Xin Seha 신세하 「Tell Her」

Posted on February 27, 2017 commentaires

Xin Seha 「Tell Her」 - from『7F, the Void』released on February 27, 2017.

Directed by N’Ouir
Starring: Xin Seha, More, Kuciia Diamant, Mikju


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Kyle Casey Chu 「San Francisco’s Most Famous Asian Drag Family Hazed Me Hard」

Posted on February 23, 2017 commentaires

The Rice Rockettes are a drag family with serious roots in radical, race-conscious, HIV/AIDS advocacy. They put me to the test to see if I could serve looks that meet their expectations.

After two months of hazing – contour and makeup tests, socials and shows – the Rice Rockettes’ Holiday Drag showcase this past December was the performance that would determine whether I’d be inducted into the historic all Asian American San Francisco drag house. The group challenged me to perform a pop number that incorporates political commentary.

I decided to sport a black leather harness and a sexy Santa velveteen one-piece; the number is 「Into You」 by Ariana Grande. And despite my traction-less stilettos and severely rushed tuck, I’m thrust on the stage, under hot, throbbing lights, about to lap dance a man with a sign taped to his chest that reads “Obamacare.”

After mime-fisting Mr. Obamacare, a Trump impersonator forcibly removes him from the platform. 「Into You」 transitions into Anne Hathaway’s rendition of 「I Dreamed a Dream」 from 「Les Misérables」. I remove my wig and proceed to ugly cry and chop off all of my real hair with safety scissors. The Rockettes gasp, the audience cheers, and the bartenders groan as chunks of sweaty black hair flutter unceremoniously to the bar floor.

Within 24 hours, Rice Rockettes’ drag mother and founder, Estée Longah, tells me that I’ve officially been voted in as their newest member. “May the gods have mercy on your soul,” she says.

But don’t let the frivolity give you the wrong idea – the Rockettes are a drag family with serious roots in radical, race-conscious HIV/AIDS advocacy.

The group’s origins lie in an Asian American HIV/AIDS outreach project called the Rice Girls, a punny homage to the Spice Girls. In the mid 90s, as HIV rates began to rise among Asian and Pacific Islander men, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) saw a need for culturally competent methods to engage the community. They turned to trans Filipina activist Tita Aida (“Auntie AIDS” in Tagalog), who they hired to serve as a San Francisco health ambassador for the Asian and Pacific Islander community. Her outreach efforts often seemed more like stand-up comedy, and they routinely packed hundreds into 150-person-capacity bars.

In 1998, to kick it up a notch, she recruited five Asian American drag queens and health educators to accompany her in her outreach, a group she named the Rice Girls. They performed at the now-shuttered San Francisco gay bar N’Touch (short for “Asian Touch”) with shows that acted out campy safe-sex scenarios on the stage before lip sync performances of Spice Girls singles. The CDC supported them through grants until 2005, when funding parameters shifted, and they were forced to disband.

After the Rice Girls disbanded, Tita took to grooming another drag queen – Alex Baty, another N’Touch performer – into the drag queen and community organizer she is today: Estée Longah. Alex soon teamed up with a cadre of drag collaborators to put on a performance fundraiser in 2008, and after rave reviews, she rebranded the group the Rice Rockettes, which today carry on the Rice Girls’ activist-performance mission.

The Rockettes have since performed at pride festivals far and wide: the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance’s Special Evening with George Takei, theme parks, special events, and, notably, before a seemingly confused panel of judges on 「America’s Got Talent」. They’re now in their third generation of girls; in addition to founding members Estée Longah, Doncha Vishyuwuzme, and Chi-Chi Kago, members include Brenda Dong, Emma Hooker, Kristi Yummykochi, Imelda Glucose, LuLu M. Pia – plus myself, Panda Dulce.

But the road to becoming a member was not easy.

I’ve been doing drag for a while, but to join the Rockettes, I was subject to lengthy tests of my willpower, drag prowess, and loyalty. The first was a makeup tutorial, where Estée asked if I was right-handed (I am) and proceeded to paint the right side of my face – the easier side – before instructing me to perfectly recreate the look on my left. She and a Rockettes alumni closely examined my work, and after some deliberation, I passed. When I said, “Well, that was terrifying,” she said, without a hint of humor, “We’re Asian. Our hazing is subversive and psychological.”

Over the weeks to come, I was pushed to my drag limits. I was asked to perform a conceptual routine that blended old-line, traditional drag with contemporary pop; I went with 「Bitch I’m Madonna」, dressed in the same Soviet-inspired S&M leatherwear as her music video’s Asian backup dancers. I brought a walking cane and played “old,” clutching my back during a shaky, belabored Charleston.

Then I was nearly eliminated by a lackluster Halloween performance. My fellow Rockettes pulled out all the stops – Kristy dressed up as a juggalette, brandishing a butcher knife and laughing maniacally during her set; Estée performed 「Hello」 by Adele as Samara from 「The Ring」, whispering “hello” from the other side of a television – but my goth-skewed Azealia Banks performance was knocked for lacking surprises to keep the audience on their toes.

So surprises I brought. Fisting Mr. Obamacare with pudding-covered latex gloves and giving myself an Anne Hathaway haircut were my aces in the hole at my audition. According to the girls, that was the show that cemented me as a member. I was immediately asked to learn choreography for a performance at the Imperial Court, one of the world’s longest-running and largest LGBTQ organizations.

“For me, the Rice Rockettes is all about inclusivity,” said Imelda Glucose. “We’re celebrating a community that are often othered in the gay world.” And since the group’s formation, it’s moved on from solely focusing on HIV/AIDS to a larger mission: celebrating and empowering the LGBTQ Asian American community in all respects.

For Tita Aida, the Rice Girls and Rockettes promote more than just LGBTQ Asian American visibility. “Six of the Rice Girls have since transitioned to identify as trans women,” said Tita. “This family can, and has, opened the door for young Asian American trans women to seek their authentic selves. It’s modeling empowerment. There isn’t a whole lot of that for Asians in the LGBTQ community.”

In an age where Asian drag queens like Kimora Blac, Phi Phi O’hara, and Kim Chi have opened unprecedented doors for their community, breaking down barriers for Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in drag, their mission – to increase Asian American visibility in both drag and the larger LGBTQ community – has been made more attainable than ever. The Rockettes’ monthly show remains one of the only regular events in San Francisco featuring solely Asian American drag queens, and through ongoing performances and outreach efforts, they’re not quitting anytime soon.

Follow Kyle Casey Chu on Twitter and Instagram.



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David Artavia 「Singapore’s First Series About Gay Life Is a Hit」

Posted on February 20, 2017 commentaires
「People Like Us」 is Singapore’s first ever gay webseries and it’s giving Western audiences a rare look at queer life in the East Asian republic.

It’s refreshing to see a series so well done that it not only invites viewers to deeply care about the characters, but encourages the audience to educate themselves about what’s happening in other parts of the world. 「People Like Us」 does that and more.

The webseries, which just released its first season, follows four gay men living in Singapore whose lives interconnect in unique ways. It is the first webseries to ever be developed in Singapore about gay men, which is why producer/director Leon Cheo is aiming to introduce their stories to a mainstream audience.

“We pushed a lot of envelopes,” Cheo said to Plus. “It was multifaceted. We wanted real locations, real bars, real bathhouses... A lot of [global] gay representation is not Asian. I’m glad we made a film primarily about gay people in Asia and their stories. They have different ways of coming out, different cultures — being gay in South Korea or Japan is completely different [than in Singapore].”

Meet “Isaac,” performed by actor Steven Lim (nominee of Best Supporting Actor - Drama award at the Indie Series Awards) a 45-year old senior private banker. Though he used to lead a double life when he was married, he now enjoys the freedom of chem-sex parties on the weekends at his fancy apartment.

The series was co-developed with Acton for AIDS Singapore, a charity and non-governmental organization in Singapore that promotes HIV awareness and education. Since wrapping the first season, 「People Like Us」 has been screened at festivals around the world to high acclaim, recently winning Best Short TV Drama at ITVFest - Independent Television Festival in Vermont last October.

When Action for AIDS approached Cheo in 2015 to help develop the series for Singapore’s MSM community as part of Gayhealth.sg, it soon became a passion project with much higher stakes.

“The first thing I said was ‘We cannot have a scene where a character gets tested,’” Cheo recalled. “We didn’t want it to be too moralistic, I didn’t want to see the character going through the emotions of getting tested and, you know, that usual scene we see a lot. And they agreed. We wanted to create something that didn’t preach to the audience. I thought about these characters, I drew from my own experience.”

Meet “Rai,” performed by Hemant Ashoka, a 20-year old full-time national serviceman who is new to the gay scene. While he’s optimistic and always searching for Mr. Right, his dates usually end up in tragedy, which makes him start to lose faith in the world.
Meet “Ridzwan,” performed by Irfan Kasban, a 30-year old accountant and your typical “discreet, fun only, top here, no place” kind of guy who loves a good bathhouse. He keeps to himself, and is great at segregating work, social, and sexual activities.

Filming at real gay clubs and bars in Singapore, the characters also use local slang, such as “AJ,” which means “gay” and even the title itself: 「People Like Us」 or 「PLU」, which is akin to how “queer” is used in the west.

In addition to highlighting the experience gay men deal with, which is universal, the series deals with HIV, sex, coming out, and sex health. At the end of each episode, representatives from Gayhealth/Action for AIDS talk about the issues displayed in the episode.

“We had a private screening for the [Singapore gay] community,” Cheo said. “People laughed and really connected with the characters. The response has been really good. One of the things we sort of hoped would happen is to provoke a little controversy with one of our characters. His name is “Ridzwan,” which is a very Muslim name. There isn’t talk about religion in the show, but we wanted to inspect religious people, how they deal with being gay... I think they needed an intersection as well.”

Meet “Joel,” performed by actor Josh Crowe, a 26-year old yuppie working at a PR firm. While he lives with his parents and is out to everyone who cares to know, he is also a bit impatient, which is probably why he his longest relationship was three months.

Gay sex is still technically illegal in Singapore and although it’s kept on the books to appease conservatives, it’s rarely enforced. Still, as a result of the policy there is a great deal of censorship restricting positive portrayals of LGBT people in the news and in film/TV. Cheo says that’s a major reason why the team chose Internet streaming.

While there are LGBT rallies, like “Pink Dot” in Singapore, they are rarely covered by press until a “bigger company” like Google is there, Cheo says. In that case, when the event gets bigger, they “can’t help but cover. With the Internet, you can’t hide that an event supporting LGBT rights was attended by more than 28,000 people.”

「People Like Us」 is available now on the Here TV network, and also YouTube and Amazon Prime. Take a peek at the first episode below:


Leon Cheo 「People Like Us」 EP 1 - 「The Scene」 - posted on June 30, 2016.

Author: David Artavia/Date: February 20, 2017/Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/people-like-us/#gs.zJ4fq4c



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Graham Gremore 「If your dating profile says “No Asians” then you’re a “trash gay,” Korean comedian says」

commentaires

“Idiots who say ‘No Asians’ are the same trash gays who say ‘No Fats, No Fems, Masc only’ and other basic Grindr sh*t like that,” comedian Peter Kim tells Queerty. “It’s usually white gays (surprise!) that are enslaved to the heteronormative notions of shaming femininity and praising masculinity.”

Kim is a self-identifying “fabulous husky gaysian” comedian born living in Chicago. He’s appeared at Second City, Laugh Factory, and on The Moth, and has recently started using his platform to tackle the issue of racism among gay men, specifically racism directed at Asian men. Last month, he recorded a PSA about it for PBS.

“Americans tend to emasculate Asian men,” Kim says, “so when you’re gay and Asian, you’re expected to speak in a hushed whisper, if at all. When strangers meet me, they expect me to be sweet and understated, so I make sure I serve them the complete opposite dish.”

We had an opportunity to chat with Kim about his experiences as a gay Korean-American man, the absurd things people have said to him about his race, and why he’s not putting up with it any longer...

QUEERTY: How often do people ask you where your from and how do you respond?

KIM: I was born in Flushing, Queens and have never been to Korea, but because of the way my face looks, I am charged with answering for my Korean-ness, instead of being an American human that just happens to not be white. It’s absurd because it’s just another little way white people make sure Asians feel like second class citizens. My favorite is when they find out that I’m Korean and they ask “North or South?” I always say “North” and blankly stare at them until their faces contort and explode with shame.

What are some of the most annoying misconceptions you’ve heard about gay Asian men?

People assume that we are all bottoms, and that’s just not true. Some of us are power-bottoms! And tops, and vers, and asexual, and greedy little leather pigs. What I’m trying to say is that it should be obvious that Asian gays are as sexually diverse as white gays, even if you don’t see them portrayed in your media as such. And by “media,” I do mean “gay porn.”

What about those dudes who write “No Asians” on their dating profiles? Why is saying stuff like that racist? And what about those people who insist it’s not about race but rather “preference?”

You can call it what you want, but it’s straight up disrespect and I’m not having any of it. People think they can be casually racist to Asians and it be totally OK because you don’t see us clapping back. Well, here’s me clapping back: If you’ve never asked yourself why you prefer what you prefer, then you might as well be cattle.

Idiots who say “No Asians” are the same trash gays who say “No Fats, No Fems, Masc only” and other basic Grindr sh*t like that. It’s usually white gays (surprise!) that are enslaved to the heteronormative notions of shaming femininity and praising masculinity, which is insane because, hello, WE ARE GAY!

You’re dating a white guy from Minnesota (where I’m from, BTW!). Have you experienced any challenges being an interracial couple?

Firstly, congrats on being from Minnesota. I’ve traveled all around the Midwest, and you guys seem to be doing the whole “white thing” right. I’ve had the best time meeting my boyfriend’s family and friends in Minneapolis. People seem to be woke, without being self-congratulatory, which is a difficult balance to achieve.

Frankly, the only roadblock we’ve faced is from my mother, who is lovely but does not speak a lick of English, and she’s been an American for 35 years. I guess she figured that I’d learn it, make a bunch of money, then take care of her... So I guess what I’m trying to say is that she better get hooked on some phonics, quick.

How do we, the LGBTQ community, begin to tackle the issue of white supremacy in our culture?

We must tackle white supremacy in our culture by learning from the mistakes of white feminists. We must wake up and stand up for all oppressed groups, intersectionally, starting with women. If sexism and male supremacy is not fixed first, then we have no hope for anything else because oppression trickles down. The abused turn around and abuse those more vulnerable, quickly forgetting the lessons we’ve learned.

Especially during a volatile and confusing time under our current administration, we must all band together and fight hate and fear as a united front. And I think the way to do that is through more communication and exposure. If you care for someone who is a gay Asian man or trans Latina woman or a Black bisexual, you’re more inclined to use your vote to protect them from institutionalized hate.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Privilege, in all its forms and in itself is not a bad thing. We are all more privileged than others in different ways. It’s how we decide to engage with it that defines our character. Some people are so willing to believe that they are the victims of their story that they choose to be willfully ignorant of how much better they have it than so many others in our country, much less the world. It’s not a crime to be privileged, but it is criminal to ignore the existence of it.





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Chris Lam 「Hot Asian Men To Follow For Self-Care」

Posted on February 16, 2017 commentaires

Chris Lam 「Hot Asian Men To Follow For Self-Care」 - posted on February 16, 2017.

Get some water for this thirst. I talk a lot about Grindr stories, but let’s do something that can help you in your own life: recommending hot sexy Asian men to follow on Instagram!!! It’s a small but useful part of my self-care tbh. And it makes me feel not as bad for following so many of them. And it also reminds you as an Asian person that your people are hot and desirable despite lack of representation in American media!

Featured sexy men:

Rene Mayo
https://www.instagram.com/rene_mayo/
Rene Mayo via Instagram

Dragon Tuan Yee
https://www.instagram.com/dragon_tuanyee/
Dragon Tuan Yee via Instagram

Sachin Bhatt
https://www.instagram.com/sachinbhatt/
Sachin Bhatt via Instagram

Rohit Khandelwal
https://www.instagram.com/rohit_khandelwal77/
Rohit Khandelwal via Instagram

Godfrey Gao
https://www.instagram.com/godfreygao/
Godfrey Gao via『Harper’s BAZAAR MEN Thailand

Featured cause:
http://blacklivesmatter.com/

NEW VIDEOS EVERY THURSDAY MORNING PST


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Gareth Johnson 「‘People Like Us’ – a new series about gay men in Singapore」

Posted on February 14, 2017 commentaires

A compelling look at life in country where homosexuality is still illegal.

Filmmaker Leon Cheo has released the first season of new web series 「People Like Us」.

The first season follows the lives of Joel, Ridzwan, Rai and Isaac – four gay men, living in Singapore, whose lives become interconnected.

It’s a compelling look into gay life in Singapore – a city-state where being gay is illegal, even though the laws are rarely enforced.

I spoke with Leon Cheo for a behind-the-scenes look at the series:

You’ve co-developed the series with Action for AIDS – how did that collaboration come about?

I’ve been actively involved in LGBT activism in Singapore – producing and directing videos for Pink Dot, our version of a pride rally and movement. In 2014, at the press launch of the campaign video which I directed, I was approached by Action for AIDS with the idea to create an episodic web-series for the MSM community through their Gayhealth website.

The idea was that the show would be educational and entertaining at the same time. I said I was very interested, but that this show shouldn’t have a scene which has a characters going to a clinic to get tested – it shouldn’t be preachy. They wholeheartedly agreed, saying it was exactly what they had in mind.

Action for AIDS wanted to portray four gay men of various age groups and ethnicities, and I got to work immediately. Then, I fleshed out the characters and storylines. Eventually, it became six, 10 minute episodes, mostly based on my own experiences, friends, research from AFA, and some fiction and creativity.

Did you find it difficult to weave the safer sex messages through the narrative that you were creating?

It was challenging, for sure. However, our primary goal was to ignite discussion and promote awareness about the social and sexual situations gay men experience. We also wanted to be sex-positive and non-judgmental – we all know how judgmental the community can be. If we shied away from ‘taboo’ or ‘controversial’ situations such as sexual assault, saunas, condom-less sex, and chem-sex, then we exacerbate the silence by sweeping it under the carpet.

One thing we explored with the Joel character is how gay men negotiate – or don’t negotiate – sexual risks, condom use, talking about STIs, HIV status and more. We all know how emotions and desire cloud our judgement, so we have Joel and we juxtaposed him with Ridzwan, who is closeted and more paranoid about safer sex.

One episode involved sexual assault and, to further the educational aspect we have the guys behind Action for AIDS at the end of the episode talk about PEP – post exposure prophylaxis – and how viewers can access such help.

What was the casting process like?

I’m most excited for casting because I can finally hear actors say what I have written and bring these characters to life.

We did a casting call on the Internet, reached out to actors I knew, and had three days of auditions.

For Ridzwan, it was easy. I wrote the role specifically for Irfan Kasban – a crazy talented actor-writer-director himself, who graciously agreed to play the part.

For Joel, Josh Crowe said that a friend sent our casting call to him, saying he’s perfect for the role. This twenty-something Asian actor with a non-Asian last name, who grew up in Colorado, showed up and really impressed us. He worked as a stage performer for musicals and Universal Studios Singapore and this was his first starring role on film or TV. Interestingly, his mother is from Singapore and, after a few lessons taught by yours truly, he got used to the Singlish accent and could pass off as Singaporean.

For Hemant [Ashoka], who played Rai, I found him in a bar in Singapore. I kid you not. It was during pre-production and I was having drinks with friends. I thought he looked the part, asked if he did any acting – he did a bit of theatre – and invited him to come for an audition. He floored us with his vulnerability and innocence.

Finally, for Isaac, we saw a few actors but I wasn’t sure about them. One day my producer, Jen Nee, sent me a news article about the cast of 「Growing Up」 – a hit Singapore period TV drama – and it mentioned Steven Lim. I reached out to him, he fell in love with the script and weeks later, we started filming.

You’ve subtitled the series, even though most of the dialogue is in English – what were the considerations for that decision?

It’s so that everyone can understand the dialogue. Ever since we gained independence from the British, English is the primary language of business and education in Singapore. However, we’ve developed Singlish – a pidgin of sorts, with a staccato way of speech, mixed together with words from Mandarin and other dialects, Malay, Tamil and regional languages.

The series is mostly in English but, like a thick Irish or Scottish accent, Singlish takes getting used to. I’ve learned from screening my early short films to American film festivals, which were made in English and Singlish, that without subtitles, no one can comprehend the film.

What sort of response have you had to the series?

We’ve been fortunate to have received a lot of good responses to the series. Interestingly, there hasn’t been flak from the more conservative camp.

We had a private screening for the gay community in Singapore and comments on Gayhealth and YouTube are very positive, with fans clamouring for a second series or more episodes.

As a filmmaker, it’s very heartening to receive comments about how viewers connected with one character or another’s situation, or how they saw themselves as Rai, Joel, Ridzwan, or Isaac. At the screening, people laughed, and that’s when you know people are connecting.

As icing on the cake, we scooped up the Best Short TV Drama award at ITVFest last October 2016 in Dover, Vermont. Funny story, at the inn where many festival attendees stayed, everyone put out post cards. Ours has Joel and Ridzwan kissing and for two nights, someone would only overturn our stack of postcards.

Has there been any discussion about how the series demonstrates that Singapore’s anti-gay laws are a bit outdated?

Singapore is like how the United States was 8-10 years ago. With 「People Like Us」, one of our creative objectives was to portray Asian gay men neutrally or positively – we certainly need more of such portrayals and images. With that, the series could play a part in changing the hearts and minds of the citizens and government of Singapore. Hopefully, then, the country will do away with such laws and censorship sooner rather than later.

Will there be a second series?

It’s not a 100 percent sure-thing, but we really want to make a second season. The challenge now is funding. We’re exploring possible storylines – we’re thinking of tackling PrEP, living with HIV, and seeing what will happen to Joel, Ridzwan, Rai, and Isaac.

「People Like Us」 is available on all major on-demand platforms.


Leon Cheo 「People Like Us」 Trailer - posted on January 31, 2017.

Author: Gareth Johnson/Date: February 14, 2017/Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/people-like-us/#gs.zJ4fq4c


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Allen Pham 「For Asian Americans, coming out is a double-edged sword」

Posted on February 12, 2017 commentaires
Last November, I tried coming out to my mom. It didn’t work out.

For the past year and a half, I’ve been facing the same dilemma of whether or not I should come out to my family. I’m proud of my sexual orientation, and I’m glad to say that I have people in my life who accept me, but this hasn’t been the case with my parents.

For many young Asian Americans, conflict of identity is not a strange occurrence. As the son of two Vietnamese immigrants, I can attest that it has taken a very long journey to get to where I am today.

I grew up loving my heritage and culture. After coming to America, my parents continued to hold on to their values – Vietnamese cultural values that they used to raise me and my older brother. It meant greeting my relatives whenever they came to visit. It meant no English inside the house. It meant waiting for all your elders to eat before you could start picking up your chopsticks. And it also meant that romance should strictly be between a man and a woman.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my future for the past couple of months. When I came back home to Little Saigon for Thanksgiving break, I felt like it would be the right time. My boyfriend and I were discussing the possibility of coming out to our parents during that period. I even asked my brother for advice. Both of them agreed that no matter what happened, my parents would still love me.

While I knew it was true, I could not fathom the shock that would come if I came out to them about my sexuality and my lifestyle differences. As my co-editor Terry Nguyen said in last week’s column, “I was living under a different ‘bi’ label my entire life.”

I have always been bicultural, and the intersectional struggle of my identities created a conflict between my sexuality and the culture I was brought up in.

For a very long time, I had been struggling to come to terms with my sexuality and gender identity. And when I finally overcame that struggle, a new one arose. I didn’t know how to balance the difference between who I am to my family and who I am to the rest of the world.

My parents don’t understand the concept of bisexuality – because from their cultural lens, there is only a simple binary in love, relationships and family building. Without this understanding, I also wouldn’t be able to tell them of where I stand on the Kinsey scale as a male-leaning bisexual.

Despite all the qualms I had, I knew I wanted to give my parents a chance – a chance for them to finally understand a part of my life that I had hid from the two people I loved the most.

So on Thanksgiving day, I had a moment with my mom. She and I were talking about my future, where I wanted to work, what career aspiration I had – and the conversation came up.

“Mom... what if I like both boys and girls? Is that OK?” I asked. She chuckled a bit.

“I don’t think that’s possible, and I wouldn’t support it,” she said. “I want to you to grow up into the world as a man so people don’t laugh at you. You know it’s true that gay people live a hard life, especially in our community.”

It hurt to hear her dismiss my thoughts so quickly and instantaneously. But I understood and knew that she wasn’t ready for it. And nor was I for everything that I thought I had been ready for.

As much pain as I was in at the time, I know now that I still have a long way to go before things will change for the better. I’m still thinking of ways to overcome the cultural barriers that lie between me and my Vietnamese parents. I know that in order for them to finally understand me, I have to have a better understanding of my own identity and where I stand in comparison to my parents in terms of our cultural differences. And hopefully at that point, things will get easier.

I’m currently writing this column with hopes that one day, I’ll be strong enough to share these thoughts with my parents. I’m also stuck at the crossroads, but I know one day, I’ll be able to choose my own path. And somehow, some way, everything will be OK.

Allen Pham is a sophomore majoring in public relations. He is also the lifestyle editor of the『Daily Trojan』. His column, 「The A Game」, runs every other Monday.

Author: Allen Pham/Date: February 12, 2017/Source: http://dailytrojan.com/2017/02/12/column-asian-americans-coming-double-edged-sword/


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Duc Tuan Đức Tuấn Trăng 「Dưới Chân Mình」

Posted on February 10, 2017 commentaires

Duc Tuan 「Dưới Chân Mình」 - posted on February 10, 2017.

Une chanson larmoyante (on aime pas du tout) pour un clip qui raconte le dilemme d'un homme partagé entre sa copine et son copain, c'est tragique ! Mais heureusement, c’est fait de manière très sensuelle... Et Duc Tuan n’hésite pas à tomber la chemise et à se livrer à des scènes bien hot avec un très beau modèle thaïlandais (Tong Chaitawat). Le chanteur explique son choix d'incarner lui-même le rôle, non pas parce qu’il s’agit de son histoire, mais pour mettre l’amour entre personnes de sexes opposés et de même sexe sur un pied d’égalité, et montrer que l’homosexualité n'est pas anormale.



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Julie Hamaïde 「Malaise – Racisme anti-asiatique en télé : pourquoi le silence est assourdissant」

Posted on February 08, 2017 commentaires
Dérapages à la télévision, agressions, silence assourdissant de la part des associations antiracisme, ... Et si les préjugés sur les communautés asiatiques restaient le dernier tabou culturel français ? Par Julie Hamaïde.

Début décembre 2016, M6 diffuse en prime time le spectacle 「Tout est possible」 de Gad Elmaleh et Kev Adams. Au bout d’une heure, le décor se fait plus « exotique », arborant sur scène panneaux de bois et dragons dorés. Kev Adams et Gad Elmaleh arrivent successivement, portant des tenues traditionnelles, avec tresse factice s’échappant d’un chapeau rond et bouc long d’un mètre pour celui censé représenter le « maître spirituel ». Le plus jeune des deux s’adresse à son aîné, empruntant un accent grossier : « Bonjour grand maître, bienvenue dans ce temple, vous allez m’apprendre tout ce que je dois savoir ». Gad Elmaleh répond lui-même : « Je te jure, je suis en train de niquer 20 ans de carrière ». En résultent néanmoins dix minutes de caricatures vues par plus de 4 millions de téléspectateurs ce soir-là. Dix minutes de clichés dans une France qui rigolait il y a 30 ans déjà des sketches de Michel Leeb 「le Chinois」 et 「l’Africain」.

Après un tollé sur les réseaux sociaux et la tribune du journaliste Anthony Cheylan 「Moi, Asiatique, j’ai mal devant le spectacle de Kev Adams et Gad Elmaleh」, ni la chaîne, ni les humoristes, ni même les associations antiracisme n’ont commenté la polémique. Blaise Cueco, membre du bureau national de SOS Racisme, nous explique : « La question de la liberté d’expression dans le cadre de la création artistique est toujours extrêmement sensible. Pour le cas de Kev Adams et de Gad Elmaleh, même si on est sur quelque chose qui peut choquer les gens, ce sont des artistes dont on connaît le parcours, qui ont fait partie de spectacles qui luttaient contre le racisme. On n’est pas face à des gens qui ont une volonté de tenir des propos racistes. C’est différent d’être face à Dieudonné qui a une idéologie derrière ».

Quelques semaines plus tard, rebelote. Une stagiaire de l’émission de radio animée par Cauet sur NRJ diffuse un appel à participation sur Facebook : « Hello je recherche 4-5 personnes d’origine chinoise disponibles pour venir fêter le nouvel an chinois dans l’émission de Cauet demain et faire du karaoké !! Il faudrait que les personnes aient l’accent ou sachent faire parfaitement l’accent !! J ». Une publication supprimée le lendemain, sans suite dans l’émission de Cauet, mais qui a de nouveau mis le feu aux poudres... incendiées par TF1 quelques jours après.

「Stars sous hypnose」 en remet une couche
Toujours en prime time, Arthur invite Messmer à hypnotiser des célébrités. La chanteuse Priscilla et le comédien Andy Coq se retrouveront alors « élèves kung-fu », costumes et cris délirants de rigueur, se versant un bol de riz sur la tête pour se « purifier ». Une scène rendant hilares le présentateur et ses autres invités, tandis que derrière leurs écrans, de nombreuses familles d’origine asiatique fêtaient le nouvel an lunaire. Buon Huong Tan, Conseiller de Paris et adjoint au maire du xiiie arrondissement, tempère : « Il faut plus le voir comme un manque d’information qu’un vrai racisme. Après, ce n’est jamais très bon de bénir ce type de spectacle qui dénigre une population sur ses origines raciales, mais de là à leur faire un procès... En revanche il y a un vrai racisme que taisent les victimes, les politiques et les associations antiracisme ».

Une deuxième génération qui ne se laisse plus faire
Alors que la première génération d’immigrés asiatiques (majoritairement arrivée dans les années 70/80) taisait généralement les agressions et moqueries racistes dont elle était victime, la seconde génération, née et élevée en France, lève la voix.

Ainsi, Raphäl Yem, animateur et journaliste, publiait lui aussi sa tribune : « Aujourd’hui, mes compatriotes asiatiques et moi, on se sent un peu seuls », dans laquelle il revient sur l’agression et la mort de Chaolin Zhang, « tabassé dans les rues d’Aubervilliers », qui avait déjà soulevé un grondement des populations d’origine asiatique en France.

« Aujourd’hui il y a des jeunes qui réagissent, qui ne se laissent pas faire, explique Buon Huong Tan. Ils ont des réactions que les anciens n’avaient pas avant, ce qui ne veut pas dire que ces problèmes-là n’existaient pas. »

Le malaise traverse l'Atlantique
Aux États-Unis, les jeunes américains d’origine asiatique se sont emparés du hashtag #ThisIs2016 afin de partager leur expérience de racisme ordinaire. Une initiative lancée par Michael Luo, alors rédacteur en chef du『New York Times』, dans lequel il publiait une lettre ouverte à la suite d’une altercation dans un parc avec une femme lui ordonnant de « retourner dans son pays, de retourner en Chine ». Lui qui est né à Pittsburg, en Pennsylvanie.

Un racisme dénoncé également à Hollywood où l’actrice Constance Wu, de la série 「Fresh Off The Boat」, en a fait son combat. Sur son compte Twitter, elle exprimait son mécontentement face au casting du film 「La Grande Muraille」. Matt Damon y incarne le héros, entouré de l’élite de l’armée chinoise, se battant pour la survie de l’humanité face aux attaques de créatures monstrueuses. « Ces castings perpétuent le mythe que les hommes blancs sont supérieurs aux peuples de couleurs ou que les peuples de couleurs attendent d’être sauvés par les blancs », s’enflammait-elle.

De la même manière, Alan Yang, cocréateur de la série 「Master Of None」, ayant reçu un Emmy Award fin décembre, s’est exprimé lors de la cérémonie sur le manque de diversité ethnique à Hollywood. Il rappelait : « Il y a 17 millions d’Américains d’origine asiatique dans ce pays, et il y a 17 millions d’Américains d’origine italienne. Ils ont 「Le Parrain」, 「Les Affranchis」, 「Rocky」, 「Les Sopranos」, et nous, tout ce que l’on a, c’est Long Duk Dong (personnage du film 「Seize bougies pour Sam」 et caricature absolue de l’Asiatique, ndlr) ».

Dernier bastion de la caricature raciale
En quelques mois, de nombreuses voix se sont fait entendre, en France comme à l’étranger, sur le racisme subit par les Asiatiques, affublés de clichés que plus personne n’oserait accoler à d’autres minorités, estiment certains. Qui pourrait envisager une parodie Banania en 2017 ? Qui, comme Dieudonné en 2003, pourrait venir sur un plateau de télévision en « colon israélien », affublé d’un treillis, d’un chapeau rond et de papillotes ? Dans un reportage du『Point』à ce sujet, l’un des spectateurs de Dieudonné se plaignait déjà : « Bientôt, on ne pourra plus rire que des Chinois ». Aujourd’hui, les Asiatiques sont victimes des derniers stéréotypes tolérés par le plus grand nombre.

Rui Wang, président de l’Association des Jeunes Chinois de France, entend des insultes depuis tout petit : « Les clichés n’ont pas changé. Ça nous tient à cœur, à nous, jeunes, d’en parler, alors que les anciens ne voulaient pas aborder ce sujet, exprimait-il lors de la conférence Asialyst intitulée 「Chinois de France : une citoyenneté en mutation. Nous, on n’aime pas fermer notre gueule. C’est notre côté français !」 »

À la suite des récents dérapages médiatiques, les associations antiracisme n’ont pas porté plainte pour diffamation à caractère racial, comme cela avait été le cas pour le sketch de Dieudonné sur France 3. « Caricaturer un asiatique et caricaturer un colon israélien ça n’a quand même pas du tout le même poids, justifie Blaise Cueco. Aller taper sur des humoristes qui ont un engagement contre le racisme, je ne suis pas convaincu que ce soit la meilleure des solutions. Je pense effectivement qu’il y a des choses qui doivent être dites : que des communautés peuvent, à juste titre, se sentir blessées, mais il ne faut pas mélanger les contextes. »

Si elles rappellent assurer la sensibilisation sur le terrain et l’accompagnement juridique des victimes, ni SOS Racisme ni la Licra n’ont donc condamné publiquement ces agissements dans leurs « points hebdo » ou newsletters, minimisant au passage l’urgence du combat. Pour le Conseiller de Paris : « L’acceptation est grave. Que les victimes n’aillent pas porter plainte ce n’est pas bien, mais que les politiques ferment les yeux, c’est pire. Il faut un traitement égal pour toutes les communautés. »



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E. Alex Jung 「How Vincent Rodriguez III Went From Bit Player to ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’’s Romantic Lead」

Posted on February 03, 2017 commentaires

“When I got here I was having all these feelings,” Vincent Rodriguez III says as he steps out of Broadway Dance Center, where he dropped in for a beginners’ hip-hop dance class, where it was recommended you have three to five years of dance experience. It’s a Friday afternoon, and Rodriguez is visiting his old haunts in Hell’s Kitchen, where he spent years “pounding the pavement” as a working actor. When he moved to New York in 2004, he lived in Astoria, but Hell’s Kitchen was the epicenter of his life: He could go to rehearsals and auditions over on Seventh Avenue, and then hang out on Ninth Avenue, doing the occasional “survival job” – restaurant host, barista, personal assistant, Ikea furniture builder – in between gigs. He even got a personal mailbox on Eighth Avenue so he could better centralize his life. “New York reminds me of what my career was like when I lived here, so when I walk through the streets, I remember when I had ten bucks in my pocket and all I could eat is Chipotle,” he says, as he guides us left on Ninth Avenue. “Trying to thrive in this city trained me in my career, and in my life.” Where are we going, I ask? Chipotle, of course.

Rodriguez left, as so many actors must, for Los Angeles during the summer of 2015, after booking his biggest role to date: Josh Chan, the object of Rebecca Bunch’s manic affection in the CW’s genre-expanding musical comedy, 「Crazy Ex-Girlfriend」. When he auditioned, Rodriguez was in the ensemble of 「Here Lies Love」, a “disco poperetta” about the rise and fall of the Ferdinand Marcos administration at the Public Theater in New York. He was a partial swing member – that is, someone who would shift into a number of ensemble roles and also understudied other parts in case someone got sick. It’s the type of role Rodriguez was used to: He’d spent his 20s as part of countless ensembles for regional productions, including 「The Hunchback Of Notre Dame」, 「Pippin」, 「Xanadu」, and 「Irving Berlin’s White Christmas」.

“I definitely have had my down times and also have had my times of being very, very unemployed,” Rodriguez tells me in line at the Chipotle. The 34-year-old actor has a seemingly indefatigable well of positive energy to draw from, a quality he sees as crucial to surviving in the industry. “And by that I mean I’m just months without an audition or a callback and feeling like the business doesn’t want me anymore.” When it’s his turn, he orders his “default”: a burrito bowl with chicken and brown rice, some chips, and a bottle of apple juice – a splurge. “Many times you have to sacrifice the paycheck for doing what you love,” he adds.

Part of the struggle inevitably comes back to race. Rodriguez’s agent would enthusiastically suggest him to casting directors for parts but get told, “‘Oh, actually we want a white guy’ or ‘Oh, we really wanted ethnic. We went with a black guy,’” Rodriguez, who is Filipino-American, says. He suggests that Asian-American actors are caught in the nether region between white and black. “I felt like I wasn’t considered for minority or Caucasian male lead roles. There aren’t really a lot of roles written for me, and I mean me and who I am in real life. In musical theater, there are very few Asian roles that are up-to-date. 「Flower Drum Song」, 「Miss Saigon」 – these are period shows. None of them are contemporary.”

Of course, 「Hamilton」 is the exception rather than the rule. (And yes, he loves 「Hamilton」. So much so that he was wearing the T-shirt during dance class.) “With new musicals these days you can play with nontraditional casting, but then it becomes up to the creative team and the casting directors in reenvisioning their show and seeing it as a more diversified cast, which is what my agent and I would push for,” says Rodriguez. But as the trend goes in Hollywood, a lot of roles for people of color are in television, created by people like Rachel Bloom, 「Crazy Ex-Girlfriend」’s star and co-creator. Bloom went to a high school where the reigning prom king and queen her year were both Asian-American, so for her, casting an Asian-American love interest was a reflection of reality. “Is there any doubt that there are Asian bros out there?” Rodriguez says. “Of course there are. We just haven’t seen them depicted on television yet.”

Josh Chan himself, particularly the nostalgia-drenched one of Rebecca’s summer-camp memories, was based off a friend he grew up with back in Daly City, a stronghold for the Filipino-American community outside San Francisco. He’s a familiar type to anyone from that world: the laid-back, slightly stoner-ish Asian-American dude who has a reflexive chill emanating from his bones. He isn’t very much like Rodriguez himself, who is more of a musical-theater ham, eager to break out in song and dance. And unlike Chan, he can actually assemble furniture.

Stepping into the lead role on a network show, of course, means more attention, and for Rodriguez that’s meant how to answer questions about his personal life. Almost two years ago, pre-「Crazy Ex-Girlfriend」, he proposed to his husband, Gregory Wright, who he had known for over five years. Given the show’s success, he was faced with the question of whether he should publicly come out. Rodriguez chose to do it quietly, acknowledging his relationship as a fact of his life, rather than something he had been hiding (which is true: Instagram stalkers can find the two together in posts before he became a known quantity). Last August, he “came out” in an Instagram post of himself with his partner on the California Screamin’ Ride at Disneyland where he proposed, writing, “What better way to celebrate your one year wedding anniversary than going to Disneyland for the weekend?!”


“We had conversations about it,” Rodriguez recalls. “What it boils down to is: I have to live my life. I have to be a human being, and I’m not just an actor. I’m also a husband. I have a responsibility to be authentic to him as well.” He adds, “We need to live our lives and not be apologetic for being our authentic selves. That’s the message our show has, and that’s the message I’ve been trying to live my whole life.”

For now, that means keeping up with 「Crazy Ex-Girlfriend」, which has been picked up for a third season. “I feel like a kid in a candy store right now because every time I go to work, I’m always learning something new,” he says. Rodriguez is most comfortable with musical-theater dance, but throughout his run on the show, he’s had to do martial-arts send-ups and boy-band stylings. And Rodriguez is nothing if not determined. During the dance class earlier that day, he wanted to take a hip-hop class because it would throw him out of his comfort zone. For two hours, he learned a routine choreographed to Ludacris’s verse in Snoop Dogg’s 「You Got What I Want」. Rodriguez had a knack for picking up moves and throwing his body into the dance step with enough conviction that, even if he didn’t quite know the move at the beginning, he got it in the end.



E. Alex Jung
Twitter: https://twitter.com/e_alexjung


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Olivia Mazzucato 「Reel Representation: Asian-Americans gravely underrepresented in mainstream cinema

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Diversity in film and television came into the spotlight in 2016 with #OscarsSoWhite. A USC study in 2016 found only about a quarter of speaking characters belonged to non-white racial/ethnic groups. In “Reel Representation,” columnist Olivia Mazzucato discusses different issues of race and representation in media as they relate to new movies and TV shows.

「Fresh Off the Boat」 debuted on ABC in 2015, making it the first American television show about an Asian-American family in 20 years.

I struggled to process that fact. I wasn’t even alive the last time there was a show on television about people who looked like me. Obviously, representation isn’t perfect, but Hollywood has made considerable progress since 1994, when Margaret Cho’s 「All-American Girl」 held this distinction.

How is it that there’s been almost no change since the last millennium?

More than half of the top 100 grossing films of 2016 feature no Asian characters, and the average percentage is even higher for prime-time television shows. I felt acutely aware of this shortage this week when my roommate and I struggled to come up with a list of Asian characters from recent movies and TV shows. We failed to name more than 10 names.


Asian-American representation is a difficult issue to address because it is multifaceted. Erasure is disguised as a marketing decision; racism is masked as humor. But perhaps the biggest obstacle to representation is the idea that Asian inclusion is unattainable.

It’s easy to look at these obstacles and just want to give up. On rare occasions, we get a character like Hikaru Sulu from the 「Star Trek」 reboot, who shatters boundaries as a strong, gay Asian character and lives to fight another day. But often, it feels like each new issue is just a rehash of an old problem. We fight the same battles over and over again.

Some aspects of Hollywood are still biased against Asians. Racist humor that makes Asians the punchline is still oddly prevalent – the 2016 Oscars cast Asian children to portray bankers and more recently, Steve Harvey joked about women being repulsed by Asian men.

Films have repeatedly erased Asian characters in a series of casting decisions that feature combinations of whitewashing and modern-day yellowface. Emma Stone starred as a Chinese-Hawaiian character in 「Aloha」, and the 「Ghost in the Shell」 production commissioned visual effects tests to make white background actors look Asian.

The Asian-American characters that do make it to the screen face myriad problems.

Incredible Asian-American characters, like Cristina Yang from 「Grey’s Anatomy」 and Glenn Rhee from 「The Walking Dead」 have disappeared, having been either written off or killed, leaving a gaping void in representation.

Many Asian characters that remain on screen are problematic stereotypes. Raj Koothrappali of 「The Big Bang Theory」 is awkward and unable to talk to women. Katana from 「Suicide Squad」 wears a mask with the Japanese flag on it, speaks sparingly and is named after the Japanese sword she carries.

But even more daunting than all of these individual issues is the overwhelming mindset that Asian representation is impossible.

In response to the backlash following Scarlett Johansson’s casting in 「Ghost in the Shell」, screenwriter Max Landis posted a video on YouTube titled 「If You’re Mad About ‘Ghost In The Shell’ You Don’t Know How The Movie Industry Works」 and claimed that there simply weren’t any A-list Asian celebrities that could have taken the role. Writer Aaron Sorkin made similar statements, complaining that it was difficult to adapt a particular book because there aren’t any Asian movie stars.

I’m not going to lie and say there are Asian-American equivalents to George Clooney or Julia Roberts. There aren’t. But for some reason, Hollywood seems reluctant to create them or to give them a chance to be legends in their own right.

Reading Sorkin’s comments particularly stung because I’ve seen his ability to craft compelling characters in 「The West Wing」, to write roles that propel actors and actresses to fame. He has the credibility and the power within Hollywood, as a writer and as a creator, to elevate Asian actors and actresses.

He shouldn’t have to worry about the lack of Asian movie stars – he can create them.

Sorkin isn’t the source of the problem – he’s simply part of a mindset pervasive throughout the industry. These responses normalize the idea that Asians are not represented realistically, that it is commonplace for their characters to be absent or stereotyped.

Fixing Asian representation cannot happen overnight. Because the issue is so large and complex, there’s no clear path towards equitable diversity. We must fight this perception across the board – both those in positions of power within Hollywood and audiences who vote with their money and ratings.

And maybe someday, 「Fresh Off the Boat」 won’t be the only TV show about Asian-Americans. Maybe then, my roommate and I won’t have to struggle to name Asian characters.



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