Back in 2003, there was an American Idol contestant who auditioned by singing Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs.” The guy’s name was William Hung and his audition went viral. Though he clearly should have stuck to his day job, through the popularity of poking fun at him, and his indifference to it, he ended up with a record deal. He released an album the following year that sold 200,000 copies. It was filled with cover songs such as R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly,” Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” and the one that started it all, “She Bangs.”
William Hung’s willingness to go through with all of that was stuck in my head while watching “Asian Girlz” by Day Above Ground. The reason for this is the fact that these dudes actually got an Asian girl to participate in the video. First of all, the song is awful. It’s racially insensitive to the point that I have trouble processing how they thought this song was okay throughout the WHOLE process of writing it, recording it, mixing it, the filming of a video, etc. The star of said video is a model by the name of Levy Tran; After seeing the fallout from the video, Levy responded via Twitter, saying, “I sincerely apologize to all who feels [sic] that I set Asian women back 50yrs. I know I lost respect from a lot of ppl: It wasn’t my intention.”
What bothers me is the fact that she lost respect from a lot of people…due to working with a group of guys who, based on this song, had no respect for her in the first place. It’s not even comparable to the Aesop’s fable of the dog and his reflection because in this instance, there was no bone showing in the reflection. There’s certainly enough misogyny in music, but after watching this video, I’m starting to wonder if women that participate in videos such as this one (and rap videos of course) are part of the problem because they accept it. Would rappers rap about all of the “B’s & H’s” they have if they couldn’t get women to gyrate half-naked in their videos while they’re saying it?
More often than not, it’s about money. I’m sure that’s clear to everyone, but to separate people from the objectification of women at this point, I believe women will have to accept a degree of responsibility. I don’t mean the feminists that have been fighting things of this nature for years. I mean the females that participate in videos from Day Above Ground’s “Asian Girlz” to 2Chainz’s “Birthday Song.” There’s a sense of self-worth that appears to be lacking here.
Worst still, this has been carrying on for at least two generations now in the realm of music. Beyond some mass exodus of “video girls,” I don’t see many other solutions. I could dig a 20-foot hole going into this stuff, but the bottom line is, a car salesman is not a car salesman if there are no cars on his lot. Singers and rappers can’t say all these horrible things about women if there were no women around allowing it to be reinforced.
Jonathan started writing as a supplement to his artwork as a child, drawing and supplying the dialogue for comic books that he would make from scratch and hand out to friends and family members. He continued writing fiction into his teenage years, but steered toward engineering in college. He maintains the love for reading and writing.