Trish is a half Korean hip hop head who writes satire music articles on The Rap Insider and muses over culture and diversity on Mixed Nation. In her spare time you can find her eating kimchi or tweeting at @TheGreenGroove.
Driving the Pork Chop Express. Rescuing Chinese girls with green eyes. Fighting little old basket-cases on wheels who turn into ten-foot-tall road blocks. Shaking the pillars of heaven. That’s all in a day’s work for Jack Burton, the charismatic truck driver hero with a mullet from John Carpenter’s 1986 kung fu/sci-fi comedy, Big Trouble in Little China.
It’s been nearly 30 years since the film was first released at the box office, and since my friend Julian and I would pretend that I was Miao Yin and he was David Lo Pan. We’d quote lines like “Chinese girls do not come with green eyes, Mr. Burton” and “It’s all in the reflexes” and cross our pinky fingers just like evil Lo Pan did before beams of light shot out of his mouth. Big Trouble was one of my favorite movies of the 80s, and it was my second favorite from director John Carpenter (right after The Thing).
The glamour of being an adult female rocker. The glitter of Synergy’s earrings. The fashion era that embraced shoulder pads. The fame associated with traveling around the world. From what has been revealed by director Jon M. Chu and his recently announced cast, none of this will be a focus of the live-action Jem and the Holograms film.
Do you know what’s truly outrageous? I’m 33 years old, have no kids, and still watch cartoons. There’s one in particular that I just started watching again, and after not seeing it for 16 years I was reminded of both the hilarity (shoulder pads!) and the groundbreaking diversity of cartoons in the 80s. If you didn’t guess it by the post’s title, I’m referring to Jem and the Holograms, an animated series created by Hasbro, Marvel Productions, and animation studio Sunbow Productions.
As a young girl growing up in the 80s, there were plenty of cartoons I could watch to justify my love for cuddly teddy bears and rainbow colored horses. There was also She-Ra, He-Man’s empowered twin sister. She represented two dreams of every little girl: being a princess and kicking bad guys’ butts. However, looking back at the variety of cartoons geared toward young girls, there wasn’t much cultural diversity, and there weren’t many realistic female characters that young NOCs like me could look to as role models.
If you’re a fan of ‘90s pop culture, and you appreciate hip hop music and quality comedy television, then you were probably a fan of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. The show, which aired on NBC from 1990 to 1996, was an entertaining display of humor, culture clashes, and broken stereotypes that almost always ended with a message about the importance of family. Although Will Smith was undoubtedly the star of the show, and Carlton had the best moves (see The Carlton Dance), one of the most memorable characters was Uncle Phil, played by James Avery with a deep love and seriousness that all fathers should possess. More than that, Avery’s Uncle Phil also had a sense of humor that made him the ultimate cool uncle.
Sadly, Avery passed away on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 from open-heart surgery complications. He was only 68.
Most people don’t automatically associate hip hop music with fanboys. Why? Because they’re about as opposite as things get.
Hip hop is part of a subculture that mixes jazz, funk, soul, reggae, disco and other types of music. Its pioneers — like Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, Public Enemy, and KRS-ONE — performed music in the communities that they were passionate about, music that spoke the truth about the social, economic, and political status of the times. Fanboys, on the other hand, are part of a subculture that mixes comic books, television shows, films, video games, and other nerdy topics. Self-proclaimed fanboys discuss (and dress up as) things they are passionate about, and they aren’t afraid to display this passion in their community at places like Comic Con.
So wait, maybe they’re not so different after all.
I fondly remember being about 8-years-old and watching horror classics like The Exorcist and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Despite countless nightmares and near bed-wetting experiences, I continued to want to be scared because I fell in love with the genre. There was such diversity in the types of horror films I could watch, from ghost stories like Poltergeist and psychological thrillers like The Shining, to slasher flicks like A Nightmare on Elm Street and vampire-themed classics like The Lost Boys. My favorite films were B-movie cult classics like The Evil Dead trilogy, which combined comedy, zombies, and the supernatural all into one. But scary sci-fi gore fests like Alien weren’t too far behind either.
Although there was much diversity in the types of horror films that I watched, there wasn’t a lot of diversity in the cast of characters that populated these films. All of the movies mentioned above feature a cast of mainly white characters and families. As a half-Korean fan of horror, I always longed to see more characters of color play significant roles in American horror movies. Of course there are plenty of Asian horror films, but I honestly can’t remember any Asian characters in mainstream American horror films of the last three decades — which is why we love Steve Yeun so much around NOC HQ.
And while you might find the occasional black character attending camp or staying in a cabin in the woods, black men were usually the first to get sliced, diced, or axed in a slasher flick, as evidenced by Bao‘s “Not Gonna Make It” collection, posted yesterday.
Over the weekend, Jamie Foxx spilled some pretty spoilery secrets aboutThe Amazing Spider-Man 2 and a potential Sinister Six spin-off movie. Foxx plays the supervillain Electro in the upcoming superhero sequel, and it got me thinking about the comic book movie legacy of In Living Color, one of my favorite shows growing up.
The year was 1990. I was a shy, nerdy 10-year-old living in Newport News, Virginia. Like my origin post said, I was practically raised by television because my mother was constantly working. When I wasn’t watching horror shows like Tales from the Crypt, you could find me watching anything that would make me laugh. My favorites were sitcoms like The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Family Matters. Since there were no Asians to look for on television, I turned to these shows to find any kind of cultural connection — and to laugh uncontrollably. And no other show made me laugh harder than In Living Color.
When Warner Brothers announced that Ben Affleck was going to be the new Batman in the Man of Steel sequel, I had mixed feelings. Like Jenn said, I thought it was a very questionable casting choice considering his horrid display of acting chops in Pearl Harbor and Daredevil. Then again, I agreed with Keith that Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms, and I think that he has been slowly gaining street cred since he won the Oscar for Argo.
Then I immediately became nostalgic and pictured every single actor who has ever played Batman on the big screen. While their memorable Batman roles came to mind, I also thought of other films they have done that I really liked. As a nostalgic nerd of the ‘80s and ‘90s, of course those roles popped into my head first. A prime example is Michael Keaton, the first actor to grace the big screen as Batman in Tim Burton’s films from 1989 and 1992, respectively.
I was raised by a single Korean mom, but I was also inadvertently raised by pop culture. My mom worked countless hours in a computer factory during the week and had a store at the flea market on the weekends. Just like most other immigrant parents, she had no time for fun activities or family vacations because she was constantly working to provide for her family. My mom was always so tired when she came home from work, so I never expected her to come up with clever ways to amuse me and my brother. We discovered our own hobbies to occupy our time, and mine included playing Nintendo, recording my favorite radio songs onto cassette tapes, and being scared.