Asian-Americans take high road in response to racist music video

There’s a new music video out that’s extremely insulting to Asian/Pacific-Islander women.

Filled with sexually explicit lyrics, the video poses a dilemma for artists who want to decry it. That’s because of the Catch-22 of the Internet; by looking at something, you ultimately are supporting it. On social media, any attention is good attention.

The online magazine Hyphen – Asian America Unabridged tackles the video in a post that (warning: this is something you might not want to open at work) includes a screenshot “from your worst Orientalist nightmare” and an excerpt of the obscene lyrics. But it also  describes efforts to counter such messages, including a decision by some artists to posts videos of Asian-American female musicians.

Among those taking the opportunity to change the conversation is Twin Cities poet Bao Phi,  one of the first people to decide to respond to the bile by directing his Facebook friends’ eyes and ears elsewhere. He wrote:

So there’s this video by a racist, sexist, no-talent band that’s been making the rounds…  instead of posting that horrible video by that no-talent racist/sexist band (which would rightfully call out their ignorance but would also unfortunately give them hits), I’m going to post a video featuring independent musical Asian American women as an act of solidarity and resistance.

Phi’s post followed with a link to this video:

Others have joined in, adding their own videos featuring female APIA musicians. And there’s now a YouTube playlist and a Spotify channel.

Frankly I had a blast checking out the music – some familiar, but much of it new to my ears.  And no sexism to be found.

Here’s a small sample of what’s on offer: