A Quarter in Review: Asian American music and what it really means

As a form of expression that has evolved along with the times, music is essential to the human experience, generationally, culturally, and individually. The study of Asian American music garners a wide range – music made by Asian Americans, music with Asian American themes, music for Asian Americans. However, defining ‘Asian American music’ in the context of a cultural, generational, and individual human experience seems to mandate some sort of purpose and intention to its label. Through the research of Asian American musicians such as CL and Yuna, along with the classroom discourse of numerous scholarly sources regarding the study … Continue reading A Quarter in Review: Asian American music and what it really means

Yuna: A ~music is universal~ approach that does not dilute, but inspires

Making waves in the international indie scene, Yuna is a Malaysian singer-song writer who was signed on by an American record label in 2011. She began her music career in Malaysia with a substantial indie-pop follower base on MySpace but was later discovered by Faber Label. Her quick rise to fame in the U.S. as a Malaysian Muslim woman producing indie-pop music prompts an observation of how efficiently and unapologetically Yuna uses the liminal space available for Asian bodies in the entertainment industry. Has her success in this exclusive indie arena been despite the otherness of her identity or because of it? The … Continue reading Yuna: A ~music is universal~ approach that does not dilute, but inspires

The Crumbles: a predictable film that evades mainstream expectations

When observing Asian Americans in the music and entertainment industry, it’s not difficult to recognize the overplayed roles and the limited exposure Asian Americans receive. The spaces available for Asian Americans in the entertainment industry are limited to the stereotypes defined by a white audience; recycled images of the emasculated and bookish Asian man as well as the hyper-sexualized, submissive Asian woman perpetuate a liminal expressive space for Asian Americans. Thus, in Akira Boch’s The Crumbles, it is interesting to see not only the cast itself represent a space of expression free of stereotypes but also the plot unravel in … Continue reading The Crumbles: a predictable film that evades mainstream expectations

CL’s Debut: Authenticity and Appropriation of Hip-hop

The hip-hop scene is hardly an easy ground for Asian Americans to enter, historically established by and rooted in the African American community. In a genre of music where individuality is just as important as musicality and flow, Asian American rappers like Dumbfounded and Awkwafina who founded their name in the hip-hop industry have stood the test of acknowledgement and recognition; they inscribe their own stories, whether satirical or point-blank, in their verses that reverberate across the audience they have come to earn. Understanding the sensitivity and difficulty for Asian Americans to transcend the racialized barriers of hip-hop, it is … Continue reading CL’s Debut: Authenticity and Appropriation of Hip-hop

The Model Minority Starter Kit: Classical Music

Waking up at 7AM and chewing on a bagel on the way to Carnegie Mellon was a Saturday ritual. Practicing the piano was just as much a part of my childhood as was watching Disney movies and Saturday cartoons. The quintessential middle-class Asian American experience filled with lessons and recitals, while its nearly foolproof formula is definitely humorous and sometimes laughable, stands for more than just a trope. It is a snapshot of the model minority ideology at work. Unlike studying to become a doctor or lawyer however, being well-read in classical music does not have the same financial promises. … Continue reading The Model Minority Starter Kit: Classical Music