Gwen Stefani in No Doubt’s “Looking Hot” video. Via theinsider.com
There is something insidiously ironic about being American Indian during the fall of the 21st century. It all starts with Columbus Day to mark our “discovery,” then moves right into the “it’s totally not racist to dress up as a hypersexualized Indian” awkward Halloween party, and goes out with a bang on Thanksgiving when we celebrate the survival of the Pilgrims and that harmonious, mutually beneficial relationship forged between colonizers and Indigenous peoples everywhere! However romanticized or factually inaccurate, these holidays happen to be the three days when Native peoples actually enter the mass psyche of American culture.
Blacklava has been a reliable support system for Asian America. If one has an indie film, she’d go to Blacklava to help promote it. If one wants to expand a business, t-shirts created by Blacklava is the obvious choice. And if non-profits and live events need more bandwidth, no wider audience is to be found than Blacklava’s. Throngs crowd around the company’s booth appearances at Comic-Con just as much as they do at the Nihonmachi Street Fair.
Originally geared toward the surfing community, Ryan Suda created his company 20 years ago. He segued into Asian American-focused items when he created the “Asian is Not Oriental” t-shirt and was continually asked, “Hey, where can I get one of those?” And since then, Blacklava has been a reliable source of support and socially conscious sustenance for the Asian American community. Throughout the years, Blacklava has partnered with the likes of AngryAsianMan, San Diego Asian Film Festival, East West Players, Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, Secret Identities, and over 150 other collaborators–including our own Hyphen Magazine.
As he prepares to open a 20th Anniversary Exhibit in Downtown LA’s Hatakeyama Gallery which includes an Opening Night Gala, I caught up with the soft-spoken entrepreneur and philanthropist with a huge heart.
By Guest Contributor refresh_daemon, cross-posted from init_music
The song of the hour.
So, by now, pretty much everybody who covers Korean music and a batch of mainstream international publications have had something to say about PSY’s “Gangnam Style”, which has, as of the writing of this post, had over 190 million views on YouTube, become an internet sensation, led to Psy getting airplay over the radio in some larger metropolitan cities in the US, and even got him signed to the record label that represents Justin Bieber. And while everyone I know that follows Korean music knows PSY, even my friends and peers who otherwise don’t care a thing about Korean or Asian media know about PSY and holler “Oppa Gangnam Style” along with him.
Much has been said about the viral sensation, breaking down the best moments of the video, examining whether or not this is a boon to Korean music’s attempts to break into one of the most lucrative music markets in the world, and some pieces even went deep into the actual meaning of “Gangnam Style.” And I was happy to let everyone else talk about “Gangnam Style” and its place in our world…except that I still have yet to read an article that hits one particular reason why I think “Gangnam Style” is so acceptable to Western audiences when every Korean and Japanese pop artist that tried to make it in America before has failed. Continue reading →
I finally figured out that I change my hairstyle every decade or so. In my fourth decade, I decided to forego the bald and grow out my hair without going to locs, like I did in my 30s. This little child is my seriously cute inspiration:
Quite a few of you Tunblizens were feeling the little one’s cuteness, too.
By Guest Contributor Cora Harrington, a.k.a. Treacle Tart, cross-posted from The Lingerie Addict
Photo of the author by POC Photo. Hair & Makeup: The Shanghai Pearl. Lingerie: Kiss Me Deadly.
Today’s post was really hard to write. I’ve been thinking about the things I’m about to say now for months, but it’s only become clear in the last few weeks they urgently need to be said.
I never know which articles people see first when they visit The Lingerie Addict, and we get a lot of new visitors everyday. So I’m going to say a few things which are probably obvious to my longtime readers but may be less obvious to visitors who are new or who don’t come around as much.
I’m a US dress size 10, bra size 34C.
I weigh 175 lbs.
I’m saying all that to give you a bit of context about who I am and the perspective I’m writing from because, for some time now, I feel like the conversation on diversity within the lingerie industry has been dominated by those who behave like diversity only matters along one axis–and that’s size. Continue reading →
There were some hints in the email that this wasn’t going to be my typical dismissive conversation (they want to learn from their mistake?! They’ve taken steps to address the situation?!), so I was already feeling better about the whole thing going into the call. Mr. Dekel also reached out to Jessica Metcalfe (of Beyond Buckskin), so we decided to have a conference call with the three of us. Unfortunately, Ms. Beyond Buckskin is in Canada for a visit, and her phone was being mean and wouldn’t let her call in. So I talked to Mr. Dekel on my own (but then immediately filled in Jessica afterward, don’t worry). She’s going to be following up with him next week when she’s back home.
The phone call went so much better than I could have even imagined. Elie was gracious, sincere, and kind from the beginning, and truly apologetic. He took full responsibility for the event, and said he wanted to make sure that this was something that never happened again, and wanted to learn more so he could educate his staff and colleagues. We talked about the history of representations of Native people in the US, and I even got into the issues of power and privilege at play–and the whole time, he actually listened, and understood. Such a refreshing experience.
Fashion’s Night Out is now in its fourth year–an annual night for residents of New York, LA, and other fashionable cities to get dressed up in sky-high heels and totter from retail outlet to retail outlet, pushing through hoards of similarly clad city dwellers attempting to partake in free cocktails and canapes. Stores host “celebrity” appearances — though it seems to be mostly reality TV stars and folks whose 15 minutes may have faded a few years ago. Overall, it’s a fun-filled chance to celebrate fashion and leave a huge mess behind for working-class folks to clean up.
Do I sound bitter and jaded about this “fun” and “fashionable” night of joyous revelry? I am. I am because this year, for Fashion’s Night Out, the PR team at Paul Frank in L.A. decided they would host an event called “Dream Catchin’ with Paul Frank” a “pow wow celebrating Fashion’s Night Out.” The Hollywood Reporter described the event as:
… a neon-Native American powwow theme. Glow-in-the-dark war-painted employees in feather headbands and bow and arrows invited guests to be photographed on a mini-runway holding prop tomahawks.
Jessica Metcalfe at Beyond Buckskin posted the photos of the event last night on her FB page, and I honestly couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Just looking at the flyer posted above was enough to send me into a cultural-appropriation Hulk rage. How clever, the font of the “Dream Catchin’” looks like teepees! How clever, the Paul Frank monkey is wearing warpaint and a sacred headdress! How clever, we put him in the center of a dream catcher, complete with pony beads and neon feathers! Continue reading →
By Guest Contributor Jea Kim (aka Onsemiro), cross-posted from My Dear Korea
What the Heck Is Gangnam Style?
PSY finally set the world on fire with a song, Gangnam Seutail (강남스타일, “Gangnam Style”), written and performed by himself. The song is the title track of his sixth studio album, Yukgap (육갑), which can be interpreted two ways: (i) the word originally means “the sexagenary cycle;” but (ii) it is mostly used in a derogatory way as meaning “a total retard.” However, PSY chose this word to express his hope that his sixth (육(六), “six”) album would be the best (갑(甲), “best”). He made a wish and his wish came true. In fact, the song turned out to be a greater success than he had hoped; it became an instant YouTube, and iTunes hit upon its release and also has immediately become a worldwide phenom. And people are beginning to wonder what the heck is “Gangnam style.”
Generally speaking, “Gangnam” is the south of the Han River in Seoul while “Gangbuk” is the north of the river, in which gang means “river” (that is, the Han River); nam is “south,” and buk is north. More specifically, though, it refers to the areas that include Gangnam-gu and Seocho-gu districts as seen below. (Note that Songpa-gu can be considered to be part of Gangnam in a broader sense.) Continue reading →
Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World