The Ballad of Jay Park, Who Is Fighting to Be Hip-Hop’s First Asian Star

Written by on August 11, 2018

Just as Jay Park has achieved success due to his duality, Jay Park must now suffer for it.

There is a bond that forms among Asian American men, applicable to any Asian man that a Westerner might label “Chinese,” accurately or otherwise. It’s a bond over a shared uphill struggle which begins once a yellow boy first knows himself to be yellow. The struggle comes in realizing that, as “yourself” in your rawest form, you will almost universally be deemed the least cool subgenre of male through the gaze of the world you’ve been placed in. It is an ethnicity and gender combo that I can only equate to country music; you can make this cool to others, but it’s going to be difficult, and it’s probably going to involve becoming a version of a very safe archetype.

Asian American boys deal with this in different ways. Many keep things simple and positive, making use of the infrastructure around them to become a high-earning, well-regarded professional, placating parental strictness as best as possible. Others rebel.

An ever-popular form of rebellion is in the Hip-Hop Asian Boy. Often times, the Hip-Hop Asian Boy turns to modern-day minstrelsy, says the N-word as often as his conjunctions, because he hasn’t dealt with a black or brown person who cares enough to punch him out. Mostly, the Hip-Hop Asian Boy just wants to be a cooler minority. He might buy bags of Supreme and Off-White like the black artists he idolizes. He often doesn’t realize the struggle of black people, so he covets their culture. But of course, he might not do those things. He might see himself as a fan rather than an imitator; he might work to appreciate the culture that influences him through praxis and patronage.


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