The Fairy Princess saw a happy tweet from Actor, Lewis Tan.

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She tweeted back.

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And…Lewis Tan ‘liked’ it. (No, she is not blushing, YOU are blushing)

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As there is no “official’ announcement yet – but as he is an Actor of Mixed Descent, who does Martial Arts, all she can say is HELL YAAAAASSSS (HELLYES) for Lewis Tan – and thanks again, Ed Skrein for being a mensch.

Happy Dance!

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UPDATED: http://variety.com/2017/film/news/daniel-dae-kim-hellboy-replaces-ed-skrein-1202554652/amp/

Variety says the role has gone to Daniel Dae Kim. Very fine actor. Not Mixed race. But all rights- congrats DDK!

Continue Dancing!

Let it be known that TFP is watching the tomfoolery that is happening at North Shore Musical Theater in Mass – casting a EVITA with no Latinx leads – and she had a thought, oh Actor’s Equity.

The Artistic Director cited in his only response thus far, that the theater is the recipient of the Rosetta LeNoire Award from AEA, which was under the LAST Artistic Management Team – she would venture to guess that now is the time to revisit if that award should be rescinded or not.

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TFP is getting REALLY GOOD at screenshots!

Something to consider AEA.

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Then, she read this article from VULTURE where GOT Creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss defended their choice to continue on with their new greenlit show, CONFEDERATE- with African American EP’s Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcom Spellman, who have worked on The Good Wife and Empire respectively.

Now, this foolishness is going to be about what America would be if the South had won the war.

The Civil War.

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Yes.

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TFP knows.

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Hideous idea.

Why?

Cuz we do not need to see a altered reality where Black People are still enslaved!The only people who think this is a good idea, are the four people above. Who are getting paid and paying people to like it.

WHY do they want to do this show the way they are going to do it?

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Because they are both – the GOT Dudes – wait for it –  ‘history buffs’.

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They want to do their own The Man in the High Castle (where the Germans and Japanese won WW2) because then they can use all the Unsullied again. This is not a great idea. TFP knows they THINK it is a great idea – but it is NOT a great idea.

Not for this country right now, where we are – with White Supremacists marching openly and shooting at people and #Charlottesville.

So HERE is an ‘alternate reality’ that these ‘History Buffs’ may also consider – one that would not be offensive to anyone, save perhaps the White Supremacists who love, love, LOVE to see People of Color in chains – be they actual physical chains, chains created by educational mobility and social status, or chains that are institutional systemic racism.

White Supremacists love that sh*t – which is a great reason NOT to do it.

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Here, oh HERE is TFP ‘History Buff Fantasy” – and HBO, seriously, call her because there is a need for some new thinking up in there.

WHAT IF: The Columbus and subsequently the Pilgrims had never come to America and it was ruled by Native Americans?

WHAT IF: The peoples that were here were overwhelmingly Native American, with pockets of Vikings and Chinese – because those ships actually got to America – oh yes they did?

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The Vikings have beendocumented landing in North America500 years before Columbus in Newfoundland, Canada.

Researchers discovered Chinese pictogramsetched into the rocks around the country that are an Ancient Chinese script in Alberquerque, New Mexico which indicate that they arrived around 1,300 B.C. In fact, the pictograms detail (in so far as historical etchings from thousands of years ago can) interaction between the Chinese and Native Americans.

Columbus arrived in 1492.

Not in America – in the Carribbean. At that time, “The New World”.

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What you have now, is an actual premise that elevates people – what if the Vikings took Canada, which is where they landed, and settled there. Of course there would have been bloodshed, because…well, Vikings. That was their ‘thing’. But they have managed to have a peace between the Indigenous Canadians and themselves, a wary peace that is often at odds with individual ambition?

Meanwhile… the Native Americans are trying to mange the vastness that is the Country, and the many tribes that are fighting for supremacy – while also trying to manage the Chinese, who of course would like to settle here en masse .

Meanwhile… people from the Caribbean have made it this way – perhaps on Chinese Armada ships which docked there en route?

Meanwhile…Latinx people who have naturally wandered up through what is now Texas to…who knows? Look for gold because the Aztec Empire is running out of gold and they want everyone to play jai alai?

Everyone is still scheming. Everyone is looking for an ‘up’.

However it is PoC all the way, all the day, in every way!

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Then you could have an exchange of ideas, negotiating, intermarriage perhaps between the Chinese, the Native Americans and their MANY tribes, Caribbean natives, Latinx peoples and the Vikings.

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And if there are a few intrepid French people or English people that have ventured to the Alternate America – they are immediately captured, made to run gauntlets where they are beaten with clubs and  THEN are forced to become servants.

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See what TFP did there?

She changed the narrative, so that it is not offensive.

People are empowered. They have their cultural identities, and yet – of course there is strife and conflict, but it does not come from the open, running wound that is slavery in America.

You need TFP‘s take on ‘alternate history’  – cuz one of her FB friends said it was ‘genius’!

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Now TFP knows some white guy is going to steal this idea. That is what happens – someone is going to run with it, and she will be sad. However – if HBO is serious about all it’s competitions, and searching for diverse talent, well – here is what diverse talent can do.

It can change the narrative.

(Luedtke Agency – call it)

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TFP out.

The Fairy Princess is weighing in on all the whitewashing – and no, it is not Asian…this time.

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It’s the Latinas…they need some intersectional support and TFP gives no f*cks about whether folks agree with her or not – they are going to hear about it.

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We need to talk about Latinx folks losing roles that were literally written with them in mind to Caucasian women who belt and can wear a white dress.

What is she talking about?

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The musical, EVITA, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Tim Rice – originally staged by Hal Prince which starred West End legend, Elaine Page in 1978. Now a staple of the American Musical Theater, and currently, a problem.

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When it came to Broadway in 1979, it starred current Broadway legend, of the Italian American House of LuPone, First of her Name, Destroyer of Cell Phones, Khaleesi Against Illegal Taping of Shows, Patti LuPone.

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Come back with TFP to the 1970’s…

The year is 1972, Tim Rice the lyricist was able to view Carlos Pasini’s film about the second wife of Argentine President, Juan Peron – Eva Peron. It was called Queen of Hearts. He arranged to watch it over and over again, as well as read anything he could get his hands on about her.

In short, he became obsessed. Obsession with writers is the thing to aim for, because that is how work gets finished –  his need to know more about Eva Peron grew.

Rice did the typical things when one becomes obsessed with a subject – he traveled to Bueno Aires to research her extensively, he named his first daughter after her,

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and eventually, he suggested to Andrew Lloyd Webber that they collaborate on a rock opera about her.

They added a character called Che that was loosely based on Che Guevara to act as the Narrator, a giant chorus, and off they went on this delightful rock opera tale of a young girl rising from poverty to power – also, not a bad looker.

Picture taken in the 1940s in Buenos Aires of Eva Peron (1919-52)

That the show was supposed to portray Argentina, was somewhat of a secondary consideration – this was a West End/Broadway musical about a plucky gal from the sticks, who is scolded for her ambition, successes and failures by a man who is an idealist, functioning ironically as commentator.

(He’s like every crunchy guy you dated in college that tells you all about yourself, all the time, in a way that destroys your self esteem, but still makes you fall in love with him – that guy.)

OH – see that, TFP can side comment too….easy Che.

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Back to Eva. Who was a real person.

She dies. That is where the magic lay – in the fact that the show was ultimately tragic. What Eva Peron would have done with the rest of her life is anyone’s guess. The Peron’s were, as so many dictators at the time – beloved, feared, and hated. But they were gorgeous.

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Eva Peron dyed her hair – this is fact. She was dark tressed – and in all the productions of EVITA, the penultimate moment is when she comes out in a giant white ballgown, as a blonde, and sings “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina.”

Now, because Eva dyed her hair – and because of show business in the 1970’s being what it was – a Latina never played Eva Peron. That she dyed her hair is often used as a justification of having her played by a non-Latina.

Here is the interesting thing about Eva Peron – she was descended from Basque people. Now, the Basque region is a mountainous region that borders France and Spain – let us look at map, TFP loves a map.

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See that little tiny orange sliver that is a mountain range?

Well, Eva Peron was descended from that DNA, which has recently been found to be distinct. In fact, it was because the Basques were so isolated, and developed their own language, that they remained in tight knit communities even after many immigrated to countries such as Argentina. It is because of Basque traditions, for example, that Eva Peron’s father could be married to another woman, but still give his last name to his children.

Eva Peron was a proud Latina, and her whole work ethic and cultural identity came from being a Latina, descended from Basque immigrants. She grew up in poverty and she became the First Lady of Argentina. She would insist that Argentina show it’s pride both through the story of her rise, and through the casting choices, and truthfully in this day and age, there is no reason to NOT cast this role with a Latina.

However one of the problems with EVITA – it is very rarely played by an Actress who has Latin or even Hispanic heritage, because it was initially in England played by a Elaine Page and here in the States, by Patti LuPone. That gives some Artistic Directors license, they wrongly believe, to ignore that they are telling a story from a Latin country and they should do their best to reflect that – and they just cast whoever sings loudest.

In fact, right now in Australia, directed by Hal Prince, Eva Peron is being played by Tina Arena, who is a big star in Oz who speaks and sings in several languages fluently, who identifies as Italian. Ms. Arena is a spectacular performer – in this role, she is miscast.

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What was acceptable (but questionable) in the 1970’s does not improve with time. The range and scope of Actors and Actresses who identify as Latinx or Hispanic is broad – far more wide ranging than in the 1970’s and that should be reflected in the portrayals on the stage, television, and film.

With the many conversations going on in Oz about diversity and the lack of it amongst Musical Theater Performers, Mr. Prince was in a rare position to ‘show them how it is done‘, given that New York Theater community is actively courting inclusion.

(Pour one out for The Great Comet)

In truth, the last time that EVITA was done on Broadway, it was not directed by Hal Prince. The show was directed by Michael Grandage who had  Argentinian, Elena Rogers play Eva Peron- but sadly, this is not to be the case Down Under.

BOO!

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(TFP had no real hopes for this production, given that they cast a white man as The King in THE KING AND I because he was the real life boyfriend of the woman playing Anna Leonowens. That part, incidentally, had to be recast with an Asian American lead because the theater community there rebelled.)

She had hoped they could turn it around with EVITA, but they chose not to. As far as TFP believes that Australia has come, you know – since they pardoned a white man for murdering her Great Grandfather because they did not want a man to go to jail for killing ‘a Chinese’, is that they always have some way to showcase racism and homophobia, that just tears at her insides.

Another example of people here in the States choosing not to try for a Latina Evita is the casting of Dee Roscioli, a former Elphaba on Broadway, at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival – Ms. Roscioli is, like Ms. LuPone, of Italian heritage.

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These two productions have relatively large budgets, and of course, are hiring stars that are going to bring a ‘name’ recognition to the show – but the question is – was there an attempt to find a Latina Evita in those cases? Obviously they could afford to look around and offer contracts that were attractive, so the question of looking for a Latinx actress who was a Broadway name should not have been an issue.

From emails between Project Am I Right founder, Lauren Villegas and Artistic Director of the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, it seemed that the attempt to find a Latina performer to play Eva was not actually a concern of his. Ms. Roscioli was a ‘local’ of sorts – she went to college in the area at DeSales University, she had recently played Mrs. Lovett in a Sweeney Todd – there was no way they were not going to go with Dee Roscioli.

The AD’s responses, which TFP  has read, conclusively proves that the issue of white men being the majority of Artistic Directors around the country, has a trickle down effect of white washing roles that should go to people of color.

American Theater Magazine recently did an examination of the Artistic Director positions around the country, and it is safe to say that the overwhelming majority are Caucasian Males – some are ‘woke’, most are not. They ‘care’, they ‘program‘, but they do not take stands often.  For example, they do not seem to program for female playwrights, they do not cast “ethnic’ roles with an eye for inclusion, they seem to revel in male playwrights that are Irish and English and Male, who write roles for people that are Irish and English and Male. They give grants and commission works from other Caucasian males – the cycle is endless.

Even when they cast, say, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, say in Wisconsin or Pennsylvania, they rarely wonder if they should include Jewish performers in their casts  for the same reasons they are excluding Latinx people in EVITAbecause they are in the middle of the country, because they do not have a large population to pull from of diverse actors…..

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What comes of this lack of vision, this reliance on ‘that is the way it has always been done‘ is that People of Color – in this case the wide, WIDE diversity that is the Latinx and Hispanic Acting Community – in many cases, are shut out.

Unable to get appointments, even with Agent representation – most have to try and get a spot at Actors Equity Mandated calls, but honestly, because the majority of Artistic Directors are Caucasian (unless they have lived or attended college in a multi-ethnic city or suburb) they do not have a feel for what the many, MANY varieties of Latinx Actors look like.

In other words – they are not Italian or Greek.

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We know that Italian Americans and Greek Americans are a proud groups – and this is not to disparage them.

Hollywood and Broadway have long worshiped the Aryan appearance, relegating those with slightly more pigment and darker hair to the ‘ethnic’ parts – that was the way showbiz was for decades. It is not anyone’s ‘fault’ – it is the way that show business functioned for years. That was the norm.

It is no longer that bubble where blondes are the heroes, brunettes are the villains and ‘the ethnics’. We cannot just leave it to various groups to portray a variety of people that range from Native Americans to Latinx to Middle Eastern to East and South Asians – it is no longer that ‘simple’ a choice to do that.

In other words, it is not the 1950’s. Or 1979.

It is 2017, almost 2018.

Actors of Color need to be included, and the boiling point is nearing for many of us.

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The most recent entry in this ongoing complexity of establishment versus cultural advancement is the just announced is North Shore Musical Theater’s production of EVITA, which will be going up September 26th – October 3rd.

There are no Latinx leads in this show.

This show about Argentina.

Where is Argentina, you may ask – where, precisely?

It is in Latin America.

Let’s pull up a map – TFP loves maps.

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As you can see, there is Argentina right next to Chile and Uruguay, it borders Paraguay and Bolivia.

Here is who is playing Eva Peron, Miss Briana Carlson-Goodman, who identifies as a white Jewish woman.

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She is absolutely adorable, she can likely sing her face off, TFP would likely like her if TFP met her – this role is miscast.

Not because the Actress did not go in and give a great audition – she likely did, but masquerading as Latina is not, as TFP‘s old improv teacher stated often “the highest percentage choice‘.

Someone always finds out, and in this case, Ms. Carlson-Goodman told Ms. Lauren Villegas, founder of Project Am I Right? that she happens to be Jewish, but she has been told to not self identify because that would impede her ability to get roles.

Wow.

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That the central character of EVITA is not Latina would never be 100 per cent ok in 2017, but if she was perhaps, supported by other Latinx leads – the people playing Che or Peron or Magaldi, with a large, heavy percent of the ensemble being Latinx – perhaps they could argue that Ms. Carlson-Goodman was just ‘the best that came in’, and we would have to accept that.

Except that none of the leads happen to be Latinx.

How can you do a show about ARGENTINA and not have Latinx leads?

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TFP has worked with some blockbuster talent out of the Latinx community – staggeringly gifted people, this  production of EVITA is simply extremely short sighted.

That this does not bother anyone at North Shore is an issue. What it means is that their production is not particularly thoughtful or designed to represent the show in any responsible manner, they are putting forth a caricature.

With what is going on in the country, seeing strong Latina women becomes ever more important- because our current POTUS has done his best to demonize Latinx people. He wants walls, he wants to send children home who have only ever know the United States, who work and pay taxes and build communities.

 If you do not think this constant barrage of dross towards Latinx people from the current administration is NOT part of North Shore’s ambivalence about the choices they have made- you are fooling yourself.

There is no greater source of systemic racism than the examples shown at our highest level of power right now. It is America’s shame to be represented by this administration and it’s pandering to White Supremacy. This lack of empathy, is not only displayed nonchalantly- it is encouraged- and it is what North Shore has effectively co-signed.

They cast Constantine Maroulis as Che – he happens to be…Greek American.

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Again, if Constantine was the only non Latin lead – if effort had been made to cast the rest of the show to reflect Argentina, again, perhaps that would – while still NEVER BEING 100% OK, – it would be simply a roll your eyes moment. We would realize that the show had genuflected at the altar of ‘celebrity’, and roll with it – but again, this is not the case.

 (TFP also wants to acknowledge that Greece is a seaside nation, and as such – genetically it benefits from many invasions and wars – what that entails is a variety of DNA mixing, so it is entirely possible that even though Constantine identifies as a Greek American – there may be more ethnically going on there – generations prior – than simply Eurocentric stuff. African, Arab, Moorish, and European are all involved within that heritage. 

However if Mr. Maroulis has not ever claimed to be anything other than a modern day Greek American, he is a Greek American and his casting here is still problematic.)

Does North Shore honestly believe that PoC are going to come and see this show and say, “Well, looks like Argentina to me?”

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North Shore has a problem – it’s audience is older. It is largely Caucasian. It needs to bring in a larger crowd, a younger crowd, a more diverse crowd to support it’s productions.

They could have done that, had they chosen to have more Latinx Actors and Actresses in this show, and they did not. Eventually what will happen is that they will either change and embrace inclusive casting – or they will continue to exclude PoC, while trying to perform their stories – and the theater will close.

Honestly, it is that simple.

It would be a shame – because it serves up great theater – and people appreciate it, it is a great Massachusetts business, but eventually, karma comes calling, and she is most proudly, a bitch.

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It is not all bad, for those of you collapsing in a heap in the back.

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There are people making an effort, and really coming through – and that is to be acknowledged as well – let’s mention some of those places, places that care. Places that you should support in person if you can – if you cannot be there – perhaps consider purchasing a ticket and donating it to a local who cannot afford to go, but who would love it?

Check it out –

At Asolo Rep in Florida, they have cast Ana Isabelle!

Nov. 13-December 30th, Floridians! Get those tickets, Snowbirds!

At the Actor’s Playhouse in Coral Gables, Florida they have also not only made an effort to cast someone Latina to play Eva, they are also doing half the show’s run in Spanish!

Yes, from October 25 – November 26th, performances will be in English, and then from November 30th – December 17th, they are doing Spanish performances!

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Now, one must ask – why are they doing EVITA in Spanish and English? Because they are located in Miami-Dade County Florida, which has a LARGE Latinx population. They are serving their community and the arts in one fell swoop!

Also this past year – in TENNESSEE, where you would wonder if they ‘could’ get a production of EVITA going correctly – they jobbed in the talent. What is that, North Shore? Yes, they felt they did not have big enough Latinx names so they brought in Eden Espinoza to play Eva Peron at Studio Tenn.

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Likewise in KANSAS CITY, they went about as far as they could go, by casting Marriand Torres in the role. That production, incidentally, is specifically cast with Latinx actors in the main roles. Beginning September 9th!

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So while, yes – North Shore Musical Theater managed to both stunt cast and blow it – elsewhere, in the middle of the country and in Florida, there is hope.

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Who would have thought TFP would be saying that?

North Shore Musical Theater, Aussie EVITA, and Pennsylvania Shakespeare – you get 100 whacks of the wand for pulling this crap – each.

TFP is tired.

Why does this have to be explained over and over?

Latinx actors and actresses are tired.

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Why, when it is SO EASY to consider inclusive casting, do you go SO FAR OUT OF THE WAY to NOT cast with an eye towards authenticity in telling a story?

No, not every Eva needs to be Argentinian descent – but she needs to be Latinx. You have an obligation to tell the best story you can tell, and that includes being inclusive and searching out the people who can authentically tell the story.

If Lin Manuel Miranda can write and cast IN THE HEIGHTS on Broadway, and then go on to write and cast HAMILTON on Broadway, and oh yeah, redo the lyrics to WEST SIDE STORY on Broadway with Latinx and Hispanic talent – then you can find an Eva!

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TFP out.

 

The Fairy Princess is mixed race. We sometimes refer to that as Hapa in the Asian American/Pacific Islander community. Hapa comes from the Native Hawaiian language and it began as Hapa Haole – which meant, “half-foreign’.

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Hapa does not refer to the content of anyone’s Asian or Pacific Islander heritage – and that is something that sometimes gets confused – but refers to the thing that makes them different, the ‘other’ that is oftimes considered a marker of losing one’s heritage if you are of Pacific Islander or Asian heritage. Or honestly, any kind of ethnic diversity, once you mix ‘the other’ into it, people start to lose their minds over it.

The mixing.

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Nowhere in the history of Asian or Pacific Islander peoples have people particularly welcomed these ‘half breed’ children. Though the Native Hawaiians were the most welcoming and Hapa (again, shorthand for Hapa Haole), was not a slur. Which explains why mixed race people particularly of Pacific Islander or Asian descent enjoy using this term, and why it’s usage had expanded into the general lexicon of American language.

Not ‘co-opted‘ – it’s usage is commonplace now, that is an entirely different thing. If we all stopped using words from other languages, we would all have to go back to hand signals and grunting.

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Oscar Hammerstein wrote a whole show about the horror with which mixed raced children are viewed called SOUTH PACIFIC, if you are interested. There are plenty of derogatory names for them, which TFP will not go into – and in general, unless these kids happen to be super smoking hot like Miss Universe Brook Lee,

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who yes, hails from Hawaii, most ‘pureblood‘ people do not welcome Hapas.

(Happy Harry Potter’s Kid goes to Hogwart’s Day, btw)

It is an ‘actual thing.“, as the kids say.

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TFP, she is ‘half-other’. Her heritage is Irish, Chinese, and Welsh – as well as being of dual nationality – Australian and American. She is married to a Korean of Chinese descent American, and thus her child is Korean, Chinese, Irish, and Welsh.

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That someone is of mixed heritage is important because being of mixed heritage, is enough to get one publicly flayed for not being ‘enough.’

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This is not solely the view of people within Pacific Islander or Asian American groups- this is a cross cultural problem within EVERY  group.

If there is one thing that unites us all, it is that the mixing of ethnic heritages (we are not talking Irish/English, or French/Norwegian) that results in different skin tones has never been welcomed by any group.

Ever.

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Here is the issue this week- very well considered by ReAppropriate there is a Native American Actor named Adam Beach.

You have likely seen him in films and on television – he is quite a good actor. TFP has always enjoyed his performances, and he is an advocate in his community as well as being a commercially employed Hollywood actor.

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All to his credit.

Mr. Beach is a leader in his community, and so – people listen when he talks, or posts on social media.

This past week, Mr. Beach took issue with a mixed race Actress named Kelsey Asbille, being hired to play a role of a Native American.

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Mr. Beach identifies Ms. Asbille as Asian American, or rather mixed race Asian American – aka Asian and Caucasian.

The issue is, that Ms. Asbille identifies herself as Asian, Native American, and Caucasian in an interview with The New York Times, and has played Native American before in the film, WIND RIVER.

Here is the direct quote from the article “What’s so Hard about Casting Indian Actors in Indian Roles?” in regards to her playing the role in WIND RIVER:

Kelsey Asbille, who plays Natalie, the young Indian woman who is raped and murdered in “Wind River,” is of Taiwanese, British and Eastern Band Cherokee descent. Although she did not grow up in an indigenous community, she said she had an “intense connection” to Natalie and what she stood for, adding, “This role, more than any other, it’s in my blood.”

In the film WIND RIVER – a film where concerted effort was made to cast authentically – Ms. Asbille passed the test. That film, incidentally, won Taylor Sheridan a Best Director trophy in Cannes.

Then she got another role, a role Mr. Beach felt should go to someone who has been more active in the NA community. This role involves portraying a young wife of Native Heritage who lives on a Reservation in a project called YELLOWSTONE.

Now, the Writer/Director of YELLOWSTONE is Taylor Sheridan, the man who cast her in  WIND RIVER, she is not the main star of the series. The main star is Kevin Costner. She will play the wife of his youngest son.

Did she read for this role, or was it offered? We are not her agents and we do not really know, but it is likely that if the Actor/Director relationship worked well the first time, she had a bit of a head start over other NA Actresses who may have gone in. Again, the Director believes that she has NA heritage. He is accepting of her mixed heritage, as he should be.

Interestingly quoted in that same NY Times article, is Professor Carla Pratt who stated:

“Being Indian is more of a political and cultural identity than racial, explained Carla Pratt, a professor at Penn State University and a justice of the Supreme Court of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “We do have a reluctance to accept someone who doesn’t fit that stereotypical image.”

Which explains why Mr. Beach is very ‘dug in’ in his opinion about her playing the role.

In other words, while the Census and the Director would perhaps consider Ms. Asbille to ‘count’, Mr. Beach would not – because he is concerned with both community awareness and participation, as much as he is concerned about acting.

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That this ‘controversy’ is really a thinly disguised purity test is not a surprise to TFP.

No one has ever truly welcomed racial mixing, and even as our world continues to evolve, those of us on the front lines will continue to take the hits. This, even as it is acknowledged that racial mixing will continue and it will be a larger segment of the population of America moving forward.

Lest we forget, Chloe Bennet recently had to respond to people who criticized her for changing her surname from her Father’s last name to his first name, because of what she called out as the bias of Hollywood.

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Keanu Reeves, Dwayne Johnson, Moon BloodgoodNancy Kwan, Merle Dandridge, and every other person of mixed race descent  have all had to explain their right to tell stories that they were entitled to tell based on Family History.

Imagine if you were under as much scrutiny as a mixed race Actor or Actress- eternally justifying your existence – having to constantly avow your ‘loyalty’ to every faction to which you do and should lay claim.

“But I make my own (insert traditional dish)”

“I practice traditional dance every day”

“I have tattoos that show my pride in my heritage.”

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You would be as exhausted as TFP is- and that is not something she would wish on anyone. Inherent in the need to justify – is also blatant sexism – women are asked to explain themselves more than men- this is common to all women.

People always want women to explain themselves more than men.

An example would be Actor Jason Momoa, who has a host of races within his heritage, and also played a mixed race Native American in his series on Netflix, FRONTIER. His being of mixed descent is a huge plot point and he is surrounded by Indigenous Actors and Actresses who also have roles of great importance within the show. He used his heritage to help get the project off the ground, and he used it as a plot point.

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TFP recalls absolutely no one questioning his ‘right’ to self identify as Native American.

Of course, Jason Momoa is JASON MOMOA!!

No one is going to ‘check’ Drogo.

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No one.

But a young gal in her twenties…they will come for her.

Because, men.

The issue to TFP is the bias that is shown towards people of mixed heritage on a regular basis.

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If we audition and happen to do the best that day, it is never ‘unchallenged‘ unless there is a qualifier, a reason that ‘purebloods‘ can accept for our casting. ‘She is fluent…’ or ‘They are an expert in…’ there has to be what TFP laughingly refers to as ‘plausible inclusivity’ when we are cast.

When the truth is – we all get called in, we all look a variety of ways within our ‘grouping’, we all read, someone reads ‘the best’.

They get the job as long as the physicality of the actress fits the role and casting finds them credible.

Bias, for mixed people is everywhere – there is honestly very little winning.

For example, on her personal Social Media page, TFP had people discussing the fact that Major Ben Daimio, who has been identifed as a mixed race person both by Ed Skrein and in press reports was ‘probably not mixed race’ and ‘they didn’t care, but probably not“- because it is hard for people to embrace mixed race people if they come from a homogenus background.

ON HER OWN SOCIAL MEDIA WALL.

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(She still loves them, but come ON!)

That is bias against the concept of mixed race people – even if it comes from well respected and talented people.

It is still bias. 

It is ingrained in our various cultures that Mixed People signal the end of culture, when that is usually very far from the truth. Mixed Race people, TFP has found, in general, try harder to get those cultural representations correct- we have a lot to ‘prove’, that is the load we carry, every day.

That Ms. Asbille is proud to represent for Native Americans is not something that has been taken into consideration – what is important is that she participate in activities that the Native American Acting Community, and Mr. Beach deem worthy.

TFP imagines that he has a list.

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Mr. Beach said that Native American actresses should not have to wake up and be slapped in the face by Ms. Asbille’s casting. 

Mr. Beach never envisioned what Ms. Asbille’s morning was, as a mixed raced person, to wake up to being personally attacked on the internet, being slapped in the face by the reasoning that she was not ‘enough’ to ‘count’.

Of course, he is the counter of all things.

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However if the ‘greater’ NA Community is against ‘blood purity’ aka “Genetic Marker” teststhen the issue should be moot, especially as the IPCB – Indigenous People’s Council on Biocolonialism has this on their front page:

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Here is a ‘still’ from the film WIND RIVER –

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Ms. Asbille did not say she was 100% Native American – she says she has heritage from Eastern Band Cherokee. TFP does think she looks like she has ‘more’ in her DNA than Asian and Caucasian. 

To TFP, she looks ‘extra’ .

TFP is familiar with these issues, and what mixed race NA people could look like. The range of what appearance ‘could be’ is vast- it involves every sort of eye shape and color, skin tone, and hair shade and texture. She is familiar with this because her Father represented two Tribes.

 Her Father, who was not Native American ( he was Irish American) but who was a Tribal Judge and a lawyer for both the Abernaki tribe in Vermont, and the Schagticoke Tribe in Connecticut before he passed, made her aware of some of the issues facing the Tribes in question. She would drive him up to the Rez, talk to the Chief….

TFP is perhaps more aware of some of the issues facing the NA population than, say, the average person –  she is not an expert – but she is familiar – and this is what it comes down to:

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The first Europeans who settled in America visited enacted tragedies upon the Native Americans.

This is not up for debate – they did it.

They raped. They murdered. They deliberately stole the children from Tribes, and sent them to schools where they were not allowed to speak their native language and they cut their hair. 

They deliberately removed them from their traditional lands and placed them on lands where nothing would grow. They spread contagion and death through smallpox deliberately. 

They sent them on the Trail of Tears that killed thousands. They used the Native American populations in ways that are unspeakable.

This was all deliberate.

The repercussions of what was done to NA Tribes is with us today and will honestly never be fixed unless America looks hard at itself and takes massive steps to improve the situations that keep NA people from thriving within modern America.

It was done by the White people and it was done as part of a concerted Government Effort because historically, White People like to take things that other people have.

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Thus, many Native Americans – not all Native Americans, but many, will have strands of alternate DNA within their genes. In the 2010 Census, it was shown that nearly half of all Native Americans and Indigenous Alaskans claim to be of mixed race.

This does not negate their cultural identification or love of being Native American.

What it means is that their ancestors survived.

They did what they had to do. They may have fallen in love, they may have used what they had to escape what was worse. They may have had no choice in the matter. 

They were strong and proud and people of mixed heritage are living testaments to their strength and will to survive. They are , to a certain extent, definitive comment that walks and breathes that shows America no matter what happens- Native Americans are stronger than anything thrown at them by racist and sexist America.

They survived. Again, to reference what the Professor said above, Native American Identity is equally political and community driven, as it is racial.

There is the issue of tribal cards and what it means being part of a tribe – now, the rules of joining and substantiating a claim of heritage are strict. This does not account, on many levels for the sustained attack that the Native American population has had thrust on it. Many people left and did not look back.

Both for personal and for socio-economic reasons.

The fact that they left, does not negate their being Native American.

It does, in many cases affect their heirs attaining ‘tribal status’ or to being able to obtain a ‘card’. While there are issues with the ‘card’ system, it is the system we have currently in the United States and adjustments are being made constantly.

So if there is no ‘genetic marker’ test desired by the larger NA community – then what is the issue with Mr. Beach?

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Well, like most actors – he wanted one of his friends to get the role.

TFP totally understands this inclination, everyone likes people they know to succeed.

 The point of representing the community through various types of activities is a valid one – but it is ‘sticky’ because sometimes people are not ‘joiners’, and sometimes younger actors really are just focused on their careers and not attending different events.

Community Awareness tends to grow as one ages, in TFP‘s observation.

Again, if Ms. Asbille is not in any way NA, TFP will jump right on that bandwagon and implore her to not take the role, as Mr. Skein did not take the role of Major Ben.

But what if she is Native American? 

What does the NA Community do with her then? 

No one is allowed to ‘swab’ anyone else to prove something – but let’s say she chooses to do it as a way to prove herself – because again, mixed race people continually must prove themselves – and it is totally and completely legit and she is definitively NA.

Where does it end?

Do they invite her participation at a greater level? Do they ‘court’ her as a potential Activist?

TFP is sure that that would be the greater end game to play. To involve her. Perhaps she will not like it and choose not to continue to participate, and it will make her not respond to Native American castings. Perhaps she will become involved on that community level.

However, as she and Chloe Bennet have stated – what they do as people, change their names, or color their hair – that does not negate what is in their blood, and Ms. Asbille will likely continue to represent as Native American. Certain people will again take issue – because she is mixed race.

The cycle begins again.

The optics of People of Color attacking other People of Color as to their ‘worthiness’ and what percentage they have in their DNA are bad. The writing of this blog or any blog  will not ameliorate this situation. 

However TFP felt this should be addressed.

Yes, there have been issues in the past with Elizabeth Warren and Johnny Depp – and those kinds of issues will play out again and again. Ms. Asbille is not taking on a role that was mired in trope as Mr. Depp did, she is taking on a role of a modern NA woman that will ostensibly be written as a nuanced piece, it is not the same as Mr. Depp’s playing Tonto, and it should not be compared as such.

(BTW TFP was in the Diversity Showcases for FOX and due to a scheduling issue with her scene partner – they had to go up on the night of the Native American showcase, so she is well aware that there are many and varied Native American talents out there, and she wishes there were more projects out there to showcase them.

Yes – the scheduling snaffoo was explained, as was the fact that we were not trying to represent as NA – and our scene was up last – to prevent any misunderstanding in that regard.

Anyway, she is fully aware of the greatness of the NA Acting community, and she wanted to acknowledge that. She is FULLY supportive of Native American heritaged people being cast as Native American)

Here is what TFP thinks- as a mixed raced person herself –  and one whose Family is mixed in multiple ways-

(her extended family includes people who are of Australian Aboriginal heritage, Asian heritage, Brazilian heritage, French Canadian heritage, African American heritage, White European heritage) 

When a Person of Color claims a certain heritage – she is inclined to believe them.

There is no real benefit to lying about heritage when you are mixed race – because to most people, you are not enough. Of anything. The more mixed you are, the more upset they seem to get.

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Mixed raced people are Sisyphus going up the hill, again and again, only to have that giant boulder come crashing down on them, with the words “DOESN’T COUNT” emblazoned on the side of it.

People in this country like things to be clear cut. They like definitive answers and bright colors. They like things to be to be in absolutes. Good guy, bad woman. Locker room banter versus her emails. No shades of gray.

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When you are dealing with mixed race people – things are not simple. They are messy. They are complicated. There are constant ‘tests’ from people who try and define what exactly you are. – so the question TFP leaves you with is –

When do we stop asking mixed raced people to prove how much they count?

When do we let them just be?

It’s a valid question.

Look, certain people have asked that the AAPI community turn on Ms. Asbille because they equate it to Ed Skrein being cast as Major Ben Daimio. 

Many have. It is in their purview. TFP cannot tell people what to do -but this is not the same situation as HELLBOY.

This is not a Caucasian playing a mixed raced Asian. This is a person of multiple heritages who – unless proved otherwise – should be believed. 

Let her do her job.

If it comes out she is not NA – that is something else entirely – if she embarrasses the NA community – again, that is something else entirely. However TFP does not think she is out to do that, she thinks Ms. Asbille will do her job.

Dismantling bias against people of mixed race is hard – people look at us and feel we are the reason that they are losing their culture. That the complexity of our ancestors survival which is written in our features threatens their way of life – and in such a way that we cannot be accepted for the many things that we are.

It is time for that to end- if we learn nothing from #Charlottesville and #HurricaneHarvey about the importance of sticking together and supporting one another, that would be a shame.

Representation is important and vital – but the judging of it, of one another, the quantifying and quizzing of mixed race people has had it’s time.

It is now upon mixed race people to reclaim it.

 

The Fairy Princess is not often surprised.

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Other than the Ice Dragon. That was surprising.

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However today she learned that British Actor, Ed Skrein withdrew from a major film he was cast in, HELLBOY.

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He was set to play a character of mixed Asian descent-  Major Ben Daimio – who specifically was of Japanese descent.

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There was a Twitter uprising amongst Asian America- who have been whitewashed from so many projects that…well we were going to need a bigger t-shirt.

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Which you can order here, btw.

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The Fairy Princess can acknowledge when people change their mind- there was so much about this that was as disturbing about this casting.

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Not only that Ed Skrein was cast, but the welcomed effusively by the comic’s creator, Mike Mignola. Imagine being a writer and ‘having to’ sign off on a character that could not possibly portray the character you wrote, in which his background was of vital importance?

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Imagine an Exec Female Producer, such as HELLBOY‘s Christa Campbell who took absolute delight in telling everyone to *uck off, because she ‘did not see color’ and also, her family has some Thai heritage.

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Seems the only one who listened to the audience and the activists was Ed Skrein.

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For which TFP says ‘Bravo!’

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Standing up for your own dignity as an Actor is hard.

Standing up against the studio system that cast you, is hard.

Not cashing a sizable paycheck and the resulting flack from all those who get a piece of that paycheck, is hard.

The truth is, while TFP does not suggest that Mr. Skrein has issues with a healthy balance in his bank account the truth is, we simply do not know his life– we do not.

Which is why, People of Color need to acknowledge specifically that this was an important thing Mr. Skrein did and not just dance party it up and gloat.

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Now, of course partially his desire to flee this role, may be in part because he had no desire  to be trolled by ASIAN TWITTER- but at some core level- his reasons for withdrawing to TFP seem sincere.

The man will be taking a financial hit to ‘do the right thing’ – and that is where change begins.

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TFP does believe that Mr. Skrein probably had no idea that Major Ben Daimio had Asian ancestry in his background as a character, he probably had not read HELLBOY before, or at least not in a while.

She buys it.

Now – everyone that trolled Mr. Skrein on Twitter, go and do the right thing – write him back and THANK HIM – because he is the ONLY ONE WHO HAS DONE THE RIGHT THING!

Even if ‘we’ the general viewing public do not see what this has cost him, people who have worked in Hollywood know that he will likely pay some kind of ‘price’ for this.

And if you happen to own a mochi ice cream/bubble tea/shaved iced desert place – send him a free coupon!

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(Why not? Everyone loves coupons!)

Mr. Skrein – THANK YOU. Sincerely.

TFP gave you a hard time, but she is very grateful you stood up.

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Jolly good show!

And in case you need a refresher course to serve to Matt, Tilda, Emma or Scarlett should they send condolences, just tell them…

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TFP out!

The Fairy Princess was enjoying the summer.

WONDER WOMAN was very cool.

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GOOK in theaters now – very cool.

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Also, new film announced starring Ali Wong and Randall Park!

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On Netflix and written by Michael Golcamo.

So relatively, the summer was looking fairly good.

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Well, the parts of the summer that involved the sun, staying away from the news which everyday threatened the United States with a tsunami of public disasters – and for our poor Guam, actual destruction…

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#RESIST!

In light of Charlottesville and the death of Heather Heyer, and the undeniable racism that rears it’s head higher and higher every day, with the full complicity of the White House and it’s minions of mayhem…getting upset about casting decisions may seem silly.

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It may seem trite, and it may seem like ‘we’, People of Color, are being petty. Like – why does it matter that someone is Caucasian and playing Eva Peron (more on that later, so much more) or Caucasian and playing a person of mixed raced? Why does it matter?

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It matters because when you allow your casting decisions to erase our images from the screen, we, the general public wind up thinking that Greece, and particularly Olympus is populated by Irish, Australian, and British people who throw PoC down wells!

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When Greece is actually a country that can cited several strains of DNA in their general population because of wars and because they were seaside!

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It matters because Egypt is not made of those British, Irish, Australian people either!

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Because of Hollywood erasing the histories – the ACTUAL histories of People of Color from around the world into some Aryan nightmare – we, the pop culture imbibing world wind up with stories that we are NOT included in – even if we were there.

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Even if they are ‘our’ stories.

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What is the end result?

Oh, just our humanity and existence.

You know. No biggie.

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Except it is a ‘biggie’.

When you erase people from stories in which they were included – you tell the world that their ability to be in those stories is conditional on white approval.

When you erase people from there stories it is very easy to throw them down and stomp on them, or shoot them, or rape them and knife them 32 times – because the people that do these things have been fed a diet that the lives of People of Color. LGBTQ, Disability are conditional.

To put it bluntly – Hollywood and Theater and their casting policies are partially responsible for the racism rising in this country.

It is not rocket science.

You want white people to acknowledge the sufferings of others? What if they live somewhere where they do not see ‘others’? Then they are fed a diet of a world in which only white people ‘exist’? On TV, on their stages, on their movie screens?

Think it does not contribute?

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Anyway – let’s go with “whitewashing casting decisions for $200, Alex” and start this blog off right…so there is this comic book series called HELLBOY.

Perhaps you have heard of it?

Anyway, there is a character in there named Ben Daimio who is…wait for it – Hapa.

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For those not from Hawaii where the term originated, he would be of mixed raced – he is Japanese/Italian and he is American. The author used Daimio for the last name which is a play on the Japanese term, Daimyo, which means ‘a vassal of the shogun’ in Feudal Japan.

So the name has meaning, of a specific term, but it has been changed in spelling to a more Italian looking name. Probably to be more American.

Because what says American more than a person of mixed race?

Absolutely nothing.

That is about as American as it gets.

Take a look at him.

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Sadly, poor old Ben gets attacked on a mission – action movie, of course there is a mission – and gets half his face pretty much ripped off trying to rescue a pack of Nuns in the Bolivian jungle.

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Because…comic books.

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Therefore, because of course – Hollywood, they took a look at the source material and thought “Who could possibly represent a mixed race Asian American with some supernatural shapeshifting powers that honors the comic’s original intent?”

So of course, they chose this guy…

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YES – Brit Ed Skrein will play the jaguar shape shifting Major Ben because… of course. The film is being directed by Neil Marshall, who helms GAME OF THRONES.

Just to be clear, they did not choose THIS guy:

Lewis Tan

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Or this guy:

Ian Anthony Dale – who is actually OF Japanese descent, and currently on Hawaii 5.0

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Or this guy:

Daniel Henney

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Or this guy:

David McInnis

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Or this guy:

Dwayne Johnson

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Or this guy:

Jason Momoa, (who was ON Game of Thrones…)

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Or THIS guy:

Keanu Reeves

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and honestly…TFP is totally forgetting people, there are more – and that is because she is not actually awake at the current time.

She is pulling down racism in her sleep, because she is so DAMN TIRED of this bullshit.

(Just to be clear, Daniel Henney and Dave McInnis are of Korean descent, Jason Momoa is of Native Hawaiian and Native American descent, Dwayne Johnson is of Samoan descent, and Lewis Tan is of Chinese Singaporean descent.)

Look, they did not even call one of the O.G. Hapas!

Ladies and Gentlemen…the Vanishing Son himself – RUSSELL WONG!!!!

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The point is of course, that the character is of mixed descent. That is the important part – while TFP totally agrees that every single thing about a comic book character origin story is specific and interesting (please don’t send her email) – in this case the requirements to be cast would be:

  1. Adept at Action Film Acting & Stunts
  2. Mixed descent Asian
  3. American – he is specifically American.
  4. Probably good looking – because…in films they like everyone to be good looking even if they have horrible scars and so on, underneath, they could stop traffic through their utter desirability.

TFP tried to stay within those boundaries – and that was the list she came up with.

And…they are still going to go with the British White Dude because all that really exists at the top of the Hollywood food chain ARE British White Dudes – so ask yourself, having seen the choices above where they could have gotten it ‘so right’ and chose not to – did they do their ‘due diligence’?

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Did they stay loyal and true to the intent and spirit of the comic book as written?

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Is almost everyone announced in this cast thus far British and white?

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Now decide – are you going to support this film when it comes out?

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Even if you are a giant fan of the comic?

Even if all your friends are going and you know, that is what the group chose to do?

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No.

You are going to use your ticket and you are going to “vote”.

That is the only ‘power’ the consumer has.

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What will be, will be – and if it has enough of an impact, maybe next time, they WILL cast a Person of Color where a Person of Color ought to be!

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TFP out.

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The Fairy Princess is sad today because there is Broadway infighting over the status of the role of Pierre, in The GREAT COMET, which opened November 14, 2016. Directed by Rachel Chavkin, the show was nominated for 12 TONY Awards for the 2016 -2017 season. Of those twelve, they won two –  Mimi Lien for Best Scenic Design for a Musical and Bradley King for Best Lighting Design of a Musical,

If you have not heard of THE GREAT COMET – which wound up going against the juggernaut that is DEAR EVAN HANSEN, here is an official video that they put out of one of their songs, Charming, by the frankly, awe-inspiring Amber Grey :

According to all sources – Broadwayworld, The Hollywood Reporter, NY Times, Variety, etc – what happened was this – one of the supporting leads from the Original Broadway Cast of HAMILTONOkieriete Onaodowan, who played Hercules Mulligan/James Madison, was cast as Pierre in The Great Comet.

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He was supposed to be there for nine weeks. (It was never forever).

In the meantime, during those nine, sorry, eight weeks, while his performance was meeting the demands of the fans –  ticket sales fell. They always fall during this time, unless they have a superstar in them because…people go on vacation. Not everyone vacations in New York City.

That they fell is not a surprise – the show had been pulling in a million in ticket sales per week because they had international vocal superstar, Josh Groban and his millions of fans from all over the world. This was Mr. Groban‘s first Broadway role, for which he received a TONY nomination.

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Mr. Groban departed.

Mr. Onaodowan was cast. He was supposed to go into the show on July 3rd.

Singer/Songwriter Ingrid Michaelson went in on July 3rd. Brittain Ashford was announced to be taking a temporary leave to facilitate that. The Producers had 2 ‘names’ going in at the same time, to try and bump sales after Mr. Groban left.

Mr.Onaodowan went in July 11th.

Ms. Michaelson is scheduled to leave on August 15th.

At this point, ticket sales are in the August/September danger zone. Producers start to panic.

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Mr. Onaodowan was asked to cut short his run by three weeks, with a possibility of returning to the role at a later date, due the schedule of TONY Winner, Mandy Patinkin, who agreed to come in during the time he was on vacation from his television show.

Mandy Patinkin had a limited window he could perform, and still do his television show – those were the ONLY three weeks he was available, and they were not up for debate because his vacation had already been set by the television studio.

If they wanted Mandy Patinkin, it was those three weeks or nothing.

Now, TFP has read some of the comments on social media with a lot of people, who are under the age of 30, saying “Who is Mandy Patinkin?”

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SIDEBAR:

KITTENS –

Listen, here are the optics of being a grown ass person – if you do not know someone’s resume, do yourself a favor and look it up. Search Engines are your friend. No one has time to school your ignorance on who Mandy Patinkin is.

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That being said, he is a TONY and EMMY winning actor who has hit television shows, been in movies like The Princess Bride and Yentl, and is an all round actors actor badass.  Went to Julliard. Just like Philippa Soo, who originated Natasha in this show at Ars Nova.

The other thing that gives him a connection to this material in THE GREAT COMET is, that he is by heritage, descended from Russian Jews.

The karma that a people who allowed pogroms to happen in Russia are now having a segment of one of the greatest novels of their country being told by a Russian Jewish descendant is frankly, one of the great cosmic revenges of the theater.

If you don’t know what a Pogrom was – two words – search engine.

Also, go see INDECENT before it closes, it is magical.

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Now, the optics on this are bad – from the Producer’s end, it was bungled. This, by the way, is fully acknowledged by the Producers themselves, who released this statement::

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This was not only in response to the social media backlash about Patinkin going in before Onaodowan, it was in response to an email that Onaodowan had sent the cast and the statement about his leaving that he made on Instagram.

Here is the text from Mr. Onaodowan‘s Instagram:

I always try to speak from my heart with love after listening. I have listened. I am more than grateful for all the love and support from the community and fans have shown me. It makes what we do and deal with as artists easier when you know many people do indeed have your back and that you are valued for their work. In spite of everything, I am grateful to have had the time to bring this character to life with a remarkable cast that truly makes the Imperial Theater a sacred space every night. My Pops would always tell me to be aware of the company you keep. I’m fully aware of the remarkable talents this cast holds, with Denee at the helm. My work is just a reflection of what they bring, have brought, and will continue to bring, be it me, Mandy, whomever is co-pilot to Denee. AUGUST 13th WILL BE MY LAST SHOW. I will not be returning. So make room in your schedule between now and Aug 13th. Come through, have a drink, and let’s celebrate the time we have because as always, that is all we are guaranteed. We make the most of the gifts we are given and I’m driven to deliver a defining moment in time, with every line I let loose on stage.

It is safe to say that people went a crazy once they did the math and realized that “Oak’ would be leaving before his announced time was up.

His time from July 11th.

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All sorts of people weighed in – TONY Winners, regular civilians, Hamilfans – they all railed away – as many of us do, when a casting situation based on skin tone seems to be happening. They Tweeted, they “Insta’d”, they wrote comments and blasted people on Social media.

So much so, that Mr. Patinkin dropped out.

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Those who were particularly loud on the social media did not do, however, the one thing that the show needed, which was to purchase a ticket to see the show starring Mr. Onaodowan.

The show currently has no star in the role of Pierre once August 13th comes about – and that puts an entire company in very real danger of closing. Not just the actors – the House Staff, the Dressers, the Wig Dept, the Costume Dept, the Teamsters, the Lighting Crew…the list goes on… – this is the one of the two most diverse shows on Broadway at the current time – and this is a big deal.

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Social media backlash is a weapon, and yes, TFP has been known to deploy it. She does not apologize for having done so in the past, she does not apologize for possibly needing to do it in the future – it is what it is. For PoC, of which TFP is one, it is sometimes our only means to answer social issues.

However if you are going to charge racism, you have to look not just at this one act, but at the pattern of the Creative Team of GREAT COMET.

What have they done in the past?

The Cast is meant to represent a time in Russia during the novel of WAR AND PEACE by Tolstoy. It is a segment of the novel – which is huge – that tells the story of “Natasha” – the nickname for Countess Natalya Ilyinichna Rostova and how she was targeted and fell for Prince Anatole Vasilyevich Kuragin, who was already married when he began pursuing her. She was engaged to a Prince – that pretty much does not work out once she meets his family and they are cold to her. “Pierre” is a family friend, who is the Brother in Law of Prince Anatole, as well as being a scholar and a man dissatisfied with his wife and life.

Now, in 1869, when the novel was published, Russian nobility looked like this:

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This is Grand Duchess Olga, when she was Princess of Wurtemberg.  Most of the Russian aristocrats looked similar. Varieties in hair color aside.

Originally, Natasha was played by TONY Nominee from HAMILTON, Philippa Soo, who left COMET to do HAMILTON.  After which they cast their own TONY Nominee, Denee Benton and understudying Ms. Benton, they cast Shoba Narayan. (Who TFP saw, and who was fabulous)

You can see that there was not just one attempt, but several successes to make the story of Russian aristocrats – who were (as written) selfish and extravagant and fairly white, though passionate people – come alive through more than just reasonable facsimiles. In short, Natasha was never cast as a white woman, though in truth, she would have been one.

The choice was deliberate. The choice was outstanding. The choice has given us three new leading ladies who are also People of Color – thus going head to head with the argument of ‘we cannot find any’, which is often used to negate progress of People of Color in lead roles.

Likewise the ensemble.

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Out of a cast of 35, hired to tell the story of Imperial Russia -there are 15 People of Color – there are women in lead roles, there are people who are instrumentalists and dancers, some are both – this is, an inclusive cast – one of the best TFP has seen. As they whirl around creating chaotic and beautiful madness, you cannot help but be astounded by the variety of people portraying a variety of people.

It is glorious, and again, it is deliberate. Many people in the show are making their Broadway debuts. Again, this goes against the grain of Broadway, to have so many people getting their first break in such great number. However, again – it is a deliberate attempt to advance the narrative that Broadway does not have to look a certain kind of way for people to buy tickets or buy a story line.

Diversity means dollars.

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The Producers invested in Rachel Chavkin’s vision. She and Dave Molloy had developed this show over 5 years. First at Ars Nova, then in a friggin TENT…anywhere and everywhere to give their Little Show That Could a voice and a space.

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How many female directors of musicals are there who have directed Broadway shows? Get out your fingers, kids, you may need at least seven of them.

The budget for this show is high. Officially it is $12 million dollars, though when that was given out, Michael Reidel went through the investment papers in 2016 and he wrote that he thought by the time GREAT COMET opened it would be closer to $14 million.

So to the question, does The Fairy Princess think the Producers made a decision (which they bungled completely) intentionally out of racism?

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She does not.

She does think that they felt desperate, and she thinks they were looking avidly for a ‘solution’ to the Aug/Sept Broadway slump, which, by the way, no one has ever been able to solve but Lin-Manuel Miranda, the second time.

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Even current members of the Company do not think this was based on race – as evidenced by this impassioned statement from ensemble member, Azudi Onyejekwe.

That it did not occur to them that replacing a Person of Color with a Person of Religious Minority but Caucasian features would be considered awkward is both a slight indictment of their privilege and also, an indication, that that was not their first or even second thought.

Their first thought was “let’s keep our diverse cast open and representing”.

They f**ked up.

These Producers have, by the diversity of their cast, by investing in the talent of Rachel Chavkin and Dave Molloy- they have demonstrated that they have seen what they can do for Broadway’s future by committing to inclusiveness, and they have stuck to it.

They made mistakes and the optics look terrible.

TERRIBLE!

Society is of course, absolutely racist and sexist.

No feelings are invalidated here, everyone should feel exactly as they are feeling.

All the feels. ALL OF THEM.

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TFP does not believe in attacking a show and a cast that shows inclusion in such an extreme way because of mistakes from panicking producers, who – just as they did with Ms. Brittain Ashford (who is white), asked Mr. Onaodowan to step down temporarily for a ‘bigger name’. That they asked that of Ms. Ashford, and she complied (however she felt about it we do not know) made them think that asking was not a big deal.

It was a stupidly big deal.

Both times.

They got caught the second time.

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So who to ask to come in that has a International reputation, has done the 8 show grind, and possibly an award nomination or two? In short – let’s get over the blame game and suggest some alternates.

What is done, is done.

There is no ‘winner’ here – Oak is out, Mandy is out – absolutely no winners here.

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TFP is going to throw some names out there – some are in a show currently, but, so what? Some possibly out of the country?

So what?

Make the calls.

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 RICKY MARTIN.

Beard. Has done Broadway – EVITA revival, LES MIS. International recording star with huge fanbase. Pop voice is flawless. Can play other instruments. Age appropriate.

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BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL.

Has beard. Sings his face off. An Actor of grativas and forbearance – his Coalhouse Walker is still something that can stop TFP in her tracks. Also – TONY WINNER!

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RAMIN KARIMLOO

Beard. Amazing voice. International appeal – he is Persian from Canada. Broadway debut he got a TONY NOMINATION for playing Jean ValJean in LES MISERABLES.

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NORM LEWIS

Currently doing SWEENEY TODD off Broadway, but Hugh Panaro was announced to replace him, so…he could leave early?

Beard. Vocal chops for days. Tons of Broadway credits including a TONY NOMINATION for PORGY & BESS.

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HAYDEN TEE.

Native New Zelander of Maori Descent (Oh didn’t know that did you? Mixed race Polynesians-  they get the job done too).

Been doing LES MISERABLES all over the world. Singing STARS.

Singing his face off. Saw it. Amazing.

And… has beard.

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There are five.

Five suggestions.

From TFP – and if any of them wind up happening, she wants –

NOT A GODDAMN THING JUST DO NOT CLOSE THIS SHOW IT IS GORGEOUS!

 

TFP out.

The Fairy Princess has a hot second to spare, but she just has to chime in on the latest statement from CBS regarding the non renewal of the contracts of Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kimthe ones in the middle.

The ones ‘selling us’ Hawaii, and the American scene that IS Hawaii.

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Now, the above photo is CBS’s own marketing team – this was how, in the first season, they sold the show to audiences across the country.

Who is in the middle, a position usually reserved for the ‘stars’ of the show?

That’s right, Park and Kim.

The Asian/Americans.

(Ms. Park is a dual citizen of Canada and USA)

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Let’s try this again – and again, TFP reminds you – this is marketing that CBS put out themselves, she is just pulling down the images from the interweb –

Who is featured prominently?

Park and Kim.

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Which is why CBS’s statement about how they ‘tried’ to come to terms with their two Asian/American leads, but could not is, well – bullshit.

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When two reliable series regulars insist on financial equality during the seventh season – you give it to them.

After seven seasons, they have clearly ‘proven’ themselves – as Actors of Color are constantly asked to do, to repeatedly ‘prove’ themselves.

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Television is a medium where Actors of Color are constantly reminded that they should be ‘grateful’ to get the job. Where they are ‘local hires’, even if they were auditioned on another coast. Where they have to arrange their own housing or child care, simply because “they’ do not expect to be treated equally – because they never have been.

Where ‘we’ are all in that vending machine in Toy Story, waiting to be chosen.

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Until we go home with Sid, the toy butcher.

IT IS ENOUGH ALREADY – WE DO NOT HAVE TO BE GRATEFUL TO HAVE TALENT AND TO BE OF VALUE TO A TELEVISION SERIES SET IN A STATE WHERE WE OUTNUMBER THE CAUCASIANS AT OVER 72%!

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(That is Asians, Hapas, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders combined)

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According to Variety, this is what was sent out by CBS

“CBS offered “large and significant salary increases” to keep Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park in the cast of “Hawaii Five-0,” the network said Wednesday after Kim said via Facebook that he was unable to come to a deal with CBS to return to the long-running series.

“Daniel and Grace have been important and valued members of “Hawaii Five-0” for seven seasons,” CBS said in a statement. “We did not want to lose them and tried very hard to keep them with offers for large and significant salary increases. While we could not reach an agreement, we part ways with tremendous respect for their talents on screen, as well as their roles as ambassadors for the show off screen, and with hopes to work with them again in the near future.”

Now – keep in mind – whatever the significant increases – they were still LESS than Scott Caan and Alex O’Loughlin – who are making about $200K an episode. Plus more money on the back end – which is part of a production deal that was worked out when they came to the show in 2009/2010.

Now – this backend deal is ‘interesting’ because according to Variety “The backend stakes that O’Loughlin and Caan commanded reflect the leverage that the two actors brought to the show when it was assembled in the 2009-2010 development cycle.”

Hmmmm, the ‘leverage’?

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TFP thought she would look up this alleged leverage to see if she can make sense of that – because she is confused.

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Battlestar Galactica ran for four seasons, and according to IMDB.com – was rated 8.7 out of a 10 point rating for quality – meaning the cast, storyline and production values. Ms. Park was on that show all four seasons.

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It was the winner of 3 EMMY awards for Production. It won BEST SERIES from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror films in 2007. That same year, 2007  it won awards from AFI, ALMA and was nominated and/or won from a host of other entertainment entities. Including the prestigious Peabody Awards, which it won, in 2006. In 2009, it won the Television Critics Award for Best Show.

LOST – ran for six years, from 2004 -2010, according to IMDB.com. Mr. Kim was on the show all of those seasons.

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LOST won 105 Awards in it’s time and had 375 Nominations.

Mr. Kim however, was not ‘just’ on LOST – he had been a featured actor on many popular television shows – and why would he not, he holds a Master of Fine Arts from New York University in Acting. Just a short perusal of his 72 credits on IMDB.com – including 24, ER, Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayers and an OSCAR winning film called CRASH is enough to make anyone’s head spin. (By the way – when series run, it is counted as one credit, but then it lists the episodes, the number is much greater)

In any other profession – holding a Masters Degree is a guarantee of a higher salary – that there is no parity given in Entertainment is literally why this sh*tshow of an incident has occurred.

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We are still talking leverage, right?

So coming in, Park and Kim were in a good position – award winning television shows that were long running and significant money makers with rabid fan bases. Easy to cast, for sure. Instant recognition, instant boost to a show that was a reboot coming into a television landscape where lots of reboots fail.

They would have been definite yes’s and the Network was lucky to have them. Moving on to the rest of the show…looking at Scott Caan – whose impact is more valued by CBS, so much so he makes 15% more than Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park AND…he gets a backend.

What’s he been up to?

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Mr. Caan has 45 credits on IMDB.com. His ‘biggest’ credits prior to the OCEANS ELEVEN franchise, where he has a smaller ensemble role – not more important than, say, Brad Pitt or George Clooney who are the leads. He is visible but not a lot of screen time. He has been in GONE IN SIXTY SECONDS, VARSITY BLUES, and he was on for two seasons recurring as Scott Lavin in the cable show, ENTOURAGE.

He also has a Dad who is, well, Hollywood Royalty.

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James Caan is a friggin genius actor. He is such a good actor, his son got a backend deal.

TFP assumes that is because everyone knows that talent is definitely passed down, for sure, in show business by simply growing up next to it.

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Alex O’Loughlin is, to TFP‘s surprise – Australian. Oi, Oi, Oi!

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According to IMDB.com, he has 16 credits – but those include parts on television shows that ran for a season – Mary Bryant (Australian TV Mini Series), Three Rivers, Moonlight, and seven episodes of The Shield – that was all prior to Hawaii 5-o, where he has 168 episodes under his belt.

He also was the lead in a film called THE BACKUP PLAN opposite Jennifer Lopez.

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No acting awards for Mr. O’Loughlin in the United States – he has 2 total nominations- 1 win-  in Australia – the Australian Film Institute for Best Lead Actor in Television, and a Logie Award for his work on the miniseries Mary Bryant – and in the United States he won a TV Guide award for Best Bromance with Scott Caan.

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TFP is now confused – because she does not understand where exactly, this alleged ‘leverage’ came from in regards to casting Caan and O’Laughlin – on paper, does not make as much sense as Park and Kim.

Neither had been on long running shows, they had nowhere near the fan base that Park and Kim did. Yes, they had some large film credits under their belts – but does that really not hold parity with someone who has been in Oscar winning films in addition to Award winning television shows?

Does it?

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In truth, neither of them had the depth of experience of Mr. Kim, though Mr. O’Loughlin has what would be a Bachelor’s Degree from NIDA in Australia while Mr. Caan attended Playhouse West – they have training – TFP is not saying that they do not – but Mr. Kim had more experience.

What she is saying is that while IMDB credits do not necessarily quantify talent – what they do is show that there is a history of someone being good to work with, showing up on time, maintaining a long running character – it shows that people can work with you in as much as it also shows what roles you have done. It shows you can handle the job.

To put it frankly – O’Laughlin and Caan did not deserve the initial salary disparity that happened in the first place – they had neither the experience nor the industry acknowledgement to claim ‘backend’ rights.

There was NO LEVERAGE!

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The only thing they had over their fellow series regulars was the Undeniable Whiteness of Being.

They had ‘perceived leverage’ based on almost nothing in Hollywood terms.

This is not to say they are not talented, nor does this demonstrate that they do not perform well on their current show – obviously they do. What it does say, rather clearly is that

  1. CBS does not value their Actors of Color at the same professional rate as their Caucasian actors – and one need only to take a glance at their lineup to substantiate that fact.
  2. Women of Color are paid even LESS than Men of Color
  3. That however ‘substantial’ their raises were – Park and Kim’s offers did not include $200K per episode and part of the backend for a show that they lend authenticity to.
  4. Their Agents – Caan’s and O’Loughlin’s – fought the better fight.

While TFP does not want to throw Kim and Park’s representation under the bus in that initial negotiation seven seasons ago – she does wonder if their being Actors of Color made their Agents less willing to fight for that initial contract that set all this crap up in the first place. Perhaps their Agents did not know what the other two was being offered? Perhaps their Agents were given a offer and told ‘that is all we have’ – still….they should have persisted.

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Hollywood suffers from systemic racism.

It is often the ‘quiet’ kind, where someone is politely told they ‘cannot’ get more money for a role because, well…you know.

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It’s the kind where you cannot get an appointment because you do not look like what the writers are picturing.

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It is the kind where you can be on the show from the very beginning, and they promote other people over you for no apparent reason that has anything to do with charisma, uniqueness, nerve or talent.

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It is the kind where someone can write for you for seven seasons, say you are part of their “Ohana” (family), and then undercut you to the point that you have no choice but to leave, because your sense of self is powerful, and it will not allow you to stay.

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It is that kind of systemic racism.

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Where Actors of Minority statues are often ‘gaslit’ into thinking they are not enough and that they have to change so that the powers that be will ‘allow’ them to continue.

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That is the ‘threat’ – that they will only “allow’ us a sliver of the pie because our success takes away from their ‘intrinsic order of belonging’ – in which, we do not belong.

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It is the kind of racism that could be negated if your fellow cast members who are benefitting from their perceived superiority based on no real data, could stand with you and demand that all of you are treated equally- but they do not.

Maybe those Cast members think that they are better? That they ‘deserve’ more?

Hmmm…why would they think that? 

What is the culture there?

Because it comes from the top, down- for example- TFP knows for a fact that Bryan Fuller, Maurissa Tancharoen Whedon, Stacy Rukeyser, Josh Safran- just to name a few- would never write some BS statement like the below- because they fully adore and respect their casts.

So whence came this nugget, Mr. L?

We should all be just ‘glad to be there’?


Where the kind of racism exists whereby their EP uses words that mean ‘Family’ but then lowballs them? While comparing their roles to those of actors who- yes, also great- however they are ‘recurring’? The ones who make an impact in Guest Stars, yes- but who are not on the posters!!!!

It is THAT KIND OF RACISM- and it is insidious as hell.

SAG/AFTRA has a case against these producers and against this network – if they choose to exercise it. The Actors of Color meant to reflect Hawaii are gone. They have not announced replacements. That is a violation of clause 59.

It is about respect – both for the Actors in question, and the profession in general.

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Again, there was no leverage that TFP can see that would place Scott Caan and Alex O’Loughlin ahead of Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park. None.

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Calling out CBS on this – however this was set into motion – the optics are bad, very, very bad.

Let’s not pretend that there was leverage.

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It is ‘too late’ to fix what should have been an automatic “yes” at the first ask – so while we wish them much success, Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim are gone from Hawaii 5.0.

What happens now, CBS?

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TFP will be watching.

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The Fairy Princess got her computer back, after a month – yes a MONTH – in the shop!

She is pretty excited.

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Let’s get to talking about some stuff – first of all – since charity begins at home, TFP would like to bring to your awareness the #Ham4All campaign started by Lin Manuel Miranda. It is for the charity Immigrants We Get the Job Done, and the money raised goes to various charities to support civil rights as well as practical support.

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You can also win tickets to the LA premier of HAMILTON, which include airfare and hotel!

So how would you like to see HAMILTON for $10?

Because that is what it is – a $10 donation. (Click here to get to started)

TFP did the challenge,

(Apologies she cannot seem to size it correctly it looks enormous)

and she ‘tagged’ her friends,

Donna Lynne Champlin (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend),

Telly Leung, (Broadway’s Aladdin):

As well as Jeff Yang (Journalist – CNN, Wall St. Journal, Jose Llana (National Tour – The King and I), and Raymond J. Lee (Broadway’s Groundhog Day).

The videos thus far are super cute and…they are going to lead to a whole lot more support and awareness  – and in case you cannot tell – all these folks are children or grandchildren of immigrants!

So check them out on TWITTER!

Thanks for playing, y’all – WERK!

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Also, this is the opening weekend of BABY DRIVER, which has TFP’s fav pal, Lanny Joons Kim  – make sure you check it out!

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Particularly because recent articles have reaffirmed TFP‘s long standing point – that diversity in casting makes the film have more appeal and thus more…

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for everyone.

Speaking of which – seems like CBS’s Hawaii 5.0 is cleaning house – ethnically that is.

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According to various articles, Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim – series regulars who have been on the show since the pilot, and who have major character arcs and plot lines – have been paid 10-15% less than the two Caucasian leads – Scott Cann and Alex O’Loughlin – and well…

They out.

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CBS would not get on board with equal pay, their cast members Cann and O’Loughlin did not ‘pull a Friends” thing with them – remember, they all held out until they all got the same money? So Park and Kim are no more.

They have gone on and will go on to bigger and better things, but that, as YOMYOMF points out – is not the point. They sold the show on their presence – which to a casual viewer meant that they were enjoying the same paycheck as Scott Caan. 

After all, DDK was coming off a very impressive run of LOST, and Park off of BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA – two of the most famous televisions shows in history -which made them far more bankable than Scott Caan – who has somehow managed to parlay a famous Dad into a career, having really only done notable small parts in ensemble films.

No shade to Scott, but it is what it is. He’s better now than when he started – but did he deserve a bigger paycheck than Daniel Dae Kim or Grace Park?

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Interestingly, Masi Oka also left earlier this year.

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Now YOMYOMF has written an interesting take on what may have happened behind closed doors there, and since they have done such a great job, TFP is going to stay out of that portion. (But yes, it is totally suspicious that all the Asian/American actors have departed the show within a season)

However, since Masi is the one who, long ago, dragged TFP into the now defunct Asian Actors Sub Committee at SAG (where it became a huge sh*t show), she has a point to make, and it is a doozy.

(Remember please, all Masi’s fault TFP even knows this)

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If Hawaii 5.0 and their Producers do not quickly replace these gaping holes in their show with Actors and Actresses of Asian/American or Pacific Islander or both (many people are combinations) – they are in violation of an important clause in the SAG/AFTRA Producers Agreement. Clause 59, page 147.

Back when TFP used to be on the SAG AAPI Committee – this was referred to as “Reflecting the American Scene”, and here is what it means.

When Producers agree to “reflect the American scene”, what is meant is – within the boundaries of the show – where it is set, which professions it reflects – that they will endeavor to look at the ethnic and gender breakdowns inherent in that profession/setting/city, and cast accordingly. Same with disability breakdowns within the profession.

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Here is the actual language from the current SAG/AFTRA Television Contract:

POLICY OF NON-DISCRIMINATION AND DIVERSITY
(a) Policy
(1)
The parties hereto reaffirm their commitment to: a) a
policy of non-discrimination and fair employment in connection with the
engagement and treatment of performers on the basis of sex, race,color,
creed, national origin, age, marital status, disability or sexual orientation,
in accordance with applicable state and federal law; and b) to continue
the active promotion of diversity, as set forth herein, in all categories of
employment covered by this Agreement.
(2)
In accordance with the foregoing policy, the Union
reaffirms its policy of non-discrimination with respect to admission to
membership and rights of membership.
(3)
Producer shall cast performers in accordance with the
policy set forth in Section 59(a)(1) above in all types of roles, having
due regard for the requirements of, and suitability for, the role so that,
for example, the American scene shall be portrayed realistically.
(4)
Consistent with the foregoing, every effort shall be
made to include minorities, women, performers with disabilities (defined
as those covered under the employment provisions of the Americans
with Disabilities Act) and performers aged 40 or over who are protected
under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act in the casting of each
motion picture, thereby creating fair and equal employment opportunity
and eliminating stereotyping in casting.

Now, the language has changed somewhat – very small changed to – “the American scene shall be portrayed realistically“. It has the same meaning. 

It should look like the America in which it is set. Not “Trump’s America”, not “Elitist Educated Coasts America’ – it needs to look like Hawaii. 

The American scene of Hawaii – a land in which the 44th President was born, and which is a state. 

Even if people don’t think so – and if they refuse to believe it their social studies teacher failed them.

In order for a show to be given the greenlight to use SAG/AFTRA Actors, Union Actors – they need to show that their show reflects the America in which the show is set. In this case – Hawaii.

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Now this graph was done in 2013 – four years ago – by California State University. If you combine the Asian population, the mixed race population, and the Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander numbers – you get around….72.2 %.

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That is a big chunk. HUGE chunk. Huge stinking chunk of people that reflect the American scene within Hawaii that are not Caucasian. It is not the Midwest. It is Hawaii.

SAG/AFTRA has a case, should they choose to ‘go for it’, and in this case, they should.

Because if we stand for nothing- what will we fall for?

That Producer’s Agreement was signed when half the series regulars – Park and Kim – were of Asian descent. Because they were of Asian descent, we saw their family members and their love interests, who also happened to be of Asian descent.

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Which increased CBS’s very tentative grip on diversity – according to their very own Glenn Geller -as they are a show pretty much known for series starring white males. 

Two shows that they had that ‘refuted’ those charges, as it were – their two aces, were ELEMENTARY, which stars Lucy Liu, and Hawaii 5.0.

That makes H50’s producers in violation of their original agreement – and SAG/AFTRA should take that opportunity – as we venture into pre-strike territory – to push for replacing Park and Kim with people who are of mixed race, or Asian heritage, or Pacific Islander heritage – or all three.

Because that is the scene in Hawaii. (Truly, the only place where she has felt like everyone is not asking her for an explanation for her face every time she left the hotel).

Which no one who has even a passing glance at the numbers, can dispute.

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TFP really hopes CBS does the ‘right’ thing by Hawaii, and by it’s viewers – who have proved loyal over the years to that show. If they do not…

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Otherwise she hopes that SAG/AFTRA has a bit more to say on these issues – and she thinks they may because running for the LA Local President is Clyde Kusatsu – who she is backing.

Not only is Clyde from Hawaii – he has been a long standing member of SAG, now SAG/AFTRA – he has worked every contract there is, and he has over 293 credits on IMDB, as well as being a solid committee member, repeatedly, through the years.

If anyone knows the importance of representation in the great state of Hawaii, it is Clyde. He is also someone I would want to advocate for a diverse and inclusive filming industry.

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TFP hopes that Clyde will get your backing, because she can see that Producers are getting more parsimonious. 

She does not doubt rich people’s ability to ignore the fact that Union members need benefits including health care and pension, because they want to line their own pockets.

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After all, we are seeing that on a National level.

She has known Clyde for a long time – his dedication and his commitment – being a SAG/AFTRA member has fed his family – and thus while it is a professional commitment, it is also a personal one from someone who, like most of the rest of us – are in the trenches fighting for representation every damn day.

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TFP out.

The Fairy Princess was having some issues about Ni’ihau so many issues it was a subscription.

TFP is kinda tired of her face looking like this:

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She is exhausted by the stupidity – the continued, ongoing stupidity of the Whitewashing issue, the cultural appropriation of it all – it’s MADDENING!

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However one bright light shone in the darkness, and pulled TFP from the depths of despair.

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That was discovering the new video of the song by Will Jay called LEADING MAN.

Take a look and a listen:

TFP thought it was joyful and cheeky. She also thought that being only 20, Will Jay has time and talent on his side – he seems like he is in the fight for the long haul. As he prepares to light the world on fire, TFP thought she would ask him a few questions for your enjoyment.

So sit back and relax and enjoy five minutes with Will Jay.

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TFP: Will, thanks so much for talking with me. I have a few questions – first, let’s just get this on the table, you are adorable, I am a fan. Let’s dive right in – What is the last movie you saw in the theaters and when and what inspired you to write a song that takes on White washing so pointedly?

WJ: The last movie I actually saw in the theaters was GET OUT! That movie was a huge inspiration for me to actually put this song out and not care if it ruffles some feathers. I’m not sure if it was one event in particular that inspired me to write LEADING MAN.

I wanted to write an anthem for myself as an Asian/American trying to make it in show business because it was something I needed to hear. Seeing all those movies last year getting criticized for whitewashing made me realize that there’s a power in this community. I wanted to do something that would bring us together and at least start a conversation.

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TFP: When you hear that Emma Stone or Tilda Swinton or Matt Damon defending Whitewashing – what does that say to you as an Artist and as an Asian American?

WJ: It’s all just more fuel to the fire. I’m so excited for Leading Man & my future releases because I’ve found a way to combine the Asian-American experience with an artist’s sound & perspective. With my music, I still want to relatable to a wide audience but on a deeper level explore what it means to be Asian-American & not Asian-Asian like Hollywood portrays us.

TFP: What is the one thing you want people to take away with them from your song?

WJ: The main thing I want people to take away from this song would be confidence. Although I’m making a pretty bold statement, I hope everyone after watching that video finds confidence to be unapologetically who they are & not who they think people want them to be.

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TFP: Why is now the time to release this song? Obviously, May is Asian American Pacific Islander Celebration Month, but why now?

WJ:  I think now, more than ever, I’m seeing Asian/Americans coming together and speaking out about these issues. For the first time in my life, I feel a real sense of movement being formed, and as a musician I want to be a part of that.

TFP: Who are your inspirations? Whose career do you admire?

WJ: I’ve been telling people that my music is Frank Sinatra meets Frank Ocean. I’m also very inspired by Elton John, The Beatles, and Bruno Mars. In terms of career, I would say Justin Timberlake; he’s killed it – not only in singing and dancing, but in acting as well. Sara Bareilles, I’ve been a fan of hers for years – I was amazed by WAITRESS, the musical she wrote. I just want to be able to explore all facets of being an entertainer.

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TFP: I have to ask, because I cover a lot of theater – do you have any hopes towards Broadway, or are you strictly pop music?

WJ: I’m definitely focused right now on my own music; but I grew up doing musical theater, so if an opportunity presented itself I would be ecstatic. My dream musical would be JERSEY BOYS. I would also like to try my hand at writing for TV and film.

TFP: What is the easiest way for people to get hold of your music?

WJ: You can go to willjaymusic.com  – it is also on iTunes, Apple music, Spotify – I’ve got a lot of new music in the works, so look for that!

TFP: Where do you see yourself in five years?

WJ: In five years, I’ll have made at least 3 albums. I would love to have toured and played awesome venues all over the country and hopefully the world, as well as be inspired by as many people as possible. The one thing for sure is I’ll always be creating and telling stories with my songs.

TFP: I’m sure you will get there. Congrats on the song, it is super fun, and it means a lot to me personally that you invested your time and talent to highlight this issue. I wish you much success.

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TFP out.

 

 

First, some housekeeping.

Thank you AEA for making TFP part of the #MotivationMonday campaign.

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A sad farewell to the musical, Amelie, which closes on Broadway in two weeks and starred Phillipa Soo.

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However, it is not all doom and gloom, TFP’s fav, Telly Leung is going to go into Aladdin, as Aladdin!

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Now….let’s really clean house!

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The Fairy Princess is kinda pissed.

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Here is why – Tilda, Scarlett, Emma and Matt go into a bar and tell the waitress that they are expecting a fifth, but to please bring spam appetizers and a jug of poi martinis to wash it all down while they wait for Zach McGowan.

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No one has learned a damn thing about Whitewashing except that they are going to continue to do it and they do not give a rat’s ass whether or not Asian/American Pacific Islanders are affected. It is so blatant – they disregard us with a fervor that would only be applicable to Royalty and Serfs in the 1300’s.

Then double it.

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Apparently the need for a white savior is SO GREAT – that even if there was no white savior, they will take the hero of color that actually was, and replace him with a beefcake from New York who has played a pirate.

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Sorry, sorryTFP just remembered she did not clue you in. Let’s start at the very beginning….

In this, Asian American Pacific Islander Celebration Month, (yes in the USA we are all counted under that umbrella term) there has just been an announcement of a new Hollywood picture that will hope to tell the story of an amazing turn of events that actually happened, on a small island in Hawaii. The heroes of the story are Native Hawaiians.

Remember what TFP said – the heroes of the story are Native Hawaiians.

Back in 1941 there was a small island within the chain of Hawaiian island, and it’s name was Ni’ihau. It is the second smallest island in Hawaii.

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At the time in 1941, there were 136 residents on this island, with  most of them being Native Hawaiian and speaking as their first language, Hawaiian.

Everyone is with TFP thus far, right? There are pretty much only Native Hawaiians and they mostly speak Native Hawaiian unless they have to speak to white people.

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So on this island of 136, there were 3 Japanese heritaged people. One was issei (first generation Japanese), and two were nisei (Hawaiian born second generation Japanese). These two Nisei were named the Haradas.

A pilot in the second ‘wave’ of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, crash landed his plane on the island of Ni’ihau. When this pilot crash landed, a Ni’ihau resident, Mr. Hawila Kaleohano had the presence of mind to grab his papers while he was dazed, and he would not give them back. The residents seized the pilot, but allowed him to be imprisoned at the Harada’s house with guards.

(Putting him in the Harada’s house was a bad idea – super bad because they decided to side with the pilot as he was Japanese)

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Eventually the pilot broke free of the guards, and with Mr. Harada’s help, went after Mr. Kaleohano to get his papers back. Mr. Kaleohano saw them coming and escaped, and then rowed in a boat to a larger island to get help.

Oh, and they had a shotgun.

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The pilot and Mr. Harada then tried to look for Mr. Kaleohano by capturing Benehakaka “Ben’ Kanahele and his wife, Ella.

Here is a photo of the Kanaheles.

Adorable.

Reminds TFP of the Chinese in Far North Queensland a bit. (Clothing, hair- similar climate)

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They kept Ella captive, and sent Benehakaka out looking for Mr. Kaleohano. “Ben’ knew that Mr. Kaleohano was on the boat, so he pretended to look for him, to give him more time. When he grew concerned about Ella and returned, he and Ella took advantage of the moment and struggled for control of the shotgun that Harada and the pilot were using to take control.

The pilot shot Ben three times – in the groin, stomach, and upper leg. This did not keep Ben down, he picked up the pilot and hurled him into a mountain (as you do) and then his wife bashed the pilot in the head with a rock, and then Ben slit the throat of the pilot with a knife.

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For these deeds, Mr. Benehakaka “Ben” Kanahele was awarded the Medal for Merit, which was at the time, the highest civilian decoration of the United States. Also, The Purple Heart.

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His wife did not get a medal.

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Undoubtedly, this is an amazing story.

One of the things that makes it so amazing is because, of course – Asian vs. Pacific Islander drama. On one side you have the Japanese and on the other side, you have the Native Hawaiians, and this could be, very much so, the first epic war film to cover the invasion of Pearl Harbor from a Native Hawaiian perspective.

Did they do this?

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Instead of using this opportunity to go for Native Hawaiians playing Native Hawaiians – which, lest we forget is how the world was introduced to Auil’i Cravalho – Disney Casting Directors went out and did their jobs for Moana – no, instead of doing that – they decided to make Benehakaka not Native Hawaiian at all.

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They cast this guy as Benehakaka:

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Nope, not Native Hawaiian at all. Not that one should judge a name, but his particular name is Zach McGowan. Which makes him fairly certain to have Irish or Scottish heritage. He has good abs – and one supposes that counts for something – but it does not absolve you of the crime of whitewashing.

Even if you wash the laundry on them.

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Now, the Producer of this film, Ken Petrie said ““there is a weight to be shouldered, and the material requires the utmost care and authenticity.” because the story is based on an actual event.

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Here is what is astounding – they actually cannot fathom why this is offensive!

Nor can they understand that it is totally and completely possible for a person of color to be the primary point of focus in a story in which they participated!

A person of color in the historical record of this friggin’ country cannot be played by another person of color because white people will not allow it.

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There is nothing in the effin’ Emma/Tilda/Scarlett canon that would have happened, if the hubris of white people knew about boundaries. Here is something she told her kid today – just because you want something, does not mean you can take it from someone else.

That’s the truth. You can’t always get what you want. Mick Jagger told all y’all that since the 60’s and you are still thinking that the sun rises and sets upon you – you do not get to rewrite history. Also – it is RECENT history, the man passed in 1962!

If you wanted to produce or write or direct this story, with all the resources you have at your fingertips – great! However, if this story is so compelling you felt you should spend several years of your life putting it together – then tell it the right way.

Cast it the right way.

Based on actual events means you are basing it on real people – when you erase People of Color from their own stories, you do everyone a disservice.

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We have always existed. We have always been there.

Why is this so hard to understand?

Why does this keep happening?

Because the hubris of white people knows no bounds.

Because there are not enough movies being directed, written and produced by Asian/Americans or Pacific Islanders- however, there is GOOK by TFP‘s old buddy, Justin Chon.

Which she encourages you to go and see, because we need the variety of voices otherwise, we disappear.

We disappear because we are repeatedly being allowed to be seen as adjunct to a white hero narrative – and that has to stop.

There is nothing more to say except this – there is young Pop Artist, Will Jay – @willjaymusic .

He croons, he dances, he’s cute as hell, and he is 20.

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He has written an Anti-Whitewashing Anthem, which TFP saw a preview of – it drops on May 12th – and it is adorable. It’s catchy, it’s fun – and most of all – we need songs and perspectives to keep us going through all this whitewashing bullshit that seems never ending.

The title is “Leading Man” – how much more spot on can you be?

Head on over to Twitter and take a listen.

To the Producers, Director, and star of the new film, Ni’ihauTFP fines you 1,000 smacks with the wand. You should have known better.

We told you.

Whitewashed films do crap at the box office.

Asian/American Pacific Islanders – in particular the women – have incredible reach in terms of consumer dollars – when are you going to take your crimes against our humanity seriously?

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TFP out.