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EDDIE KIM INTERVIEW
Executive Producer of Projekt NewSpeak
Seeks to Create a Movement that is Constantly Evolving and Continuing a New Language and Culture with a
Purpose of Empowering, Inspiring, Uplifting, Creating, Storytelling and Voicing with a Limitless Sense.

 

DIVERSITIY
US ASIANS: Do you agree and/or disagree with the original status of diversity and its origin described in articles such as Hollywood's "Yellow Ceiling", Sheridan Prasso Interview (Writer of the "Asian Mystique"), Jeff Adachi Interview on his film "Slanted Screen," David Henry Hwang Interview (Prominent Playwright), Philip Kan Gotanda Interview (Prominent Playwright) and Lea Salonga Interview.

PROJEKT NEWSPEAK'S EDDIE KIM: I think the openness to diversity…particularly Asian Americans in Entertainment is starting to change. It still has a long way to go, but it is changing for the better. For the longest time, there seems to have been a "ceiling" for Asian actors/artists. What's still true today is that Hollywood will look at Jet Li and Jackie Chan more for blockbuster movies. I think it's like that because their movies that focus on martial arts bring in more money to the producers (i.e. Rush Hour).

Working Asian American Artists in Hollywood
However at the same time, more Asian Americans are getting onto TV and the big screen…such as Sandra Oh, Daniel Dae Kim and John Cho. These actors are lately being involved in work that is multidimensional and are getting recognized for their hard work (i.e. Sandra Oh winning the Golden Globe). They are opening doors for more Asian Americans artists to come through and get recognized. So although the hardships that Asians have faced in entertainment are still current today, there is lately a growing movement to have more Asian Americans involved in the arts. And in due time, it will push Hollywood to incorporate more Asian Americans on screen.

US ASIANS: What stereotypes (current, past and future on the Asian Male - as described in the Jeff Adachi interview and the "Ethnic Diversity" article) that you are combating/addressing are the most important to combat and what identifies these portrayals as racist?

PROJEKT NEWSPEAK'S EDDIE KIM: Of course…I'd say I'm trying to fight many if not all stereotypes about Asian Americans because it really minimizes who we are as people and what kind of potential we bring as artists. But to name of a few strong ones that stick in my head would be…

To fight the notion that Asian Americans can only become doctors, lawyers, engineers, or business owners. I want to really encourage and motivate young Asian Americans to look at art and develop our culture through art. We have to push through that Asian Americans can create art and can be successful as an artist. The arts and entertainment are one of the strongest mediums of creating change both consciously and subconsciously because it is through the media that we can really affect images, symbols and stereotypes of Asian Americans.

I want to fight these images that have been long lasting in the media that portray Asian Americans as uber nerds, desexualized guys or hypersexualized girls, buck toothed ninjas that never get the girl, evil schemers, etc. These stereotypes really devalue and minimize who we are as people. I want to combat those stereotypes because these images affect us subconsciously and limits are own sense of who we can become as a person. It also limits what kinds of roles we can get as actors. And overall it can negatively affect our self-esteem.

JEFF ADACHI (Producer of the film "Slanted Screen"): "Historically, in films and television, Asian men have been portrayed alternatively as the sinister and evil Fu Man Chu who's going to take over the world." To continue, click HERE.
 
For example, with the
de-sexualized Asian male stereotype…it's quite an attack on Asian males when the entire United States has an image/stereotype of Asian males as being "less than a real male". It is one of many different stereotypes of Asian males but it's something that constantly pops up in America…where Asian males are considered to be at the bottom of the totem pole. It can hit many Asian males at a subconscious level of being less than what is desirable and ultimately affects self-esteem.

US ASIANS: Could you share your thoughts on multi-ethnic casting where it doesn't matter what nationality you are, one can play any other nationality on screen/theater - OR - do you believe in the August Wilson train of thought that there needs to be a viable ethnic theater community where only blacks can play in "black" plays?

Just as white audiences need to become more receptive to stories from different cultures, "ethnic" audiences need to expand their purviews beyond their own communities and the white "mainstream." I believe it hasn't been particularly fruitful for single-ethnic theatres to pool their resources, because their audiences have proven largely unresponsive to works about minorities other than their own.
(David Henry Hwang)
PROJEKT NEWSPEAK'S EDDIE KIM:
I have mixed emotions and thoughts on this issue. I had read in an article once that Sandra Oh had played a role in a Shakespearean play in Canada and was not ever questioned about whether she can fully play/represent that part or not because she was Asian. But in America she spoke about how race plays a factor on what kind of roles she may or may not get. That juxtaposition and conflict bothers me because it seems as though in other countries, Asian actors/actresses can be free to play different roles regardless of race, but in America race can be used to limit what roles people can play. Although I am one to believe in capturing the true essence of character even if it includes having to be a certain ethnicity; at the same time I feel that it can be a trap to prevent the potential in actors who can play different roles regardless of race.

US ASIANS: Which Asian American media advocacy organizations (MANAA, CAPE, APA Media Coalition, Asian Media Watch, Asian Media Watchdog, etc. - among other noteworthy organizations - do you work with currently and/or support?

PROJEKT NEWSPEAK'S EDDIE KIM: Because we're still relatively new, we haven't had the chance to work with many different organizations…but we support Asian arts organizations that push for the diversification of Hollywood and that support Asian American artists.

US ASIANS: What do you feel is the current status of the quality level of Asian/Asian Pacific American artists (i.e. actors, directors, writers, musicians, comedians, slam poets, etc.)?

THE "YELLOW CEILING"

THIS LONG-STANDING CASTING and production pattern started in the 1920s and continues to the present day where artists such as Anna May Wong, Sessue Hayakawa, George Takei, Bruce Lee, John Lone, Joan Chen, Margaret Cho, Lea Salonga and others have long suffered. While proven box office draws such as Chow Yun-Fat, Jet Li and Jackie Chan have publicly spoken of their great desire to be offered a greater diversity of roles, one wonders why they continued to be turned down?

HOLLYWOOD'S DREAM FACTORY has traditionally shown strange and stereotypical “yellowface” visions of Asian leading characters in movies/TV programs such as Kung Fu, Charlie Chan, the evil Fu Manchu, Genghis Khan,
Unfortunate Choices
 
 
 
The Good Earth, Dragon Seed, Teahouse of the August Moon, Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips, Inn of the Sixth Happiness and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, all roles portrayed by Caucasian actors in yellow cake makeup.

What with authenticity a heated debate in Hollywood, one would hope that such stereotypes would swiftly decline and instead be substituted with accurate representations.

THE ASIAN AMERICAN COMMUNITIES have not exactly made it easier with various artists of Asian descent (i.e. Lea Salonga/Ms. Saigon, Anna May Wong/Thief of Baghdad, Lucy Liu/Ally McBeal, Gedde Watanabe/16 Candles, FOX’s Banzai, American Idol’s William Hung, etc.) being magnets for conflict over multiculturalism, either.
To continue, click HERE.

PROJEKT NEWSPEAK'S EDDIE KIM:
There are really good Asian artists…and of course there are also bad artists. But overall, Asian American in the arts is in a fledgling stage and growing compared to say like the African American Arts.

I personally feel that we need more Asian American artists of all genres. There are not nearly enough Asian American artists and there are not nearly enough people/organizations that support them. If anyone is to say that there are a lot of bad Asian American artists, I would really challenge people to invest and support in the artists. Asian American arts cannot grow in numbers and also in quality without the support of the community.

Support is the only way to nurture and improve the artists and their art. The African American community really supports their artists. They will come out of the woodwork to support Black movies, black music, etc. And by creating that market and demand, Hollywood can recognize that they should invest in African American artists and their art…and thus creating opportunities for African Americans. The Asian American community should do the same.

US ASIANS: Does the ability to speak/read/write in English and Korean (that provides the ability to understand both cultures) provide unique perspectives/options/procedures to bridge the gap between these two communities - in addition, what do you feel needs to be addressed first and what are the greatest differences?

PROJEKT NEWSPEAK'S EDDIE KIM: Definitely speaking/reading/writing English and Korean provides for the possibilities of bridging the gap between the two communities (and by communities I'm talking about the 1st and 2nd generation KA's - Korean Americans).

The greatest differences between the 1st and 2nd generation I believe is language and cultural styles. The 1st generation tends to be Korean-speaking with social norms and behaviors that are of Korea. The 2nd generation tends to be English-speaking with social norms and behaviors that are of America. This gap leads to not only communication problems but also to viewpoints on life.

What I feel needs to be addressed first in the Korean American community is something that is now taking a turn….and that is apathy in community involvement. For the longest time, KA's (Korean Americans) all around have been less inclined to be involved in community affairs, political issues and causes, resisted voting, and other means of participation. Lately though, more and more young KA's (Korean Americans) have been getting involved in the public arena..into the non-profit world and into the government world. The second generation is paving the way towards creating a voice for the Korean American community nationwide….and it will change how mainstream America treats Korean Americans….because lately now, KA's (Korean Americans) are standing on issues and raising their voices through participation.

 
To Continue, Click HERE
 
 
Click on the Links Below to Discover More About Eddie Kim & ProjektSpeak's Vision
1984 (George Orwell book) AA Actors Working AA Role Models
AA Media & Organizations Advocacy Background April 22 Event
Background Overview Creative Background De-Sexualized Asian Male Stereotype
Demographics Diversity Engaging Our Children
Ethnic Audiences Ken Oak L.A.'s Spoken Word Scene
Life Highlights Need to Create Our Own Scene Projekt NewSpeak
Projekt NewSpeak's Mission Projekt NewSpeak's Success and Future Projekt NwSpeak's Team Members
Projekt NewSpeak's Websites Resume Role Models
Slam Poetry Unfortunate Media Choices We Must be the Change
What is NewSpeak Slam? Working AA Actors Yellow Ceiling

 

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