First picture: From left to right, top to bottom: Margaret Cho, Sen. Daniel Akaka, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Kelly Hu, Daniel Dae Kim, Lisa Ling, Maxine Hong Kingston, Lucy Liu, M. Night Shyamalan, Kal Penn, Vera Wang and Jin.Second picture: From left to right, top to bottom: Clint Eastwood, Daddy Yankee, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Joan Rivers, Jon Voight, Dean Cain, Erik Estrada, Tom Selleck, Sylvestor Stallone, Robert Duvall, Lorenzo Lamas and Pat Boone
By Stacy Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
Do celebrity endorsements really make a difference?
Oprah has certainly captivated the whole nation, but will that translate into actual votes? Many celebrity endorsements — like publicity hound Heidi Montag’s endorsement of McCain — don’t warrant much more than a fleeting thought.
Warren G. Harding is widely credited by historians as the first president to have utilized celebrity endorsements. He was backed by film stars like Lillian Russell, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Al Jolson.
Perhaps most famous of all is John F. Kennedy’s association with the Rat Pack and stars like Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich.
Though historians debate over how much celebrity endorsements actually affect campaigns, one thing is true — our society has never been more obsessed with Hollywood, and celebrity endorsements can potentially inspire more young people to go the polls than ever before.
It’s not surprising that Obama made more of splash in liberal Hollywood than his opponent McCain. Compiled here are famous Asian American endorsements for Obama, though Obama does garner the endorsements of many other famous individuals.
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), the first U.S. Senator of Native Hawaiian ancestry and currently the only Chinese American member of the Senate went on record saying, “I want to add a different voice to those who believe Senator Obama would make a fine President. He is the antidote we need to cure Washington of the uninspired, partisan politics that has plagued our country far too long.”
Famous Chinese American novelist Maxine Hong Kingston said, “I trust Barack Obama, who was raised in Indonesia and Hawai’i, to have in his heart the values that Asian American and Pacific Islander people hold dear — family, beautiful community, aloha.”
Other endorsements include:
Eric Byler, director of “Americanese,” a film based on Shawn Wong’s novel.
Margaret Cho, comedienne and political activist
Kelly Hu, actress known for her role as Lady Deathstrike in “X2”
Jin, first Asian American rapper to be signed to a major record label
Daniel Dae Kim, actor known for his role on ABC’s “Lost”
Ken Leung, actor whose breakthrough performance was in the film “Shanghai Kiss”
Lisa Ling, television journalist and former “The View” co-host
Lucy Liu, actress known for her role in the “Charlie’s Angels” films
Derek Lam, fashion designer from San Francisco
Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo
Kal Penn, actor most famous for starring in the film, “Harold and Kumar go to White Castle”
M. Night Shyamalan, award-winning director of “The Sixth Sense”
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, actor known for his role in “Memoirs of a Geisha”
Alexander Wang, famous fashion designer
Vera Wang, famous fashion designer
McCain is not as popular a candidate within Hollywood as Obama, though he does garner the backing of some notable names, both from some people of color and white celebrities. He does, however, lack in Asian American celebrity endorsements.
Steve Forbes, the editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine and himself a former presidential candidate said of McCain, “More and more Americans will be impressed by John McCain’s efforts to reform our convoluted, growth-retarding, anti-opportunity tax code.”
Actor Erik Estrada, known for his role as Francis “Ponch” Poncherello on the late 1970s TV show ChiPs, said, “I always admired him and I consider him one of my heroes because of what he has been through, the fact also that he is a loving father, terrific husband from what I hear. And he’s a good man, he’s a man’s man and I want to support him and I want him to be my next president. And I will do what I possibly can.”
Other endorsements include:
Daddy Yankee (Ramon Ayala), Latin recording artist
Pat Boone, singer and popular performer during the 1950s
Dean Cain, quarter-Japanese actor best known for playing the titular character in “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”
Robert Duvall, Academy Award-winning actor
Clint Eastwood, Academy Award-winning actor and director
Elisabeth Hasselbeck, co-host of “The View”
Lorenzo Lamas, actor best known for his starring role in show “The Renegade”
Arnold Palmer, former PGA player
Joan Rivers, comedienne and award show commentator
Nolan Ryan, Hall of Fame baseball pitcher
Tom Selleck, actor better known for his role on show “Magnum P.I.”
Sylvester Stallone, actor best known for his titular roles in the “Rocky” and “Rambo” film franchises
Jon Voight, Academy Award-winning actor
Stacy Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.