In the National Poetry Slam Contest in 2006, Alvin Lau’s “Asia America, Where Have You Gone?” had this to say about fleeting duality in the nature of Asia America.
“There’s got to be a solution to this rubiks cube identity, a dictionary for this shifting terminology. The key that unlocks the mystery why neither Asia nor America will ever feel like home to me. I need to know what cross of stereotype I’m gonna be crucified cuz in this coloring book of skin I need to draw outside these lines.”
Asian Americans are a people who are in perpetual motion, redefining what we stand for and what it means to hold the distinction of this Asian Americanness every single day of our lives. And as the world moves in its breakneck speed with bluetooth and 3g everything, Asian Americans are forced to make these decisions of binding or loosing of this identity faster than ever to the audience of every man, woman, and child on the internet.
Fall of 1961- Breakfast at Tiffany’s was released to an American public who immediately pinned Audrey Hepburn as the classiest women of all time. Legions of American women came out of theaters empowered to wear wayfarers, pearls, and go out to expensive brunches in the greatest city in the world.
Fall of 1961- Asia America faces the most popular, frenzied, and degrading image crisis in its’ history. In the very same movie about NY bachelorette life, amid the brunches and the stunning Ms. Hepburn was Mickey Rooney’s incarnation of Mr. Yunioshi, the bucktooth, yellow-faced, degenerate landlord that would not stop pestering the lovely Ms. Hepburn about the damn noise in his building! Ms. Hepburn shows compassion upon the perverted man and assuages his complaints with the fleeting promise of letting him take pictures of her (for his private collection). Believe it or not, this was the most iconic image of Asian Americans that the mass media had to offer until the 1990’s where bucktoothed Mr. Yunioshi was replaced by mind-numbing footage of Korean grocers firing carbon-powered rifles into a crowd of Blacks in the K-Town LA during the LA riots.
Suffice to say, Asian Americans have some difficulty maintaing our image.
But a new global, media force has come to save us from Asia America being deemed the worst, perennial PR Nightmare America has seen post-slavery times.
YOUTUBE, friends. YOUTUBE has come to save us. With fresh Asian faces, most ranging from your average looking Asian guy to DAMN he’s fineee.
Youtube in al of its unfiltered glory has allowed the best and brightest of the Asian American community today to put themselves out there in the way they’d like to be seen. With many of today’s best attracting a subscription rate of hundreds of thousands or even a million(KevJumba) these handsome faces of Asia America get to put out there very best faces and talents, usually in front of home webcams.
This inexpensive, very anti-Hollywood process form of entertainment has provided Asian American content that would not have been allowed to screen anywhere else.
These beautiful, young stars are using youtube as a springboard to gain prestige points in their true fields of passion. Youtube has launched the singing careers of David Choi and Clara Chung (KOLLABORATION WINNER), as well started up the up and coming film company, WongFu productions. Hell, it even got Kev Jumba and his dad on the Amazing Race.
Youtube is proving to be more powerful than anyone had ever expected. Its’ boom has provided the greatest impact to a people who once had no choice but to watch the horrible things put up on movie screens about their lives and character. Now, the fresh, optimistic personalities born from the generation who faced such ugly stereotypes put their best face forward.
All hail youtube! Slayer of that little Irishman with the buckteeth.