A-pop! April’s pop notes — Prom, TV, and the passing of a musical legend

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Nina Davuluri

By Vivian Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly

Can you believe that it’s May already? April zipped by so quickly, and with it, a few notable stories that include prom and a significant addition to American primetime television. Read on to find out more!

Fight for your right to prom

It’s prom season! High school ended years ago for most of us, but for the teenagers of 2014, the path to prom still looms strong. Some kids just hope to snag a date with their school crush. Others, however, dare to dream big.

Patrick Farves, an 18-year-old senior at Central York High School in York, Pa., asked Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri to prom in the middle of a school assembly.

Davuluri, who was on tour to meet with high schools around the nation, was doing a Q&A session with the student body.

Farves, who had previously been warned by school administrators that there would be repercussions for the stunt, brandished a flower to Davuluri and popped the prom question to her. Farves’s fellow students erupted in cheers.
Unfortunately, the act cost Farves three days of in-school suspension.

Was it worth it?

Davuluri later released a statement. Although she was flattered by the invitation, she was unable to attend due to her travel schedule. She also asked the school administrators to reconsider their punishment to Farves. So maybe the suspension wasn’t worth the effort. Still, Farves has an awesome story to share, and the teen will still be permitted to attend his senior prom.

At the very least, someone should give this kid an honorary Prom King crown because his stunt definitely deserves an A for effort!

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Hudson Yang as Eddie Huang

Finally, a few familiar faces on TV

The Internet is abuzz that ABC has picked up “Fresh Off the Boat,” a primetime sitcom that features an all Asian American cast. This will be the first sitcom in 20 years to star an Asian American family. This is a big deal, my friends.

The comedy, which is based off of a memoir from restaurateur and chef personality Eddie Huang, will follow the misadventures of 12-year-old Huang and his Taiwanese immigrant family, as they navigate the cultural differences of their new life in Florida. The show is set in the 1990s.

I watched a preview of the pilot and it is funny stuff. It’s fresh, different, and a little dry at times — just my kind of humor.

Actors Randall Park and Constance Wu star as the protagonist’s parents, while newcomer 10-year-old Hudson Yang plays the kid version of Huang. Though he’s young, Yang already displays some awesome comedic chops, and I’m excited to see where he’ll take this show.

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Larry Ramos, front and center, with the rest of the Association, clockwise from center left: Russ Giguere, Jim Yester, Brian Cole, Ted Bluechel, and Terry Kirkman

“Fresh Off the Boat” is listed as a mid-season replacement, meaning that we won’t see this show on air until early 2015.
Response to the pilot preview — directed by filmmaker Lynn Shelton, formerly of Seattle — has been largely positive so far, and I can’t wait to see it onscreen. How the rest of America will react to an all-Asian cast, however, remains to be unseen.

Bidding adieu to a legend

Larry Ramos, a singer and guitarist who was best known for his work with the 1960s hit band The Association, recently passed away in Clarkston, Wash. Ramos was 72 years old and of Filipino descent. He had been battling varying illnesses the last few years following a heart attack in 2011.

The Association featured a group of musicians and singers who mixed pop, rock, folk, and psychedelic sounds. Ramos was invited to join the group in 1967 when one of the guitarists left. He would later go on to play the guitar and harmonize on lead vocals for “Windy” and “Never My Love,” both top Billboard pop hits from The Association.

Though the band later broke up in 1973, The Association would occasionally get back together for special tours. Ramos sometimes joined in on these reunions.

Although he is virtually unknown by today’s younger music audiences, Ramos has been hailed as a trailblazer for Asian American artists during the 1960s.

In a time of racial discrimination, Ramos set a precedent for Asian hopefuls in the entertainment industry for being one of the lead singers in an otherwise all-Caucasian band, and also for being one of the first known Asian Americans to be involved in the American music business.

“I know I opened doors for a lot of Asians and Filipinos,” said Ramos in an online article with INQUIRER.net, a Philippines-based news site. “I know a lot of people don’t know who I was, but I’m flattered when people approach me and say that I was their inspiration for becoming a musician or entertainer. I’m really happy and flattered, if I did that for anybody.” (end)

Vivian Nguyen can be reached at info@nwasianweekly.com.

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