Photo courtesy of www.WongFuProductions.com
To close Diversity Awareness Week 2010, Amerasia organization teamed up with the brothers of Chi Rho Omicron (XPO) and hosted an event to raise awareness of Asian-American stereotypes in mainstream media.
The event took place earlier this month at the Satellite Student Union with an attendance of more than 600 people. The event featured Wong Fu Productions, an independent production company, as well as Asian-American and Filipino musicians and dancers.
Wong Fu Productions was established in 2003 by a group of students who met in a visual arts class on the campus of University of California, San Diego. Co-founders of Wong Fu Productions, Philip Wang, Wesley Chan and Ted Fu, began to work together, create stories and make videos.
The trio tackled the issue of Asian-Americans in mainstream media.
“I think it’s ironic that we are just trying to be normal in movies,” Wang said.
Francis Villas, who attended the event, said Wong Fu Productions impacts the Asian-American community to overcome barriers.
“Asian-Americans are often stereotyped in the media as martial artists, nerdy math geniuses or imported car racers,” Villas said. “Those are the only characters that I’ve seen Asian-Americans play in movies.”
Amerasia vice-president Alex Cheah said that each Wong Fu Production video, they are able to break barriers in the way mainstream media typecasts Asian-Americans.
“For example, by promoting YouTube stars AJ Rafael or David Choi, we are able to show the many talents that Asian-Americans have to offer,” he said. “It’s like we can sing, we can dance, and yet mainstream media always see us as that model minority or martial arts expert.”
Before YouTube, the trio posted their videos on their website.
“It was a time when online video was very new and Asian people on the computer was very strange,” Wang said.
Then when YouTube came along, Wong Fu Productions’ fan base began to grow.
“YouTube is this popularity contest that we never asked to be a part of,” said the group.
Wong Fu Productions has millions of Web hits and thousands of fans. They have been featured on CNN and spoken at more than 80 college campuses.
“Touring was a big deal to us,” the trio said. “We got to see the faces of who is watching us.”
As their popularity grew, movie producers began to take notice. The trio recalled the time when producers were interested in their movie “A Moment With You.”
The group talked about how the producers were trying to change their Asian lead actor.
“They said if we wanted to have a successful movie, we couldn’t have an Asian lead,” the trio said. “So we were like that’s messed up! We did not want to be a sell out to our fans.”
The trio said Wong Fu Productions was never meant to be an “Asian thing.” They said they felt a lot of pressure representing Asian-Americans in the media.
“We hope Wong Fu Productions can be for everyone,” the group said.