Southern Fried Asian: Chen Tang

This episode of Southern Fried Asian was recorded in February before the coronavirus shut down everything. While Disney may have taken Mulan off its release schedule, we’re filling the void by releasing Keith’s conversation with one of the film’s stars, Chen Tang!

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‘Council’ of J: An Interview with J. August Richards

Council of Dads on NBC is one of the most special shows on the air right now. The show, which premiered on March 24 and is now on its 9th episode tonight, is a bold look at grief and its impact on families of all shapes and sizes, tackling subjects like transgender identity, adoption, and unconditional friendship. It also features one of the most diverse casts on television. Out of its ensemble, three of its leads are Black, one is Asian, and one is Trans. And to have a mainstream television show on the air right now with a cast that integrated and inclusive is not only rare, but also quite important. And this past week, The Nerds of Color was able to sit down with one of the show’s leads, J. August Richards.

If you grew up watching Angel or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D like I did, you’ll know the name J. August Richards is synonymous with “badass.” After all, playing badass vampire hunter, Charles Gunn, and cybernetically-enhanced superhero, Deathlok tends to give you one heck of a reputation. But what most folks don’t know, is the badass-ery extends well beyond what we’ve seen on the small screen. Richards is a true hero and badass in real life. And the Nerds of Color was able to speak with the Council of Dads star to discover that first hand.

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Interview With ‘Cloak & Dagger’ Director Jennifer Phang

A version of this interview originally appeared at Melancholyball.com.

The second season of Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger premiered last week on Freeform; graciously returning for a fresh new interview is filmmaker Jennifer Phang, who directed S2’s premiere episode “Restless Energy.” (My earlier chats with Phang on her work on Cloak & Dagger and The Expanse can be found here and here.) Continue reading “Interview With ‘Cloak & Dagger’ Director Jennifer Phang”

The “Marvel”-ous Ms. Danvers: The ‘Captain Marvel’ Press Conference

A restless crowd found itself eagerly awaiting the commencement of an important event on Friday afternoon in the gorgeous ballroom of a luxurious Los Angeles hotel. High spirits were palpable all around, as everyone had come from seeing one of the most hotly anticipated films of the year a few days before the event: Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel. The film, a turning point for the ever-expanding success that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, represented something more than just a typical superhero FX-driven origin story — it was to become Marvel Studios’ first female-led superhero movie. And as such, the crowd was anxious for the announcement that they would soon be joined by the captain, herself, Brie Larson, as well as co-stars Jude Law, Lashana Lynch, Samuel L. Jackson, Gemma Chan, Clark Gregg, directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, and producer-extraordinaire Kevin Feige to discuss candidly what indeed makes her a hero.

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Filmmaker & TV Director Jennifer Phang on ‘The Expanse’ and ‘Cloak & Dagger’

by Dominic Mah | Originally posted on YOMYOMF

Jennifer Phang has been busy in episodic TV, directing episodes of The Excorcist, Riverdale, Cloak & Dagger, and two episodes of The Expanse leading to its recent Season 3 finale. She also directed the independent features Half-Life and Advantageous. I got to interview her about, among other things, her work on The Expanse Season three episodes “Fallen World” and “Congregation.”

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Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider Should Be MCU’s First R-Rated Film

The television side of the MCU hasn’t crossed over to the film side yet for many reasons. However, I think Robbie Reyes would be the perfect bridge to officially connect these sides of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and also for Marvel Studios to have the first R-rated film on their roster. If you’ve watched season four of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., or at least have a good idea of what happened in the season, you’ll know that Robbie Reyes a.k.a Ghost Rider appeared; and he was freaking awesome! Robbie Reyes needs a solo project, and he should be one of  the characters that should get an R-rated film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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Surprise: Hollywood is Still Whitewashing POC Characters

Happy Asian American Pacific Islander Month!

Good news! The story of the Ni’ihau Incident is coming to the big screen. Bad news? Hollywood has learned nothing from the whitewashing outrage that has been in the zeitgeist for the last year.

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Super Sixteen: Top Television Shows of 2016

It’s one of my favorite times of the year. It’s where I review the best and brightest that television had to offer in the previous year. If you haven’t already, you should check out my Top Films of 2016. Go ahead, check it out, I’ll wait. No really, I’ll wait. You back? Awesome.

As is the standard with my movie year-in-review, my television selections have to pass the Upkins Media Litmus Test.

Without further adieu…

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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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Diversity on Fire: Thoughts on the Return of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I would not fault anybody for not watching or liking Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. due to its hot mess of a first season. However, it has improved. Does it still have issues? Indeed it does. But with those issues comes the fact that it still remains one of the most diverse casts on TV. Though aside from showrunner Maurissa Tancharoen, I wonder what that diversity looks like behind the cameras. Anyway, now there is Gabriel Luna. With his head on fire. There was a lot of hype about the Robbie Reyes incarnation of Ghost Rider leading up to the season 4 premiere. By and large, it held up. Here are just a few points I remember and talked about with friends in person and via the internets.

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First Look at Gabriel Luna as Ghost Rider on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

One of the most buzzed about pieces of information to emerge out of San Diego Comic-Con over the summer happened when Marvel dropped a surprise teaser that revealed — some might say “confirmed” — that Ghost Rider was making his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this fall. And the All-New version of Ghost Rider, Robbie Reyes, is the one coming to the small screen. Now we know what Gabriel Luna is going to look like on the show.

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Could Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Become TV’s Diversest Show?

Four of these people are gone-zo. Can you guess which?

Okay. Here be much spoilerage.

Now that season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (and that’s the last time I type that out) is over, I gots some identity-politickin’, pot-stirrin’, white-people-genocidin’ things to say.

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Art Imitating Life

The following events are true. The following events are not a joke. I really wish the following events were a punchline and not a sad reflection of our culture. You’ll see what I mean.

So in honor of tonight’s season finale of the Coulson/May Power Hour (known to some of you as Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), I thought I’d do a special edition Throwback Tuesday.

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Which AAPI Actor Deserves the Nerd Grand Slam?

This week’s reveals from Doctor Strange and Ghost in the Shell are further proof that it’s hard out there for an Asian actor who wants to be in a genre film. Fortunately, there are a few AAPI actors who have claim to the coveted “Nerd Grand Slam;” that is, they’ve starred in a superhero franchise, a Star (Trek or Wars) vehicle, and an epic fantasy. But who is the nerdiest? Dominic Mah, from YOMYOMF.com, joins Keith to decide which actor is the One Nerd to rule them all.

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Agent Carter Diversity Scorecard

Okay, the second season of Marvel’s Agent Carter is over and it’s time to tally up the score!

We’ll be using a tried and true scoring system I just made up and will be applying with liberal bias. Agent Carter will be assigned a grade based upon a 100 point grading scale in which we begin at 0 and add or subtract points as appropriate. This system is based mainly on Hogwarts’ house points system, because we are nerds, after all.

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My Top 15 Television Series of 2015

They say there’s nothing  good on television. Clearly, more than a few shows were trying to disprove that saying. 2015 kept me busy in terms of reviewing shows but more than a few proved to be well worth it.

As is the standard, for a series to be reviewed (much less nominated), it must meet the guidelines of my Media Litmus Test.

So without further adieu, the following are my Top 15 Television Series of 2015:

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Awesome Con 2015 Cosplay Gallery

Originally posted on WilliamBruceWest.com

This past Saturday, I attended the 3rd annual Awesome Con in Washington, DC. I’d actually never been to the show in previous years, though I was aware of it. I kinda hated the name, plus I felt like Baltimore and New York Comic-Con were superior to it, so I spent my time and money going to them instead. This year, however, I’m going to be missing both of those shows due to weddings, so I figured it was time to see what Awesome Con was all about. My verdict? It’s a pretty good show.

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Diversify Cast Regulars on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Warning:  spoilers for season two of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., including the season finale, are included.

In my earlier post about Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the agonizingly long list of characters of color who have been either killed off, turned evil or left physically mutilated illustrated the series’ awkward reliance on negative racially-coded tropes.  Now that the season is over, let’s finish that list, shall we?

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When Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Became Serenity

While watching a key scene in the season finale of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., I quipped, “You can’t take the Skye from me.”

That’s when it clicked. I didn’t see it before during season one, but with enough new players introduced in season two, it now made sense. The spirit of Firefly’s Browncoats lives on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

serenity-crew-118609

Not convinced? Let’s review:

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Some Thoughts on Avengers: Age of Ultron

It’s been a few hours, but I’m still processing what I thought about the latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Age of Ultron. I know that my feelings and recommendations will have no bearing on whether you will go out to see this movie. It’s guaranteed to generate a couple billion dollars in box office — and that’s probably just for this weekend alone! And while I had a great time watching the thing, I couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed by the whole enterprise.

Needless to say, there will be spoilers ahead.

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What’s the Deal with the POC Characters on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

In a week where the Deadline Hollywood website shot itself in the foot for asking us to consider the poor white actors being denied work due to the current spate of “ethnic casting” for TV pilots and series, the ever-ongoing fight of POC actors to get more than table scraps is never far from mind. Despite the Bat Signal thrown up by Deadline to save whiteness in Hollywood, the fact remains that productions still routinely limit or shut out entirely actors of color from starring roles.

On Twitter this weekend the thread #whedonandrace critiqued Joss Whedon’s problematic depictions of black and other POC characters in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. This discussion has been ongoing among fans of color since Buffy and Whedon became a name; it just happened that this time it spawned a hashtag. Soon the thread became a general critique of his handling of race, encompassing Whedon’s other TV series as well as his films, including the series he co-created with Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon for Marvel Studios,  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., at first glance, is diverse in its casting (at least of its secondary recurring cast members and guest stars; its regulars are largely white), the series reveals an unsettling pattern of how these characters of color are depicted.

Simply put, what’s the deal with POC (mainly black) characters being killed, maimed, or evil on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

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Different But Not Broken: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Disability

by Jihan Abbas | Originally posted at the Disability Visibility Project

Within the superhero genre, comic books have always strongly connected notions of difference with unique abilities. Villains and heroes alike often find their motivation and power through origin stories that speak to difference or a process of change. Alice Wong wrote a great piece exploring how the mythology behind superheroes is relatable to many disabled people and those who grew up on the outside looking in.

It was our shared interest in disability representation in comic books and the recent expansion of Marvel into television that prompted a back and forth between Alice and I around disability and difference in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. While the show first framed itself as an opportunity to view the inner workings of S.H.I.E.L.D. — the so-called “normal” folks who work behind the scenes in this superhero filled world — it was clear from the beginning that the show was pulling on powerful threads about change, difference, and otherness. While this is not unusual where superheroes are concerned, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. applied these same dynamics to the bureaucracy behind the Avengers. In the first season Phil Coulson’s return from the dead — and the differences in him that resulted from this process, as well as Skye’s mysterious origins — were front and center.

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