy with as many people as I can—through as many means as I can—in support of as much healing and confidence and kindness-building as is possible,” she says. “I’m trying to achieve a sense of support and inspired motivation for humans, especially for people who might not have as much support and inspiration as they could use.”
Among the initiatives of which she’s most proud are a college scholarship program, museum partnerships stretching from Hong Kong to Seattle, and Camp Bruce Lee, a children’s day camp in Los Angeles and Seattle, which had to pause a planned expansion to Philadelphia this past summer while pivoting to virtual sessions. Lee also hosts a popular podcast, “The Bruce Lee Podcast ,” and hasn’t been bashful about protecting her father’s legacy in other ways, such as taking issue with what she believes was a silly and stereotyped portrayal of Bruce Lee in Quentin Tarantino ’s 2019 film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood .
Despite that, she’s actually seen more people adopt her father’s teachings, which she views as a reflection of cultural growth, a shift away from the stigmas that plagued Bruce Lee in his own time.
“There has been the outcry for representation and inclusion in the entertainment industry and society generally, a conversation of which he has always been a part and an advocate,” Lee says. “But also, I think that society is finally starting to catch up to his perspective and point of views on self-work, unity, and taking action. His philosophies are timeless and are becoming more and more relevant as we move forward.”
Lee shared some of her passions and inspirations with Penta .
The perfect meal at home is… made together. Enjoyed with laughter. And lovingly cleaned up by someone else!
A childhood memory I treasure is… waking up in our cabin in Crestline [in the San Bernardino Mountains] with my family and discovering it had snowed in the night and the whole world was blanketed in white... Our house was the place everyone wanted to hang out. All the pets and humans we took in who needed a place to be for awhile. And all the laughter. So much laughter. The ‘I can't breathe’ kind of laughter.
The best book I’ve read in the last year is… Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates , and Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa .
Artists whose work I admire are… Andy Goldsworthy , Nils Udo , and Patrick Dougherty .
A passion of mine that few people know about is… trying to figure out ways to make anything better—more functional, more concise, more tasty, more beautiful, more simple, more healthy, more cozy, whatever is needed. And classical music.
When travel opens up more freely, the first place I’m going is… to see my friends and family. And wherever I feel called.
The thing that gets me up in the morning is… my dog barking. And my dreams.
A person who inspired me to do what I do is… my father. Followed by all the friends I have who are putting themselves out there, attempting to be of service, courageously figuring it out as they go along, and open to change and growth.
The one thing in my kitchen that I can’t live without is… my Japanese automatic hot water dispenser pot, and tea.
The one thing I’m doing more of to help me get through this difficult time is… living one day at a time and letting go of the day before. Also, variety—of activities, chores, self care, nothingness, work, creative projects, books, introspection, phone calls, and video chats. Gotta keep it balanced and interesting so the sameness doesn’t get to you. And then practicing the previous two points!