Tweeter: jonizzle


Thursday, July 02, 2009 by Jon

Hip-hop concerts aren't usually something I go to, but I am glad I went because I feel like this could be considered a watershed moment in Asian America. I attended the Far East Movement concert last night at the Roxy in West Hollywood. In my opinion, the crowd, while still plenty Asian, had a good sprinkling of blacks, Latinos, and a noticeable amount of blonde girls -- all there to listen to an amped-up group of Asian boys. And FM isn't entertaining because they're a niche, or funny, or emasculated, but because they're good at what they do -- making music with good beats that gets y'all up -- and maybe even more importantly, they're cool doing that. Their talent and appeal transcends racial lines.

In seeing some of FM's background, they really are "Asian American" in the sense that they've been activists; their immediate community seems to be Asian American, and of course, their name is indicative of their embrace of an Asian American identity. I can't think of anyone else who qualifies like that with FM aside from Jin, who I don't know much about. (Furthermore, I think FM is separate from other artists like Priscilla Ahn or Rachael Yamagata or the Asian dude in Linkin Park, who are all Hapa, or their band is mixed.)

Before FM came on, Ben Baller gave a pretty moving introduction. Now a jeweler, he himself was a DJ for folks up there like RUN DMC 10 years ago. And back then, it's not hard to understand that being an Asian American in the hip-hop landscape would have to go through and fight stereotypes left and right. But anyways, he hadn't been back to the Roxy in 10 years, since the RUN DMC show. And for Ben Baller, well, these were/are his words,

"It's been 10 years since I been to the world famous roxy and the last time I was up there was to see RUN DMC rock the stage.... and to let hip hop legend/hall of famer Jam Master Jay use my mixer for the show..... never in a million years did I think a decade later that an Asian Hip Hop group would be rocking a sold out headline show there."

So you got FM putting on a good show, you got the two white dude opening acts pumping up the crowd to see the 4 asian hip-hop guys in FM, and you got all these girls dancing out for FM, all the while on a famous stage in the entertainment capital of the world, and you're like, yea...Asian America and their artists are starting to be accepted in mainstream entertainment in different ways than Jackie Chan and anime. Thank God.

Lastly, I feel like another aspect of the uniqueness of this show was the amount of semi-Asian celebs in attendance, like the Ben Baller guy, or Wong Fu Productions, or random actor C.S. Lee (he was on Chuck, which I watch), or any of the GBS folks who make their marks all over Los Angeles. Everyone there is in support, and I hope at some point we will achieve like FM and beyond. Because the Far East Movement is out there right now. They're changing the landscape of limitations and raising the ceiling for anyone who looks like them, and in doing so, making it matter a little less that people look like them. And that's the dream, at least for me. Like one of the opening acts Beardo said during his crazy Jew-froed set -- I love America.

Check out their single Girls on the Dance Floor. I overheard a story that a few weekends ago at the Playboy Mansion, this song came on and all the girl indeed screamed and got on the dance floor. That's when you know you've made it.

Thanks FM.

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