In this case, “all time” refers to two years. You see, today marks the second anniversary of the official launch of the site. Since that time, we’ve amassed dozens of contributors, hundreds of articles, thousands of readers, and hundreds of thousands of views. It’s humbling, and as the site’s lead editor, I want to thank each and everyone who has made the Nerds of Color what it is today, two years later.
So before we move forward into Year Three, I wanted to look back at the last two, and share ten of the most read posts in the history of the blog. Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to follow us on twitter and Facebook where we’ll be sharing links to these classic posts all week. Anyway, on to the countdown!
The first post is also one of the more recent ones to make the list. Originally posted on June 3, 2015, I wrote this in reaction to the double whammy of Doctor Strange casting news and the theatrical debut of Cameron Crowe’s Aloha. In both cases unambiguously white women were cast to play Asian or Pacific Islander characters. Needless to say, this post gained a lot of attention for the site, and I was even invited to appear on outlets like Huffington Post Live and msnbc in the wake of its posting.
The next most viewed post on our site comes from November 30, 2013. Spike Lee’s American reinterpretation of the classic Korean film Oldboy had just hit theaters, and Junko decided to run down five of the things that were lost in translation in the remake. Even though the movie flopped at the box office, evidently there are enough people on the internet curious about what it was about since “spike lee oldboy” is one of the more frequently used search terms that send folks our way. I’d like to think Junko is ultimately doing a service for these people.
The eighth most visited article on the N.O.C. is also the first one from a guest contributor. One of the things I’m proudest about since launching the site is the opportunity to meet other writers I’ve admired and sharing this forum with them. Native American Studies scholar Cutcha Risling Baldy is one of those writers. After originally appearing on her own site in December 2013, Cutcha graciously let us cross post her brilliant Walking Dead as Native analogy piece on April 24, 2014.
Speaking of scholarly guest contributors, number seven on the list comes from Berkeley PhD candidate and playwright Takeo Rivera. Published on April 30, 2015, Takeo broke down some of the Orientalist tropes that he found in Netflix’s much-hyped Daredevil series. To be fair, other NOCs were similarly hyped about the show, as you can see from this episode of Hard NOC Life and in Eric’s recaps. Still, Takeo offered up some much needed critical perspective that garnered a lot of discussion about the show.
One of the other Marvel properties that received a lot of our attention last year was Disney’s Big Hero 6. With a multicultural cast (on screen and behind the microphone) as well as an Asian American male lead, the movie ticked all of the boxes for Bao Phi. Unfortunately, the New York Times also ticked off Bao for suggesting that the lead should’ve been female instead (ignoring just how rare it is to see an Asian American male anything on screen). So Bao wrote this open letter to her on November 17, 2014.
We’ve now moved in to the top five posts in the N.O.C.’s brief history, and it’s another one from a guest contributor. This time, comic artist Alice Meichi Li who had a pretty interesting reaction to the news that the rights to cinematic Spider-Man were returning to Marvel Studios. This was the perfect opportunity to really rethink the role and add a little more diversity to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On February 13 of this year, Alice suggested that Marvel and Sony should find an Asian American actor to play the part of Peter Park(er) and laid out a series of pretty convincing points. Though she initially suggested Steven Yeun (of Walking Dead fame), I came back a few months later suggesting Ryan Potter (from Big Hero 6) would be perfect for Marvel/Sony’s teenaged Spidey. Alas, they eventually cast Tom Holland to appear in Captain America: Civil War. Ah well. What could have been.
The fourth most read piece comes from one of our original contributors Claire Light. Though she took a year and a half sabbatical from the site — after posting frequently at launch — Claire came back in full force with this analysis of The Wachowskis’ latest sci-fi epic Sense8 for Netflix. Though it’s only been on the site since June 10, it’s quickly shot to the top of most-viewed posts, garnering nearly 20,000 hits in only two months! Most of those clicks came from this AV Club piece by Rowan Kaiser, who called Claire’s article “a great piece of TV criticism in general” and “does a great job examining the show’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of diversity and storytelling.”
Number three on the list of most read articles is this Walking Dead piece by O.G. N.O.C. Jenn (of Reappropriate fame). During October 2013’s “Walker Week” — celebrating all things zombie for the fourth season premiere of the hit AMC series — Jenn lit up the internet with her takedown of the show’s suspect relationship with its Black male characters. (Pour one out for T-Dog). For the longest time, the show had a seemingly “One Black Man at a Time” rule, killing off one African American character (usually male) before introducing another. Since killing off T-Dog, the show has progressed by killing off Oscar. And Bob. And Tyreese. And Noah. Guess things haven’t changed. (Watch your back in Season Six, Morgan!)
It’s tragically fitting that on this, the one year anniversary of Michael Brown’s murder, the second most read story on our site is about the similar police-involved murder of Darrien Hunt. In September 2014, just one month after an unarmed Michael Brown was shot down in Ferguson, police in Utah opened fire on Darrien Hunt, a self-professed anime fan who may have been cosplaying when he was gunned down, adding to the epidemic of unarmed Black men being shot and killed by police. Jamie Broadnax, founder of Black Girl Nerds, not only framed the tragedy in the context of other senseless police shootings — which is an epidemic in this country and why we need to remind people that #BlackLivesMatter — but also implored Blerds to not allow this tragedy to make them be fearful of cosplaying.
And the number one most viewed article in the history of The Nerds of Color is this piece I wrote on December 15, 2014 in response to Aaron Sorkin’s leaked email bemoaning the lack of Asian movie stars. If you remember, hackers served up the private emails and documents of Sony Pictures execs and all hell broke loose. One of those emails made clear what most Hollywood decision-makers have been thinking for decades: Asian Americans can’t be movie stars. Of course this is a self-fulfilling prophecy because if you don’t give Asians the opportunity to be movie stars, then how can they be movie stars? So I went to Box Office Mojo and looked at all of the money that Asian Pacific Islander actors like Keanu Reeves (who’s part Chinese and Hawaiian) and Dwayne Johnson (part Samoan) have raked in over the years. Thanks to this Facebook post by author Junot Diaz, many of you read it.
So that’s the list. Hopefully, Year Three of this experiment called The Nerds of Color will bring even more readers and fans to the fold so we can continue our conversations about pop culture with a different perspective.