A monthly column about all things Asian in popular culture
By Vivian Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
Babies having babies
We’re starting this month’s news with an actress best known to tweens (also known as fans of the Disney Channel!).
Brenda Song, an Asian American actress of Hmong and Thai heritage, announced in August that she is pregnant. Song is best known for starring in several works associated with the Disney Channel, as well as for a small role in “The Social Network,” a drama about the founding of Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
Though accomplished, Song is only 23. She is also neither engaged nor married to her current beau, Trace Cyrus, a pop-rock musician who is also the half-brother of the incredibly popular teen actress and singer, Miley Cyrus.
I know it’s the norm for celebrities to have children out of wedlock. But one does not typically hear of Asian actresses as young as Song having a baby without some indication of longer-term commitment, like an engagement or marriage. This is especially surprising, as in the past, Song has been careful about cultivating her public image to be family-friendly, due in part to the tween demographic of her past work with the Disney Channel.
I wonder what her parents think about the situation. Most Asian parents would normally flip out if their child has a baby without at least being engaged. Hopefully, Song has open-minded parents.
Hitting the movies with Asians
Last month saw several Asian actors in supporting roles on the silver screen. In one of the biggest hits this summer, Indian actress Freida Pinto played a small role in the sci-fi blockbuster, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” The movie is a reboot of the “Planet of the Apes” film franchise, which focuses on the relationship between humans and evolved apes with human-like intelligence.
Indian American actor and comedian Aziz Ansari starred in “30 Minutes or Less.” The movie is an action-comedy crime film about a bank heist gone wrong. Ansari is best known for his role in the NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation.” Dilshad Vadsaria, an American actress of partial Indian descent, also has a small role in the comedy.
“Glee: the 3D Concert Movie” opened in theaters this month. The concert film follows the cast from FOX’s musical-sitcom “Glee” during their tour earlier this summer. The talented troupe includes Asian American performers Jenna Ushkowitz and Harry Shum Jr., who sing and dance, respectively, both on the sitcom and in the film.
The offensive line for the Buffalo Bills football team grew thinner as cuts were made to pare down the team to an NFL mandated 53-man roster in preparation for the upcoming football season.
Second-year tackle Ed Wang was among these cuts. He was also one of four players placed on the waived-injured list, meaning that the team heads are releasing Wang from the Buffalo Bills, but that he is also injured, should other teams want to select him.
Drafted as the team’s fifth-round pick in 2010 from Virginia Tech, Wang previously made headlines for being the first full-blooded Chinese player ever to be drafted in the NFL.
I hope Wang recovers from his injuries and gets picked to play for a new team in the future. We need to see more Asians out on the field.
Let’s go, Panjabi!
Although sports saw a setback with Asians, television saw a leap forward with a recent Emmy nomination for Indian British actress Archie Panjabi. She was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role in the CBS drama, “The Good Wife.” The show examines how the wife of a once celebrated politician deals with the public fallout of her husband’s affair.
Panjabi previously won this award for the same role in 2010. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Panjabi wins again! The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards will air this Sunday, Sept. 18, at 5 p.m. local time on FOX. Stake out a spot on the couch, and don’t miss it! ♦
Vivian Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.