By Stacy Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
Hey, everyone. I know that it feels a little bit weird to consume pop culture news this week when most of our news focus should be on the George Floyd protests and furthering the conversation about why, above all, Black Lives Matter —as well as the hard work that Asian Americans need to put in to not be complicit in harmful systems upholded by white supremacy, and in working continually to dismantle the pervasive anti-Blackness in our own communities. In this column, I tried to feature some pop culture news that I think is worth the few minutes of your day that it takes to read this column.
Grindr FINALLY removes ethnicity filter
Grindr is perhaps the most popular dating app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people and this week, finally announced that it will remove its ethnicity filter, that feature that makes it super easy to discriminate by omitting the profiles of races and ethnicities that you are grossed out by from your feed. It finally did this after years of fighting the call for doing this, based on some bogus logic about how the filters also contribute positively by helping POCs find other POCs. Grindr says it’s doing this in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
Time and data will tell what Grindr will look like without this feature. Removing the feature doesn’t necessarily mean the jerks that were using it to discriminate will suddenly start dating POCs that they were previously uninterested in—plus, algorithms learn racial biases for sure.
But I mean, maybe people will get annoyed by how much more work it takes to be racist?
Chrissy Teigen forces all of us to Google wtf “MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???” is
Chrissy Teigen is a TV host, cookbook author, professional beautiful person, Thai American—and who also, low-key, is a local. She lived in Snohomish and attended Snohomish High School before she became one of the most recognizable faces in the world.
Last Saturday morning, President Trump responded to White House protesters speaking out against police brutality after George Floyd’s murder by tweeting this inanity:
“The professionally managed so-called ‘protesters’ at the White House had little to do with the memory of George Floyd. They were just there to cause trouble. The
@SecretService handled them easily. Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???”
Chrissy responded by declaring:
“In celebration of whatever the f*** maga night is, I am committed to donating $100,000 to the bail outs of protestors across the country.”
And then when one of her Twitter followers annoyed her by pointing out that the protesters were “rioters and criminals,” Chrissy added:
“Ooo they might need more money then. Make it $200,000.”
And then some time after this, Trump had peaceful protesters tear-gassed and forcibly pushed out of his way so that he could pose with a Bible in front of a church.
So this is the world we live in and that’s our leader.
K-pop stans maybe run the internet
Whenever a K-pop group releases new material, it’s common practice for fans to create and use phrases and hashtags on Twitter and other social media. Because of the immense popularity of K-pop, these hashtags can quickly cannibalize space on social media.
In support of Black Lives Matter though, K-pop fans have actively pushed one another to stop K-pop hashtags from trending so that the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag doesn’t get diluted.
In another display of their immense powers, some K-pop fans also got annoyed that Dallas police encouraged people to send in videos of illegal activities (aka snitch on protesters) via their iWatch app. So they encouraged other fans to download the app and jam it with Fancams (videos of K-pop stuff).
After this, Dallas Police tweeted, “Due to technical difficulties iWatch Dallas app will be down temporarily.”
They never confirmed if it was vids of beautiful Korean pop stars that broke their app. But I like to believe in my heart of hearts that it was.
Wife of ex-officer who killed George Floyd files for divorce
Kellie Chauvin, who is Hmong American, born in Laos, and the 2018 Mrs. Minnesota America winner, filed for divorce from ex-officer Derek Chauvin after 10 years of marriage.
Kellie Chauvin’s attorneys say she’s devastated by George Floyd’s death and is divorcing because of the “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” In the filing, she also stated that she intends to change her last name.
The random times we were the problem
It doesn’t feel quite right, putting out a column that mostly goes easy on Asians. So here are some reruns of pop culture and other moments in recent history we shouldn’t be proud of and should never forget that we watched, allowed, and mostly said nothing against. This list isn’t comprehensive, of course, just the first things that come to mind:
The time rapper Rich Brian thought it was cool to be called Rich Chigga
The time memoirist and famous food guy Eddie Huang told Bill Maher that Asian men have it as bad at Black women
The time Jeremy Lin sported dreadlocks
The time Officer Peter Liang killed unarmed Black man Akai Gurley, and we all showed our privilege by making it all about us; Liang was sentenced to just probation and community service, too
All of the times, every couple of years, when we get all uppity about affirmative action
All the times we let our K-pop heroes wear Blackface and not only did we not call them out on it, we defended their right to wear Blackface
All the times we call the police on Black people
All the times we promote lighter skin and colorism
All the times we have appropriated hip hop culture and said a fat nothing about the origins and roots of what we have appropriated.
Stacy Nguyen can be reached at email@example.com.