Wait A Minute...That's An Asian Guy!

22.3.11 ShaSha LaPerf 1 Comments

As a member of many different sites about Asian men, I've noted that conversations about the lack of Asian men are pretty common. But what people rarely pay attention to the Asian men in black media. While there hasn't been a huge influx of Asian men in black media, they have made their mark. We all know Catfish and Black Bean Sauce, Fakin' Da Funk and Romeo Must Die. But we've had a few other scenes with an Asian guy or two. So let's see what my brain remembers from watching too many hours of TV. And Wiki of course!

First, let me explain my definition of "black media." I mean media that was created by blacks with blacks in mind. Now that doesn't mean that only blacks can enjoy it; however not area of black media gets the same fame in mainstream media. So here are a few men that popped up in some of our favorite (or maybe not always favorite) TV shows and movies.

Of course we all remember In Living Color, the show that gave us such characters as Homey the Clown and Wanda. Although the cast was predominately white and black, Steve Park became a regular cast member in the later seasons.

Park did play some stereotypical roles like a ninja. But this isn't a shock seeing as the show often played on and challenged racial stereotypes. At any rate it's where Park met Kelly Coffield and the two are currently married. Sadly Steve has not appeared in an other black TV shows or movies.

Alec Mapa appeared on the TV show Half and Half.

The aired when the CW meant "Colored Women" :P and was a sitcom about half sisters played by Essence Atkins and Rachel True. Alec played friend and coworker to Rachel True's character Mona.

On the one hand, Mapa's character could be seen as a "token" seeing as he was the only Asian on the show. Also Mapa in real life is openly gay which was also reflected on his character. Mapa was the first gay Asian male that I'd seen have a consistent role. What I really loved is that while Mapa's character had the one-liner moments, he wasn't a one trick pony. We saw his cattiness, but we saw his advice giving, people giving him advice, his happy moments, and his sad moments. Despite being a minor character he was fleshed out. Half & Half wasn't the only black show Mapa appeared on. He also quick appearances on Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, and The Jamie Foxx Show.

And of course I can't talk about black shows without Dante Basco.

Who doesn't love Dante Basco!? He was on my hot man list in his Rufio days! Dante Basco has appeared in several black shows and movies including shows like Moesha, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Hangin' With Mr. Cooper. Unfortunately, I can't remember his appearances on these shows, but I remember the nature of these shows. While there were many black shows that relied on cooning Basco might not have had major roles on these series, but I doubt he was also Long Duck Dong in big horn-rimmed glasses solving Moesha's math problems.

Dante is also well known for his role in Fakin Da Funk, where he the adopted son to a black family. But he also had bit roles in Michael Jackson's Moonwalker and  that (terrible) black remake of Money Can't Buy You Love titled Love Don't Cost a Thing.

Dante has also lent his voices to few animated series aimed at blacks. On an episode of The Proud Family, He played Kwok, Penny's crush. The episode was about interracial dating (though more aimed at the "typical" Asian parents that didn't want their son to date a black girl). But it's still interesting that this idea was not in live-action form, but rather in a cartoon. While some cartoons may feature an interracial couple, I can't think of any that actually address interracial dating. Most of the times the characters are presented in a "we're all the same!" way, ignoring the connections and/or conflicts that real interracial couples may face. Even though it was one 30 minute episode (which was really just a plot device from Romeo and Juliet), I still commend the show of having the balls to present an interest in interracial love AND discuss it. He later appeared in an episode of The Boondocks where he played a Tibetan kickball player.

Of course there have been other Asian men that have appeared in black media. Before Russell Wong was in Romeo Must Die he played a cop in the movie New Jack City. And I must also note Jonny Siew's role as Ling in the (terrible) straight to DVD movie Nora's Hair Salon 2: A Cut Above. Nowadays a lot of black shows have gone more into cooning (coughHouseofPAINcough) show we haven't seen too many good black shows let alone ones that have Asian men in them. But who knows what will happen in the next few TV seasons...

1 comment:

  1. Great Website.

    With all of that talent that is in Asia,it's a sin that some of them have not been discovered long ago.

    It's ashamed that more Asian men are not as pronounced in Hollywood as they should be. What is the holdup? Are we afraid of the inevitable? I remembered reading another Blasian themed website and there was a story on Jet Li.One of the things that I found interesting.(or rather should I say shouldn't be a total shock to us ) in what he is said about Asian men playing more romantic roles is that Hollywood is extremely reluctant in letting them be in it, along with netizens not being accepting of romantism in their pictures( If you ask me, to keep from losing his Asian fanbase, he probably wanted to say that maybe some netizens don't want to see them in romantic scenes with foreigners,especially Black people)

    Asia has always had some very worthy talent. As I've already mentioned, I really don't know how long they can keep these guys behind the scenes.In spite of it, I'm just hoping that the U.S. will get the hint.