Monday, April 19, 2010

WongFu Weekend

wongfu productions meet and greet at columbia university nyc♥ ♥ ♥ ♥Align Center

wongfu productions meet and greet at columbia university nycItalicMe: tired of grinning yet? *they all shake their heads* "no no it's fun!" haha ok guyssss ;)

you know I need to blog about this. I went to Columbia University this weekend to see one of my favorite video makers on Youtube, WongFu Productions and it was great. I finally found out what I've always wondered!!! Where did they get such a cliche Asian name??? I was vaguely aware that some of their videos have a logo of Chinese characters, Am I imagining this and creating something that doesn't really exist just to give myself an explanation? I seem to remember red characters in a circle, and even though I don't read Chinese very well, I assumed it said 'wang' as in 'king' and 'fu' as in 'fortune/money'. Soooo I was thinking maybe it's just that. They want to rule and dominate and they want to be rich. NOPE! Turns out, PHIL who is sort of the 'leader'/spokesperson for the group (the most talkative one) had wongfu as his screen name in middle school lol! because he thought he was being clever since it sounded like Kung Fu. I like it. It has this in-your-face appeal, kind of like how minority groups have taken certain negative words and re-used it within their groups in a positive way. Oh Phil... I kept getting the urge to jump out of my seat, run down, and give them big massive hugs.

WongFu Productions at Columbia University in NYCL to R: Wesley, Phil, Ted

They are the most personable and human internet people I have ever known. Sure they produce music videos for hip hop/r&b artists - not really my style ... sure some of their more serious videos are too romantic and "artsy" for me - I prefer their funny vids ... but other things about them makes up for all else.

Wesley (my favorite sorry phil, ted) said in a low serious tone at one point that for many Asian Americans, it's a fight just to be seen as normal as a result of the very few roles for Asians in Hollywood. They mentioned how their (Asian) actor friends tell them trying to find a role is like "fighting for scraps" . These comments resulted from Phil talking about an earlier experience they had working with a producer who got them into a weird lifestyle where they were trying to sell themselves and attending yacht parties and other sorts of shallow fancy networking type things and the people they were meeting didn't care what their creative goals were. They were however, intrigued by their strong core following of young Asian Americans and wanted to use them to get at us. They were told that if they wanted to make money with their movies, they couldn't cast an Asian in the lead role. They ended that collaboration for all those reasons. They also mentioned how when they read comments for their videos, it bothers them to see people writing "why are these all Asians???" and Phil jokingly was like, people don't say 'why are they all Black' when they watch a Jay-Z video! They brought up repeatedly the need for representing Asian Americans in accurate realistic ways, ie: people who aren't ugly and one-dimensional, which for me and I'm sure many of their fans is their biggest appeal (that and their personalities, which individually is fine, but together just shines magically).

WongFu Productions at Columbia University in NYC400 people. All wanting photos and autographs. Psh! Who cares about autographs in this day and age?

Phil (again with phil, told ya he was the big talker) said that when they first started making videos in the pre-Youtube age, they didn't consciously plan to be role models for young Asians; it was a role that was put upon them ... because it is so needed. Phil bought up how you only see Asians in kung fu fighter roles but I think even that is a very general stereotype. There are so many sub-stereotypes too. Just today, I was watching an episode of The Golden Girls; the subplot where Rose is attending a night school to get her high school diploma, and in this class there was also an Asian man. Reading the credits I discover his last name is Ahn, which is probably Korean or Vietnamese? Well, in the show they had him supposedly playing a Chinese man - Jim Shu (ha ha ha gym shoe yes we get it) BUT, but, he was apparently also Japanese because he made a joke about drinking Sake. You can see how Hollywood sees all the diverse Asian cultures and traits as one interchangeable thing. Korean, Chinese, Japanese - no difference! Never mind that Chinese people can be divided into those who speak Mandarin or Cantonese and whether they come from mainland China or Shang Hai or Hong Kong (and those are just the big ones). Never mind that even if they ARE from the same big city in China there are generational differences, differences based on income and education level (just as in the U.S.), and differences based on what specific neighborhood they're from (like the five boroughs of NY). But something as different as Korea and China; Japan and China! Whole different countries! Merged into one uber-simplified person with a 2 minute scene.
This is why I love what WongFu is doing. There needs to be more people like them, doing what they do, in their own ways.

Okay now that I've talked about the serious stuff can I gush a little? If I had a giant cotton feather blanket and soft fluffy pillows and oh yeah WESLEY, I'd be a happy camper YES. Look at the way he's staring at my shirt when I was shaking hands with Phil! He loves it! The graphic designer in him is amazed by its colorful designs!

The Rocket summer tee yellow

Observe the way he (guy on the far left) is staring straight at me which only happened like 10x. It must be the orange pants.

wong fu productions at columbia university in nyc
wong fu productions at columbia university in nycTo sum up, they are down to earth, funny, awkward, and humble sometimes to the point where they put themselves down (which is a very Asian thing fyi which they probably learned from their parents), and they are also smart as hell especially in the social &/emotional sense.
I love them and can't wait for them to come back next year. All their speaking events are hosted by a certain College or University's Asian culture club and I'm hoping my sister will join NYU's and maybe next year they'll go there and I'll have a insiders link to them. Hahaha I can dream can't I! Come on Diana join the club!

In other news, my advisement apt. with Queens College is tomorrow, need to leave work early and rushhh there. I'm also dying for light pink jeans from Uniqlo since the orange ones are so rad. Also I really miss WongFu. I read on their Twitter that they left NY for the mid-west today and I swear something happy and light has been sucked out of the atmosphere.

Here is their Youtube channel: CLICK ME
Here is their website: CLICK ME TOO

blog comments powered by Disqus
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...