By now, most of you have probably seen the “Asian Girlz” video, by Day Above Ground. They credit Linkin Park as one of their influences, but clearly they couldn’t afford to hire Joe H. to help them make a video that wouldn’t end up becoming the laughing stock of the internet… The controversy surrounding the video is also the hottest topic on sites sensitive to Orientalism, even if they aren’t entirely sure what it means. Asian American fans who used to fetishize the featured “music video girl” in their private realm of import car model worship, are super bummed that Day Above Ground are doing it now.
The video features the 30 year old Vietnamese model, Levy Tran. She dances around a modern-day opium den apartment in lingerie, while the band in a gilded cage, serenades her with degrading, racist lyrics featuring every cliched stereotype in the Yellow Fever lexicon.
She has a Lilliputian bubblebath gangbang with the entire band, after they’ve all taken her out to eat in the most Asian areas of Los Angeles – which they give shoutouts to in the video. (Hey, 626 Night Market, I think you’ve got your next headliner!!) She farts sparkling designer vinyl toys, lucky cats, and bootleg high-end fashion brand logos.
The band claims that the video is satire, but that’s a pretty lousy excuse for such profound grossness. They even throw their Indonesian bass player under the bus, using the classic “we aren’t racist, we have Asian friends” routine. Write-ups about the video have inspired some of the best headlines I’ve read in a while, including “‘Asian Girlz’ Video So Racist, You Almost Don’t Notice The Misogyny”.
I’d be bummed for Levy Tran, who has publicly apologized for her participation in the video, except that she’s built a career on selling her Asian sexuality to fetishists. You reap what you sow in your Pan-Asian rice paddies of objectification.