Archives for the month of: May, 2017

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)

Portrait of Benny and Ella Kanahele

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.