Band pulls racist music video after wave of criticism

After a week of widespread backlash, the band Day Above Ground has pulled its video “Asian Girlz.”

Former state Sen. Mee Moua was among those who called on the band to pull its video from circulation for its hateful stereotypes of Asian women.

Moua, now president of the Washington, D.C.-based Asian Americans Advancing Justicewrote to band members asking them to publicly apologize.

The song’s lyrics are primarily composed of references to food, language accents, physical features, jobs, behaviors, and cities that are among the most common generalizations of the ways Asian Americans live and work. The opening verse is just the first of many that demean Asian American women and cast mockery on all Asian Americans.

In particular, your association of these intentionally chosen words to an “Asian girl,” which is mentioned over 30 times throughout the song, perpetuates the notion of Asian American women as sexually servile and perpetually foreign. Asian American women have long confronted this stereotype and its consequences, which have been anything but innocuous or “endearing.”

As just one example, the “happy endings”referenced in your song discounts the reality that many massage parlors employing Asian American women — precisely because of the perceptions embodied in your song — are centers of human trafficking and sexual slavery.

By now, you are well aware of the outpouring of disappointment, hurt, and anger that your song and video have generated across the country — not just among Asian women. The fact that your video casts an Asian American woman, that your band has an Asian American member, and that your band is “multicultural,” does not remove or distill the offensive nature of the song’s lyrics. Any benign intentions should not excuse the actual malignant effects of your work.

Abusing your ability to exercise creative freedom as you have here sets back the progress our communities have made towards racial and gender equality.

The band members have not gone so far as to apologize for the video, saying that they are taking it down “for the safety of ourselves and for everybody we know. We don’t want anybody to get hurt.”

The song’s lyrics (warning: sexually explicit) can still be found on the web.

UPDATE: Today Asian and Pacific-Islander student alliance groups are encouraging people to call iTunes and demand the song be removed from its online store.