A Short Look At Black Women in Far East Movement Videos

21.1.12 ShaSha LaPerf 12 Comments

Far East Movement

Despite the fact that I've written about quite a few Asian artists, I haven't really touched on the Far East Movement. The guys should get props. After all, they are one of the few Asian-American artists to really make it big on the Billboard charts. But I haven't really talked about them because...


...I fucking hate their music. Well their mainstream music at least. I did hear some of their early work before they because popular and I thought that was decent. It's funny, I can listen to LMFAO who I think has a similar music style, but I as soon as the FEM was on my radio, I popped in a CD. But I wanted to have some discussion about them anyway so here goes.

Here's a bit of background info via Wiki. Far East Movement (who will be FEM from this point) is a four-man rap group consisting of Kev Nish, Prohgress, J-Splif, DJ Virman. In 2006, their song "Round Round" was featured on the Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift soundtrack (FF:TD is still the worst of the FF movies...I can barely make it half way through it, but I digress). Although they released several other songs, and albums it wasn't until "Like a G6" that they hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts. FEM's album Free Wired hit No. #4 on the Billboard Top Rap Albums charts and featured collaborations with Ryan Tedder from One Republic, Snoop Dogg, and lesser known artists like Kayla Kai.


FEM are a apart of a music genre that is that is predominately black and historically hasn't been so great to those who are not part of that group with perhaps the exception of Latinos. Many artists get shit not only from said groups, but other groups as well, including their own. Their authenticity, messages, and relatabiliy are always up for debate. Chinese-American rapper Jin quickly garnered fame from his stinct on Freestyle Fridays on 106 and Park, showing everyone that Asian had the ability to wow with their rap skills. Unfortunately, despite the backing of Ruff Ryders--which included members like Eve, and DMX, this didn't translate into album sales as his first album, The Rest is History. There are tons of Asian-American rappers like Dumbfounded and Traphik that haven't made it to the mainstream. Furthermore, FEM has gotten a lot of love as rappers whether or not they are seen as part of the hip-hop community is something to be noted as well. Their style is similar to groups like Gym Class Heroes, LMFAO, and the recent incarnation of the Black Eyed Peas in terms of whether or not they are "hip-hop" or "hip-POP." But that's a more complex issue and I'm not well-versed enough in American hip-hop to discuss it.


Although FEM may not be considered a "hip-hop" group to some, their music videos say otherwise. The majority of FEM's music videos aren't that different from what we say on BET or MTV when it comes to hip-hop music. They shoot a lot of videos in club types scenes where the booze if flowing freely and girls are gyrating all over the place. Here's the "Like a G6" video:






Yep, the above video sums of the general themes of FEM's videos. For the most part, FEM has been consistent with the variety of women they feature in their videos be it the typical video girl that just stands around and be pretty, to other artists, to dancers. Let's take a look at some other videos, particuarly ones that have prominently featured black women.


"Rocketeer" ft. Ryan Tedder from One Republic




FEM didn't do a "we at the club yo!" video for their song "Rocketeer" with Ryan Tedder. What makes "Rocketeer" so unique is that compared to their other videos, it featured a AM/BW couple. As I mentioned before, FEM has been pretty consistent with featuring women of color in their videos, but mostly of the Latin and Asian variety. Yet here we have the only video by FEM to feature a them of a couple in love and it's a couple that happens to be black and Asian. The video still has some signature FEM things like cars, girls, and a group party scene, but they were toned down to focus more on the young couple. The video starts with the couple essentially breaking up because the young women is leaving the country, which doesn't seem like the greatest way to display such a couple. However, it also shows that despite their long distance, the young man is still in love with his girlfriend, going as far as to build a "rocket" to go see her.

Many music videos are afraid to touch topics of interracial romances, a few exceptions being Madonna's "Like a Prayer" video and the more overt "Unthinkable" by Alicia Keys. On his The Rest is History album, Jin had a song titled "Love Song" which gives the story of a black woman and an Asian man. This is probably the first time I've ever heard a reference to BW/AM couple in a song. Jin's song has an autobiographical lean to it, as he implies near the end of the song. As for FEM, it's not clear if this song is directly related to any of the members or not. Still it was refreshing to see the return of BW/AM references in a song. I was amused that the black girl was going to Tokyo and is a manga artists (though that image was from Courtney Love's Princess Ai manga). LOL made me wonder if they've been coming across the black Asiaphiles as they've gotten more popular.


"Jello" ft. Rye Rye



"Jello" is the first video FEM has released this year. FEM rehashed the "Like a G6" sound as well the "let's show stuffy old people how to party!" theme. Bring on the cars and girls! Yeah...I don't really need to explain what "jello" is. While we do see some black women shaking their jello in the video, interestingly we see other representations of black women as well. We have the "Oprah" whom gets "engaged" to one of the members of FEM and even shares a kiss with him. For some reason the scene reminded me of The Chappelle Show skit where he gets "Oprah" pregnant, so perhaps the FEM scene is a nod to that. And yes, that was "Tiger" and "Obama" in the background. We also see a whole lot of Baltimore rapper Rye Rye. Rye Rye doesn't have a lot of lines in the song itself yet she gets a lot of screen time, probably the same amount at the members of FEM. Although I'm not feeling her Lil Mama/80s-eque outfit and makeup (though she might be influenced by Robyn, and M.I.A., whom she's worked with) , I get a sense of fun from her as opposed to the hyper-sexualized. That's countered with the women shaking their asses. Overall, we get a mix of fun, sexiness, and silliness, something  we rarely get to see from black women in videos, and certainly not in one video.


FEM's decision to have black women as a part of their video list is pretty cool. Nothing else really feels forces between them and it's not always the image of asses shaking all over the place. Currently FEM is working on a new album titled Dirty Bass set to release this year and as I mentioned earlier, "Jello" is the first single that will be release this year. Let's see how the year will play out for FEM and if they will be able to duplicate the success of their previous album. We'll also see if they decide to continue giving black women a bit of spotlight in their videos. Right now, I'm still not a big fan of their music, but I do commend them for doing so well. Maybe I'll find a song or two I'll like in Dirty Bass. Haha, I'm just waiting for a LMFAO collaboration! An anonymous posted who deleted their comment mentioned that LMFAO already did work with FEM, which I promptly Youtube-d . Thank you for letting me know!


12 comments:

  1. YES! I love FEM's music and I made sure to go and BUY it on itunes once I saw the AM/BW vid for Rocketeer. It is awesome to see them giving us some love :D

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    1. Like I said, I'm not a fan of FEM, but I did like the way Rocketeer sounded. Some of it I think had to do with Ryan Tedder who's I've been a fan of since "Apologize." LOL okay, okay I did also like their "So What" song too. I hope FEM does a better mix of the club bangers and the more mellow songs with the next album.

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  2. They do have a few remixes with LMFAO
    e.g. La La La

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  3. That Jello video from FEM is nuts. I liked the beats from it. I'm just learning about them a couple of years ago. I'm not an avid fan of theirs,but there are a couple a songs from them that I like from them.Now that is what I like about FEM..the inclusion of Black and other races of women in their videos. I just get sick and tired of people serenading us from afar, then you see non of us as their lovers/wives/girlfriends on their videos.Kpop should take cues from this.

    I've never doubted the power of talent that Asians have in the music department and it has been that way for ages/. It is baffling that as long as the have been out there like that, there haven't been more of them to be iconic. I'm a 70's-80's child and I remembered Hiroshima, as a matter of fact..a lot of Black people liked that group. Then There was that guy( I know his name,but I forgot how to spell his name) who sung "Sukiyaki" in the 60's. Taste Honey got it, then some other groups got. That is a song that will never die. I remembered the Black community lumping the Japanese with us and Latinos when it came to singing.

    Times has changed. More younger people are sliding to hip-hop or Pop. Hee-hee, I also liked your third classification " hip-pop" because basically that is what FEM really is,but it's all good. As a whole entertainment is not about having fun of what you do, it's about what Deion Sanders once said about sports..a business and about image opposed to whole some good music. Nobody seems to want that any more. If it isn't about rapping filthy nasty rap/or about money, it about just looking at the beauty of some person. The entertainment industry just seems to be about making millions and nothing else.

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    1. I think a problem with Asians is that they seem to get the least amount of support musically for all groups of people. Many Asian-American artists have tried to make it here, but have been met with "Well you're Asian why are you doing hip-hop/R&B/pop? That's not for you!" It's amazing to me how that godawful KE$HA could get a record deal, yet there are many talented Asian-American artists that can't even get a foot in the door.

      I agree with that Deion Sanders quote though he still gets side-eye for his attempt at a rap career. ;P It's so easy to make a song and a video nowadays because of computers that you really don't need to be creative or have talent to really "make music." And record companies only care about money as opposed to nurturing new artists and letting other music styles and lyrics get promotion. I think there is a place for FEM's music, but I think we also need places for different sounds and voices. We need to have more diversity in music.

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  4. It's been a while since I have been active on Blogger due to being busy and not having the internet, but now I do. I actually did not hear about FEM until "Like a G6" came out. I liked the song and actually downloaded it to my ipod. However, when Rocketeer came out, I really loved that song, because I liked the lyrics and the fact that it had am/bw featured in the video, which we don't see too much off. As for their other songs, I have yet to listen to them. I'm actually very behind in the music scene, so I don't know what's new out right now ^^;

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  5. @Pandaninja, don't sweat it. I am always late for the party too. lol Sha Sha has been on point with alot of posts and I've been too busy to add my little two cents worth :)

    I only like one or two of FEM songs. The only one that really struck me was Rocketeer. I do love the video though, this may be why I like the song. I find it strange that I absolutely adore Aziatix, yet they do not have POC(black women) in their mv's.

    I really was hoping for Jin to make it. I thought he was so cute in 2fast2furious as the mechanic. I'll have to try and find his album,that song sounds like it would be nice to add to my playlist.

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    1. Lady and Panda, don't worry about being active on here! :) LOL everyone loves Rocketeer!

      @Lady: I'm a big fan of Aziatix, and I hope they decide to break into the American market. I think they're style is radio friendly, but definitely not as club-banging as FEM, which could be a problem for them. As for their videos, LOL I think all their videos are terrible! It's like 98% shots of them, and 2% totally mundane stuff. I think they're good looking guys, but they should to more to create more interesting videos!

      Jin should have done better since Ruff Ryders was such a big thing back then. He barely got promotion on their end. I wonder if he had been under someone like Jay-Z or under Kanye what would've happened. I think Jin's been doing well as an actor in China/HK though. Would've been nice to see him do a cameo in Fast Five.

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  6. Shasha,

    Isn't Deion telling the truth about that one? People don't have to sing anymore, just hum a tune and you're in. I guess that is why I'm getting frequently bored with today's entertainment.It's also crazy for people to assume that rap has to be for Black/Latino people.

    My reason that I would like to see more Asians in the rap scene. Individually, I would for them to rap about their life stories. I think that some of these music execs think that Asians shouldn't be in the rapping game because of the "Model Myth squeaky clean" stereotype. If they( the music execs) want to go there with the stereotyping, there are some Asians who have had it hard in their lives and could tell the world about it and/or are streetwise. Even if some of them fit the "Model" stereotype, it doesn't mean that they don't have a story to tell the world.

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    1. America as a whole is still VERY slow to accepting Asians in the media, especially music. It's funny because the majority of the groups that have won America's Best Dance Crew has been Asian, and dance is a part of the hip-hop world. However, the show also digs itself into Asian stereotypes since most of the "stories" coming from these groups is "OMg my parents keep telling me to study!" where as the stories from the other groups are usually, "we're poor and have a hard life." Last week on American Idol, a young Korean man auditioned and it was funny to see the way people reacted. They were so AMAZED that this young man could sing. People still have William Hung in their heads even though John Park made it onto the live competition last year. LOL meanwhile I was like, "eh, in the realm of Asian/Asian-American singers he's just okay." At any rate, I hope he gets to the live show, just to remind people that yes Asians can do more than math.

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  7. Like a G6 was an itunes single of the week so I have it. Don't have the rest of their music. I saw the Jello video, I like how they had the Oprah, Obama, Tiger look alikes but to me it wasn't done in a disrespectful way. LMFAO, they play them a lot in my excercise classes so I've been forced to listen. It is ok, not something I'd listen to on my own.

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    1. I think that's why I like the Jello video too. Using the impersonators is probably a dated idea, but it's interesting that they chose to use all black "celebrities" (LOL yep I'm calling you black Tiger), instead of white ones. I think the Obama I've seen in YouTube videos, but I'm not sure.

      LOL FEM gets points over LMFAO though because they don't make videos where they're in Speedos. The "Sexy and I Know It" video still scares me. >_<

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