Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Just testing the video option!


Meanwhile, Over at AsianWeek...

We just had an extended lesson in why it's a bad idea to use the word "hate" in a public forum, courtesy of Tim Hardaway, the former Oakland Warrior and NBA All-Star who used it to describe his feelings toward gay people--and then got his ass handed to him in the press while losing incalculable marketing/endorsement potential. So it makes it all the more mindblowing that AsianWeek would run an opinion column last week with the headline "Why I Hate Blacks".


Written by a man named Kenneth Eng, the column appeared online (and in print) on February 23, but has since been pulled from AsianWeek's website. The folks at Hyphen Magazine, however, have blogged about it, and somebody has retyped the full thing in the comments section. There is also a petition making the rounds, but given the updates that have been provided on that site, I'm not sure what will happen with it.

While I was poking around on their site looking for the original (it's disappeared almost without a trace--or apology--except that there are a slew of comments still listed at the end of the "Letters to the Editor" page of the Opinion section), I found a piece about race perception and Barack Obama. It's a little rambling, but I figured I'd better link it if anyone's curious. Not like anyone's going to buy what AsianWeek is selling on that topic anymore, tho...


Thursday, February 22, 2007

If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say...

I don't harbor any illusions about the Democratic primary; Hillary has the pole position in this race. For our man Barry to edge her out, he's going to have to be ten times luckier than he was winning his seat in the Senate--and he was damn lucky then. I'll support Obama to the very end (bought my t-shirt last week!), and do whatever I can to help his cause, but I also have realistic expectations. And if Clinton ends up emerging as the winner, then I'm prepared to back her with similar zeal going into the presidential election. Replacing the right-wing bozos who currently rule the roost in the White House may not cure all that ails the nation, but it's a vital step in the right direction, one whose importance should not be underestimated.

That's why I'm so irritated by this recent flap about the campaign getting personal and negative. Regardless of who comes out to rep the donkey in '08, they have to do it looking good. Bickering about the other candidate's shortcomings or mistakes now will give the Republicans ammunition for later, and will dampen voter enthusiasm in the places where it's most necessary.

And what I find so troubling about this flare-up is that it happened so effing early. Let us try to enjoy the afterglow of the presidential bid announcements, please. At least this garbage is coming out of each candidate's HQ, and not their own mouths. Hopefully, they can take the high road and kick this foolishness to the curb before it becomes a pervasive theme.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

For Your Viewing Pleasure

If you're not out Mardi Gra-ing it up tonight, and just plan to kick it on the couch instead, you might want to flip on the tube and check out Byron Hurt's Hip Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes on PBS. It airs across the country this evening (local schedules can be easily found at PBS.org).

Reportedly, the documentary sets out to give a contextualized analysis of the genre, with a specific look at its violence, homophobia, and, misogyny, yet in a way that ultimately takes the form of "a love letter to hip-hop in spite of its pointed critique."

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Monday, February 19, 2007

On the D.L.

The rumor out of West Los Angeles is that the Smashing Pumpkins have found a HAPA guitarist to replace James Iha as the group gets set to tour again after seven years. The newest member is said to be a graduate student at UCLA in History and apparently has a striking resemblance to Woody Allen. Yes, that's right... An Asian Woody Allen! More details to come... And remember folks, you heard it on Hip Hapa FIRST!


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Of Skin Tones and Other Looming Matters

Earlier this week I watched an online 60 Minutes feature about Obama. Interviewer Steve Kroft brought up a comprehesive slate of topics, among them the weight of racial demographics in voting patterns. He mentioned that one Democratic primary poll (he didn't identify which) had Clinton leading 53% to 27% in the black community, to which the candidate responded (I'm paraphrasing here) that the African American voting public is heterogeneous and complex, and that it would be a mistake to make assumptions about who they endorse and why.

Prior to hearing this stat (which I suppose I should take with a grain of salt, given the lack of citation and the general unreliability of polls), I didn't feel like the "Obama isn't black enough" idea carried much practical impact. That is to say, it might generate catchy fodder for talking heads, but I figured it lacked real consequence for the impending election; Obama himself dismissed the idea during the 60 Minutes feature as something obsessed about by "black and white intellectuals," but not the common citizen.

And according to his own reasoning, I shouldn't link his deficit in the poll with respondants' perception of his blackness. But to say that people don't frequently vote in large part based on race is (a) willfully ignoring basic sociological patterns that dictate a lot of our day-to-day behavior, and (b) forgetting that we're talking about an activity where some people make selections based on which name on the ballot they've heard of before.

So, since those poll numbers are pretty stark, let's indulge in a little of that obsessing and take an inventory of where Barack is 'deficient'. His mother was white. His father was not an African American, but a Kenyan, so the legacy of slavery is not of his family tree. And he grew up in Hawai'i and Indonesia, raised mainly by white relatives in fairly privileged circumstances.

Does this somehow mean that he cannot represent the interests of the black community in this country? You might argue that this is the case, if you just took these basic facts into consideration (and if you did argue this, I would argue against you, but let's save that for another time).

These are facts that are out of his control, part of the arbitrary fates handed down to us before we come into ourselves, before we have achieved self-definition. So let us also take into consideration the dawning of his activist consciousness in college, his tireless grassroots work in deprived Chicago neighborhoods, his vice-like grasp on legal and Constitutional issues as molded at Harvard and galvanized at the University of Chicago, and his meditative exploration of his heritage, with all its finer meanings and wider implications, in Africa.

If you still don't have faith in the ways he has shaped himself, and prefer to get hung up on those facts of fate, there are others you might want to keep in mind. I suggest starting with his skin color, which demonstrates its influence when he gets passed up trying to hail cabs on the street, or when his wife Michelle gives perspective to the risk he faces from a sniper's bullet on the campaign trail by noting, "As a black man, Barack can get shot going to the gas station."

And if you're still not satisfied, then I don't know what to tell you... but I'll return to what will always be my main point about Obama, and which in the end counts the most: that this man has proven himself to be a distinguished, intelligent, charming, hard-working, and compassionate candidate who can represent us all.

I hope that's what voters will be seeing when they look at him.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Go Tell Your Mama:

It's time forI think this campaign is a long shot, but I'm excited for it. Yes, we're all about the biracial around here, so you'd expect our endorsement to go this way, but this means way more than that for me. We need this man to be our next president, people.

Hopefully, I can get myself on task and start giving this some coverage here. The Obama campaign has already shown itself to be pretty well web-savvy, but every little piece of cyber-territory should be staked for the impending crusade.



Monday, February 12, 2007

Day of Rememberance

For those of you in Los Angeles this weekend there will be a Day of Remembrance at the Japanese American National Museum. The Day of Remembrance commemorates President Roosevelt's signing of Executive Order 9066 which ultimately led to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. This year's event will include a panel discussion that will examine Executive Power from a historical and present day perspective.

Also at the Japanese American National Museum this weekend will be the conclusion of Ansel Adams at Manzanar. This exhibit includes over 50 prints of the Manzanar internment camp in California from famed photographer Ansel Adams.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Kakkoi Yo!

Ahhhhh Sh*t! Checkout these two hot video clips from one of my favorite live-hip hop crews in Japan, Cro-Magnon. Formerly known as Loop Junktion the group has resurfaced in the Tokyo hip hop scene under the Jazzy Sport label. Both clips were taken in studio and the second one features labelmate Gagle.

Cro-Magnon Exclusive Studio Session
Gagle x Cro-Magnon
(Watch DJ Mitsu come from behind the booth and spit some rhymes!)


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Diggin' in the Cybercrates: Internet Samples, Volume 7

On the regular, Hip Hapa hooks you into the sites and sounds of the virtual world, offering up samples to help you make the perfect mix of your netsurfing. If you find a gem that needs inclusion, let us know and we'll post it.

Riding the coat tails of the MMA Edition I was online all week checking out the hot websites from various fighters. One fighter that caught my interest was Judo Gold Medalist Hidehiko Yoshida who has opened numerous dojos in the Tokyo area. Rumor has it that he may be bringing his brand of judo to Los Angeles...

Also, while perusing the UFC website I came across a link for a foundation created for the man, the myth, the legend (and proud papa of Hapa kiddies) Bruce Lee! Need I say more? Just check it out!

And those of you looking for some "pure" Hapa internet action look up MixedAsians.com. A great site for chatting on the message boards and looking up pics of your favorite Hapas..


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Funny or Not?

I can't help but pee my pants every time I see that Amp'd mobile commercial with the Asian guy rapping in the bathroom mirror (especially since he looks like a guy I went to school with!). Is that not kosher? Why do I have a feeling that somehow its not very PC of me to like this ad? I don't know... You decide!