After ballin’, I get angry…

15 Oct

Disclosure: I don’t know what “ballin'”  is, as in “to ball, I ball, you ball…” It’s from a lyric in “Chinese Food,” a pop song hoping to become a viral internet sensation.

You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWLhrHVySgA.

The fact that aspiring pop star Amy Gold is debuting with a video that so casually stereotypes, miscasts (geishas in a Chinese-American restaurant?) and mocks (what’s with the guy in the panda suit’s “accent”?) all Asians wearies and angers me.

But you know what didn’t? The fact that my introduction to this video was on this site: http://blog.angryasianman.com/2013/10/wtf-this-music-video-makes-me-hate.html#more

And when I searched “Alison Gold Chinese food” last night, the top two hits were:

FYI: This song was produced by the same mastermind who brought the world the pop song “Friday” by Rebecca Black, which went viral a couple of years ago.

It was good to know that you can’t churn out thoughtless representations of already over-stereotyped groups without hearing about it.

However. Today, I searched the same terms only to find lots of sites talking about the video… and somehow failing to include racism in their sometimes detailed (down to the frame) analysis of why this is such a terrible song and video. This morning’s top search hits didn’t mention race at all, choosing to focus instead on empty lyrics, age inappropriateness and creepy sexual overtones. As if you have to choose one or the other critique. As if the combination of wrongs here don’t intersect.

For the record, the racism-focused critiques of this song video tend to, if only briefly, name the other seemingly easy to identify issues with this debut:

  • From Angry Asian Man: “A pop star wannabe, a creepy panda, and a racist, kid-friendly ditty about
    ‘Chinese’ cuisine.”
  • From The Smoking Section: “I’m not even sure what the chow mein reference with simultaneous shoulder brush
    move at 1:15 means. Or the fact that her “new friend” is a grown ass man in a panda suit… What I do know is he shouldn’t be laying in a meadow playing tickles with a teenage white girl. Or hanging out in her bedroom with her underage friends. Oh, then he pulls off the panda lid to rap his verses while fake squinting his eyes and using a slight accent?”
  • From Audrey: “The video combines the poor musical abilities of “Friday,” more than a handful of racist stereotypes, and lyrics that leave you wondering what sort of condition the creators may have been in while writing this trainwreck” (http://audreymagazine.com/offensive-chinese-food-video-made-by-producers-of-rebecca-blacks-friday-goes-viral/).

And all this just makes me want to say: Look, people of the internet (I mean you, LA Times, Time magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, and the rest of you know who you are)! This is perfect opportunity to practice naming racism. Not to be mean, spiteful or just to say something to shut this video down. But because it is, at the same time that it’s classist and creepy and vapid. To take the time to criticize everything but the racist treatment of Asian and Asian-American people in this video? Makes about as much sense as “Get me broccoli/While I play Monopoly.”

Come on now. You can do better than that.

** Thanks to my friend and colleague CY for sharing this video. No, really.

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