Q&A with The OA’s Ian Alexander

by Jes Vu | Originally posted at Angry Asian Man

In a time where representation is such a hot topic in Hollywood, Netflix’s The OA does something few have done: cast an actual Asian transgender teenage boy as an Asian transgender teenage boy. Vietnamese-American teen Ian Alexander is one of multiple Asian actors in The OA’s main cast alongside Filipino/Puerto Rican-American Brandon Perea and British Pakistani Riz Ahmed (in a recurring role). Continuing the spotlight from his response to a viral anti-trans photo, Ian makes his on-screen acting debut as Buck Vu in the newly-released show having been cast from an online open casting call in 2015.

Growing up in places including Japan, Hawai’i, and D.C. have helped shape Ian. The fifteen-year-old high school junior has had more experiences than most teenagers his age, and his passion knows no bounds. He’s politically vocal, a huge admirer of actors and filmmakers like Jen Richards (Her Story) and Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) and relentless as a Marvel fanboy (he’s “Team Bucky” for those who are curious). Ian had time to sit down and talk about his upbringing and the show (don’t worry, there are no spoilers here).

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Ten (or More) People Who Proved 2016 Wasn’t a Total Disaster

When it’s all said and done, 2016 will be long remembered as the year everything (including American democracy) went to hell. Pop culture did not go unscathed either. We said goodbye to all of our heroes: Prince, Bowie, Ali, Phife, Kanye… and hello to the worst the internet could offer. From misogynist Ghostbusters haters to problematic faves, it was the year the ugly side of internet culture went mainstream. I mean, we literally elected an internet troll the leader of the free world.

Still, the geekosystem was able to produce a few silver linings in the massive dark cloud that was the last 12 months. Here are ten… or so.

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The Disappointing Truth About Supergirl’s Maggie Sawyer

Last year Supergirl hit CBS with a splash raking in a whopping 13 million viewers in its pilot episode and while the shows viewership dropped after its premiere, and eventually moved to smaller network The CW to join other DCTV shows, it is still a show that’s proving to be a positive investment for the network. 

Two on-going criticisms of the show, however, was the overall lack of women of color in what was supposedly a feminist superhero show, and the usage of coming out metaphors within the show’s narrative. Both criticisms were addressed during the season two promotional tour. The showrunners revealed that there would be an introduction — or rather a coming out — of a major LGBTIQA character on the show, along with the inclusion of Maggie Sawyer (a known lesbian in the DCU) and Sharon Leal as Miss Martian.

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Thirsty for Representation: Osric Chau on TV and Diversity

Originally posted at CAAMedia

When it’s all said and done, 2016 may go down as the year Hollywood finally recognized Asian Americans. At least that’s what actor Osric Chau hopes. The Canadian-born actor — best known to fans as Kevin Tran on The CW’s Supernatural and now as one of the stars of BBC America’s newest hit, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency — recently returned from Lisbon, Portugal where he was speaking on diversity in media as a part of Web Summit, one of the largest tech-focused conferences in the world.

In an environment dominated by innovation and technology, Chau realized society at large had to take on similar thinking. “We’re surrounded by thousands of companies that are really pushing our society forward and we have to do the same thing with tolerance,” Chau said. “It’s not just about ‘tolerating’ one another anymore; it’s about accepting people, making diversity a normal thing.”

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Our Roddenberry Moment

The day after the election, I received a message from a frenemy I’ve known since junior high. He has kept close tabs on me and my career, always presenting himself as “devil’s advocate” or “the rational voice of the other side of the argument.” Basically, he’s a book smart troll I didn’t block because of the insidious effects of nostalgia. His message was one line:

“What good is all that science fiction stuff, now that we’ve won?”

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Hollywood Reflecting a Trump World

Like many others in this nation, I am still processing the results of election night and coming to acceptance [denial] that we will have Donald Trump as our Commander in Chief starting January 2017.

But what does this mean for the Hollywood entertainment industry, which is known to be overwhelmingly liberal? It is too early to exactly tell what the ramifications are but according to this Hollywood Reporter article, we may have rather troubling times ahead.

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Color Commentary: Luke Cage

Color Commentary returns and this time we’re taking on the first season of Marvel’s Luke Cage.

In the spirit of MST3K and Honest Trailers, Color Commentary is done in complete satire, is intended for a mature audience and is meant for entertainment purposes only. In other words, if you take any of this seriously, you are a fracking idiot.

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#AAIronFist and The Law of Liefeld

So in desperate need of attention and relevance, Rob Liefeld has decided to weigh in on the #AAIronFist controversy.

For those of you just joining us, this summary here breaks it down.

Created at the height of the 1970s kung-fu movie craze, Iron Fist is an American who learns martial arts from masters at the hidden city of K’un-Lun. He becomes their best student and earns the power of Iron Fist, the ability to channel superhuman energy into his fists. Basically it’s a story about a white guy being better at martial arts than everyone else, steeped in tropes that critics regard as examples of cultural appropriation.

According to Liefeld, Iron Fist “has never ever been considered racist,” (never ever never ever) and casting an Asian American actor would be “reverse white-washing.”

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NOC Recaps The Flash: The Do Over

“I ran back in time because Zoom and my dad and things and I got to live with my parents and it was all good but then it wasn’t so I came back but everything is different and I want everything to change back.” – Barry Allen during this week’s panicked voiceover

Barry flips his shit so hard that he flips it all the way to Star City. All over Felicity. Who, like us, is like, “You just, like, run back in time? All the time?”

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