Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Asians Breaking into the Industry

Before youtube, talent and passion were nowhere to be found in the equation. The definition of an "artist" was someone who is attractive and is acquainted with big industry folks. Therefore, leaving so many artist with potential to inspire sadly unnoticed. This dilemma was common among Asian artist whose soft-spoken timid stereotypical personality have rendered them helpless and defeated despite their great talent and work ethics. It was so rare to find Asian artists in the big screen to the point that if we were fortunate enough to find one, the normal response would be to rush towards our laptops, and anxiously search for his or her identity. Fortunately, that was just the past, and the future provides us with new opportunities through the phenomenon of youtube. This time, fame is not about having a hot booty or who you know, it's about what you can bring to the table. Thanks to Youtube, Asian artists can now be judge for their work, talent, and passion. This ultimately leads to the rise in well-known individuals or groups such as: Wongfu productions, Kevin Jumba, Niga Higa, Jason Chen, and of course the upcoming talent

Brian Lee (a.k.a BeLeeve)

The beautiful, humble, and yet sensational Kina Granis on the left and upcoming music and film artist Brian Lee on the right.

I ask Brian for his opinion about the future for Asians-American in the industry. He gave me a very informative idea of what we should expect in the future:

I feel that YouTube has been the "go-to platform" for not just Asian-Americans who want to display their talent, but for all people who share an interest in sharing their passion and love for the craft they do.

Yes, Asian-Americans have been typecast in the Entertainment Industry. Before the time of Bruce Lee, Asian-Americans were never shown on screen, but now we've been typecast as kung-fu warriors, asian mafia (triads), or the comedy factor.

Granted all of that, I'm starting to see more incorporating of Asian actors into roles, but there is still no sign of Asian-Americans being cast into a leading role unless a film is of Asian-American Interest

One of the pioneering actors is Ken Jeong from the Hangover series. He's really funny, but he gets typecast into being the same character in every movie even in Transformers:Dark of the Moon

YouTube does however allow for social commentary to be expressed that wouldn't usually be expressed otherwise. Look at Timothy De La Ghetto. He addresses issues of Asian American interest, but does so in a way that is funny, makes a point, but shouldn't be taken too seriously.

Also, the pool of Asian-American talent is endless on YouTube. Singer/ Songwriters like David Choi, Kina Grannis, Jane Lui, and AJ Rafael along with many others have been able to breakthrough into different fan bases in different countries. That being said, Asian-American artists, especially on YouTube look to be accepted for just being "artists" without having to fit within a mold of being "Asian-American" because in the end, that's only a part of who "we" are."

I was very impress with Brian's views about this whole concept, and with his permission I decided to show you:

A True Artists at Work

Excellent guitar skills, meaningful eye contact, very melodic vocals, and dominant rapping skills. Don't believe me, I will just let the music speak for itself

"Call me Mr been there done that, top model chick to your every day hood rat. Less than all, but more than a few, but I never met one like you" ~Neyo

What changes do you think will take place for Asian-American Artist in the future?


Samantha Bangayan said...

I've definitely felt the change as well, Hilda! Being an Asian, it was clear that there were no real Asian artists to look up in the past other than the ladies from Joy Luck Club and Margaret Cho. Personally, I think that we do get more roles than just the typical martial arts, asian mafia or comedy roles, but Asians are often just sidekicks or are in lower budget films. It's a start! Eventually, there will hopefully be more equality in Hollywood!

Cubicw86 said...

@Samantha: I hear ya, I have yet to see an asian in a major role that is not martial art. Hopefully we will get to see some:)

I think Lucy Liu is one of the asian i can think of that got a pretty good role. Also in the fashion industry, I'm hearing a lot about Vera Wang. Hopefully in a few years, we get to see some yellows

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