By Vivian Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
Happy New Year, dear readers! 2014 is here, and while I’m all for ushering in the New Year, I want to take a moment to wrap up entertainment news from 2013. Let’s look back into the vestiges of last year before we tackle this year, shall we?
Questlove thinks he’s a comedian.
Did you think 2013 would end peacefully and without any racist remarks in the mainstream media? Then you thought wrong! Musician Questlove, who was recently on tour in Japan with his band The Roots, was called out for a racist caption that accompanied an Instagram photo he posted.
The photo features a Christmas-decorated clock train, with the following caption directed to Questlove’s manager Dawn Englehart, “Hey @dawnenglehart is it racist for me to write the Sour Tlain? #chipanesedownunder2013.” Questlove’s caption is an attempt to mimic the interchanging of the “L” and “R” consonant sounds, which are used in jokes that stereotype how non-native English-speaking Asians sometimes talk.
Englehart, who is also of Asian descent, responded that Questlove is allowed to make the joke because he’s “in The Loots.” Padma Lakshmi, an Indian American reality show personality, also chimed in the conversation, adding, “Hahahaha ha! You ruys clack me lup.”
Fans protested their racist ribbing in the comments section. Questlove deleted the photo without much of an apology or acknowledgment of the original remarks. While this may not be the most scandalous story to grace this column, it’s annoying that the racist exchanges between the three offenders were so flippant, only to be completely ignored as if the conversation had never existed. Good job, guys. Way to take accountability.
It’s that time of the year: Award nominations!
Every year, the business magazine Forbes releases its annual “30 under 30” report, which highlights and recognizes young leading figures from various sectors, including entertainment, art, and music. This year’s music honorees include the R&B and pop crooner Bruno Mars. Mars is a Hawaiian native of Filipino descent.
Mars is making waves for his highly anticipated performance at Super Bowl XLVIII, where he will be the first artist in 10 years to headline the coveted halftime show before turning 30. And, for someone who has yet to hit 30, Mars has raked in an impressive list of accomplishments, including two platinum albums and 14 past Grammy nominations, as well as four new Grammy nominations for 2014. A big congrats to Mars for earning a spot in the “30 under 30” list! I’m looking forward to the halftime performance. Catch Mars performing at the 2014 Super Bowl on Feb. 2!
Speaking of awards, famed animator Hayao Miyazaki’s film “The Wind Rises” was nominated in the Golden Globes Foreign Language Film category this year. It didn’t win, but the nomination may raise Miyazaki’s chances of taking home an Oscar once the Academy Awards roll around later this season. (Though Miyazaki is no stranger to winning Oscars for his work.)
And more wins for Asians!
Fans of the hit singing competition show “The Voice” are well aware that singer Tessanne Chin recently sang her way to winning the show’s most recent season. Chin, who is a Jamaican of Chinese descent, has been turning the judges’ heads all season, wowing them and viewers alike with her stunningly impressive voice. After her victory on the show was announced, Chin debuted her first U.S. single as a way to parlay her status as an international star. Congrats to Chin! There’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll be seeing — and hearing — more of her in 2014. (end)
Vivian Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.