Doctor Strange. Iron Fist. Ghost in the Shell. It’s hard out there to be an Asian American actor. Or an Asian American consumer of media. Or someone who would prefer to see more Asian Americans on screen (and behind the scenes). That’s why guest host Valerie Complex (whose #IAmMajor clapback recently went viral) gathered an all-star panel to talk about being Asian in Hollywood: feminist pop culture writer Clara Mae, Geeks of Color Creative Director (and Finn Jones’ favorite person on Twitter) Asyiqin Haron, Man in the High Castle actor Lee Shorten, and (the man who should’ve been) Iron Fist’s Lewis Tan.
Rouge One is the biggest movie on the planet, and we finally devote a whole show to talk about the most diverse (or is it?) Star Wars ever filmed. Joining in on the fun is Tosche-Station.net writer, and Star Wars superfan, Bria LaVorgna and Black Girl Nerds’ movie reviewer, and occasional NOC contributor, Valerie Complex. [Spoilers throughout!]
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Now three years old, pop-culture criticism blog The Nerds of Color is going strong, with a range of contributors writing thought-provoking posts, speaking at major events like San Diego Comic Con, and turning the blog into a successful locus for Twitter activism aimed at increasing representation in pop culture.
Founder and editor-in-chief Keith Chow and writers Valerie Complex, Shawn Taylor, and Alice Wong talked to us about their favorite shows, shifts in the media landscape, and how we can all support inclusive entertainment.
When was the first time you saw yourself in popular culture (if at all)?
Keith: One of my favorite comics growing up was G.I. Joe. As much as I loved the cartoon and toys, I loved the comics more. My favorite characters were Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, rival ninjas who were former friends. I didn’t know it at the time, but I subconsciously gravitated to those…
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Last week, a contingency of Nerds of Color were invited to speak at Pandora Radio as part of the company’s Mixtape Rap Sessions. Representing the NOC were Julie Kang, Shawn Taylor, and Valerie Complex, as well as Salim French, host of the podcast Blacker Than Black TImes Infinity. This was a reunion of sorts of the NOC panel that was a highlight of last month’s inaugural Silicon Valley Comic Con.
This weekend, Universal Pictures’ Huntsman sequel Winter’s War — which brought back stars Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron along with franchise newcomers Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain — failed to top the box office, bringing in a paltry $20 million despite a massive production budget, a marketing campaign that promised a sort of live-action mashup with Disney’s Frozen and Brave, and a cast full of bona fide movie stars. Well, they keep telling us they’re movie stars. Take Hemsworth, for example. Since the last Huntsman movie, and not counting his Marvel ones, his films have all disappointed at the box office. If “bankable” results are the criteria for movie stardom, why does Thor get a pass? The NOCs come back to the Roundtable to discuss.
On Monday, director Bryan Singer revealed on Instagram that he had cast Newsroom star Olivia Munn as Psylocke in the upcoming reboot/sequel X-Men: Apocalypse. And if you’re wondering, Pyslocke was previously portrayed by Mei Melançon in X-Men: The Last Stand, but everyone knows that movie doesn’t count (and after the events of the last X-Men movie, none of the other ones do either).
Due in theaters next year, Apocalypse continues the period-set aesthetic of the new X-Men franchise. While First Class was set in the 1960s and Days of Future Past in the 1970s, Apocalypse will take place during the 1980s, which is fitting since that’s the time period that saw Betsy Braddock go from a supporting role in Captain Britain to a full-fledged member of the X-Men. She’s also one of the first characters to undergo a convoluted, but canonical, race swap in the pages of the comic.
Anyway, some of the Nerds convened around the old Roundtable to talk about Olivia’s casting in the next X-Men film.
I am one of those nerds that came out later in life. Growing up, I was not hip to nerd culture, but I thought the things I was into at the time were the norm. Being an anime fan growing up in the Bronx, I was somewhat of an outlier. This made me feel like I belonged to an exclusive group of individuals. I was the only one I knew at my school, and the only one on my block, that was into Japanese animation. However, that exclusivity didn’t last long. I had to share anime with all of my friends, and soon everyone else got hooked as well.
My first introduction to anime was Akira. But my reaction to it might not be what you’d expect.
Hard NOC Life emerges from its winter hibernation, and you can thank Michelle Rodriguez for that. After telling TMZ POCs need to “stop stealing white people’s superheroes,” the actress took to Facebook to say she meant POCs need to focus on creating their own stories.