An apparel company does (mostly) non-racist for a change

After countless racist incidents from clothing companies raising hackles (see: Abercrombie & Fitch racist t-shirt fiasco or Urban Outfitters’ Navajo fashion debacle), it looks like one big retailer has finally done some bit of good. The Gap stepped up.

This Huffington Post piece breaks down what happened.

The quick and dirty:

  1. Gap puts up billboard of this ad featuring Waris Ahluwalia, a Sikh man, who also happens to be a man about town in NYC. Pretty cool. (Here’s more of Gap’s series of #makelove ads, which actually features a healthy diversity of faces.)
  2. Muslim journalist Arsalan Iftikhar tweets photo showing one of said billboards defaced with all kinds of racist nonsense. (Here’s his account of the incident on The Daily Beast.)
  3. Gap replies to Iftikhar’s tweet to find out where the defaced ad is, and to stay tuned.
  4. Gap then makes the billboard art their Twitter background.
  5. Lots of people are psyched to learn how Gap responds.

Gap FTW? Not quite. While many laud Gap for the ad and for their response to the vandalized billboard,  some Sikh’s find the ad offensive for the way the woman is lustfully touching Ahluwalia’s turban and chest.

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Hanging with the K & P

A friend posted recently about how much she loves Key and Peele. They are definitely among my favorite comics at the moment. So thrilled that they’re able to do their ridiculously smart comedy that plays in and around race politics with hilarious and astute style. I think the other reason I relate so well to their writing – especially Keegan-Michael Key who is almost exactly the same age as me (he’s 7 days older) and from the neighboring home state of Michigan – is because they nerd out about the same stuff I do. (Others I appreciate in this vein are Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Simon Pegg and Joss Whedon, but not many are tackling race as well as K & P.) Plus, I can see how their work is rooted in great improvisation. It’s what makes their comedy go beyond jokes into great stories and interesting characters.

Here are a few of my favorite clips:

A new vampire challenges the sexy vampire status quo

Dude can’t get a word in, even in song

Colorful code names causes offense amongst superheroes

Lots more from their show on the Comedy Central website, including full episodes.

My new favorite super hero: Sikh Captain America

The hilarious, whip smart comedian Hari Kondabolu caught up with ‘Captain Sikh America’ for Totally Biased on FX. (HT Colorlines.)

Sikhtoons editorial cartoonist Vishavjit Singh dons the cape to ‘fight hate crimes,’ he says. They wander around New York to see if folks are ready for this new superhero. It’s a funny bit, but always a little sad to see how ignorant some can be when you do these person-on-the-street types of segments.

If you’re not familiar with Hari Kondabolu you should definitely check him out. This is the first thing I saw of Hari’s a few years ago, a brilliant short film about an Indian American on the rise (who looks an awful like comedian Hari):

NPR did a good piece on Hari for their ongoing series on race ‘Code Switch.’

And listen here to an interview my pal Sarika did with Hari for APA Compass on KBOO Community Radio in Portland.

Friday’s A to Z: the "Stinky" Edition

a – agism.
b – black friday.
c – comic sans.
d – “don’t ask, don’t tell.” repeal this already!!!
e – education in this country.
f – feet. stinky feet, literally. blech.
g – glenn beck. there’s even a comprehensive glenn-beck-sucks blog.
h – halitosis.
i – ice cream. actually, i love ice cream, but it stinks that i can’t have it after every meal.
j – jealousy.
k – ken buck. he recently received the douchebag decree over at bitchmedia‘s blog.
l – legalese.
m – model minority myth.
n – neo-nazi’s. my friends at circle a radio did a program about the rise of fascism in portland.
o – outsourced, the tv show. hear our commentary on the next apa compass fri dec 6th.
p – pickles. eew.
q – queer-bashing. aka homophobia.
r – racism.
s – sarah palin. here’s a recent blog from huffington post with leaks from her forthcoming book.
t – trafficking, of humans.
u – unemployment.
v – vermin.
w – war.
x – xenophobia.
y – yanni.
z – zealots. of any kind.

how did I become such a dance geek?

Doh. I did not get to post yesterday. So, I’m going to have to cheat a bit on my NaBloPoMo and post twice today….

I, myself, do love to dance. What’s more I’ve been thrilled with the extreme success of dance in pop culture today. It’s one of the “hot” things right now that I actually think is worthy, recognizing dancers as the incredible artists and talents that they are and bringing them to the forefront when they are most traditionally relegated as a backdrop.

Anyhoo, my current dance phenomenon obsession is The LXD – Legion of Extraordinary Dancers. It’s a web-only series on hulu, the most successful one existing. The story is somewhat simplistic: dancers as superheroes and super villains whose power is the dance itself; good vs. evil; recruiting and training of new team members. What makes the series super freaking awesome is the dance. The LXD includes so many genres of dance, from krumping to poi to popping to contemporary to tap. The other thing I love about it is that the series is filled with people of color, both in front of and behind the scenes. I think it could use more women. Regardless, it’s a hip hop ballet circus that kicks ass. I can’t wait for the next episode!

Here’s Season 1, Episode 1 (they are currently in the midst of Season 2, with new episodes released on Wednesdays):

what’s on the tube?

I was sad to witness a couple of my favorite tv shows display some cringe-worthy, questionably racist and sexist moments. I’m actually one of those lefties who likes tv and appreciates keeping up with some pop culture. But my enjoyment of the boob tube is always slightly dampened when my media criticism radar starts flashing during 30 Rock or So You Think You Can Dance. And now, there’s a whole new crop of TV shows featuring Asian Pacific American faces including Hawaii Five-0, Nikita and Outsourced. So far, from what I’ve seen it’s both cringe-inducing and encouraging.

The radio collective I’m part of APA Compass is launching a new feature and dedicating our next show to it – APA Pop Watch – commentary and analysis on APA representation in media and pop culture. The program will air Friday morning November 5, 9am PST on KBOO Community Radio. You can listen online or, if you live in the region on the FM dial at 90.7 Portland, 91.9 Hood River, 100.7 Corvallis.

If you’d like to prepare yourself for our discussion, you might want to hulu some of those new shows and check out these recent(-ish) commentaries…

Asian American Sitcom in the Works – Angry Asian Man

Asians in Primetime – by Dmae Roberts, The Asian Reporter

Fall 2010 TV Season Preview – racebending.com

Is 30 Rock Racist? – by Zeesham Aleem, Huffington Post

Beyond Apu by

sick and tired

yup. that’s where i’m at today. sick and tired, despite the lovely sun brightening the day.

first up, i’ve had to throw in the towel on my first attempt at nablopomo. i forgot that i was actually leaving the internet tubes for two days and was therefore unable to post on those days. and once i got back it took me a bit to catch up on things. so, i’ll be trying again for december and i’ll try my best to post most of the rest of this month. it’s hard to post everyday!!

next up, i found an interesting discussion on racialicious musing on a race equivalent to the bechdel test. the bechdel test refers to cartoonist alison bechdel’s origianly strip in which the two female characters talk about the requirements of movies they will see. (the racialicious post includes the original strip). check out the blog post here and let me know your thoughts.

the date after

i’m still trying to sort through all this elections business. most things went the way i hoped. obama’s decisive win is a step in the right direction for sure, though i still hope that obama will take some better stands on the wars, israel and a few other issues.

here’s an interesting post from racialicious with a bunch of different thoughts on the elections. it certainly reflects my own cautious optimism, especially in regards to the part that race plays in our country.

i’m upset that california voted to pass prop 8 the gay marriage ban. despite the momentum of obama’s election, it seems that our country’s backwards view on gay issues. florida and arizona also passed their gay marriage bans. 😦

the fight is still not over…

It’s all about me

In case you don’t have the chance to pick up the paper copy of the Asian Reporter, you can catch my contributions to the My Turn opinion column at their website. My latest topics include hip-hop, a recent racist comic and the recent coverage of the Olympics (old news by now). Thanks for reading!