reappropriate

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Apl Song vs. London Bridge

About a month ago, the online Asian American community was desperately hawking the Black Eyed Peas, actively advocating for their song "Bebot" which was rapped entirely in Tagalog and stirring all kinds of Asian American pride. (I wanted to include the YouTube clip here, but unfortunately it's no longer up.) The Apl Song also features the narrative of Filipino Americans And sure, heightened visibility for Asian/Asian American cultures is great, and I certainly love the Apl Song music video featuring 1920's era Filipino American dance halls. But there's a really good reason why the Black Eyed Peas don't deserve our support: London Bridge. Any group whose lead singer has released a track telling men that they will "love me long time" should be chastised by the Asian American community, not praised. (Don't subject yourself to the whole song; it's awful. The lyric in question is within the first verse of the song -- keep watching only if you want to see Fergie sexually molest one of those guys with the fuzzy hats who have to stand outside of Buckingham palace.) We, Asian Americans, need to stop throwing our support at any celebrity who shows us attention. Are we really that desperate for pop culture love? That's like celebrating that awful, racist Helio commercial because it features "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" with an Asian twist.

15 Comments:

Anonymous Loren said...

Did you really think that Helio commercial was racist? I kind of thought it was funny (eep...ducking at things being thrown at me right now). But, the reason why I didn't think it was racist was because the butt of the joke wasn't the Asian boyfriend but the white family. Honestly, I know white people who react like that and it's both stupid and hysterical at the same time. I say hysterical because it's just so dumb its laughable. Hate me?

9/08/2006 01:03:00 AM  
Blogger Bankuei said...

Of course, this is the problem all POC face with mass media- should you be happy that you're on the screen at all, or should you be unhappy that you're misrepresented?

And of course, how much will you play into the misrepresentation just to be in the media itself?

9/08/2006 02:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Carmen Van Kerckhove said...

OMG thank you so much for pointing this out, Jenn! I've been wanting to say the same exact thing but couldn't find the words.

What's even more barfworthy is that when the Black Eyed Peas won some award or another at the recent MTV VMAs, one of them yelled "Yeah for conscious hip hop!"

Uh... last time I checked, their songs were about fetishizing Latina women, objectifying women's "humps," teaching girls to "love you long time." Not much conscious rap there.

9/08/2006 01:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Carmen Van Kerckhove said...

OMG thank you so much for pointing this out, Jenn! I've been wanting to say the same exact thing but couldn't find the words.

What's even more barfworthy is that when the Black Eyed Peas won some award or another at the recent MTV VMAs, one of them yelled "Yeah for conscious hip hop!"

Uh... last time I checked, their songs were about fetishizing Latina women, objectifying women's "humps," teaching girls to "love you long time." Not much conscious rap there.

9/08/2006 01:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Carmen Van Kerckhove said...

oops sorry for double post!

9/08/2006 01:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Mac said...

Isn't that "London Bridge" song her own single? I mean you can't fault the whole group because one member does something you don't like. Look at Gwen Stafani and her dancing mocking Japanese girls. You can't put the blame on what she did on the group No Doubt.

9/09/2006 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Mac -- there's a difference: No Doubt broke up before Gwen Stefani began her solo career. Fergie is still very much the front-woman for Black Eyed Peas and this is happening concurrently with the Bebot/Apl Song love from the APIA community.

9/09/2006 03:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Jay said...

I hated that Helio commercial. Too kitschy. I get their point, but I think they were trying too hard (it's the same with the Volkswagen commercials.)

By the way, Helio is a partnership between a Korean company (forget which off the top of my head) and Earthlink.

9/09/2006 06:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Mac said...

"Fergie is still very much the front-woman for Black Eyed Peas and this is happening concurrently with the Bebot/Apl Song love from the APIA community."

I think I get where you're coming from Jenn and can see your point.

I really didn't think the Helio commercial was racist. I've been in that situation before where the non-black relative tried to relate on some stereotypical bullshit.

9/10/2006 12:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Gandalf Mantooth said...

The Helio commercial is clearly poking fun at the parents of the White woman and their clumsy attempt to "communicate" with their daughter's "foreign" date. Are we at the point where we can't show racism to mock racism?

9/12/2006 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Hyphen-Rider said...

The Peas lost me at My Humps. I hated that song so much that they'd have to solve global warming to get me to like them again. So I haven't even heard the Fergie song or the Apl song. Oh well.

9/12/2006 06:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re the Helio commercial: yes, it's making fun of white preconceptions. But what I find troubling about it is that it presents a white female/Asian male pairing as a curiosity--the joke of the commercial is built on this premise--whereas white male/Asian female pairings have been absorbed into pop culture as "normal" or otherwise unworthy of mention as a racial or cultural issue. Try to count the number of white male/Asian female couples you can find in commericals--they're everywhere. There are more of them than Asian couples, as a matter of fact.

9/13/2006 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Filby said...

If there was anything that bugged me about the Helio commercial, it was that the guy was only there to set up reactions from the white characters. He had no role other than that.

9/13/2006 03:16:00 PM  
Anonymous shanda said...

Jenn, I have to say I don't agree with the reasoning thatBEP can be blamed but ND can't because one lead singer is still in the group and one isn't. For one simple reason your reasoning is flawed in a reason interview Gwen has dispilled the myth that ND is not a group they still are!

Futhermore, slam the sexism in the song if you want but to say it's a huge racial slur to Asians... it's almost like saying that "me love you long time" is a common thing Asian women say. I mean i don't think most people heard that and thought "Oh, she's dissing all Asian women". It never crossed my mind once (in fact that lyric makes me think more 2 Live Crew that Asians).

Oh, and how can you let Gwen and her mocking Japanese pop culture (complete with over done Japanese girls following her every where) slide but not a phrase in a song!

9/19/2006 09:57:00 PM  
Anonymous shanda said...

Futhermore, seeing a Blasian male repping his Asian culture is refreshing, as most Blasians normally rep the Black side only (unless your Tiger woods)!

9/19/2006 09:58:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home