Last week, we hosted a special live-streamed edition of Hard NOC Life with filmmaker John Brougher about his new short film Iron and Rage. John talks about his inspiration for creating his own #AAIronFist and why representation of Asian American humanity on screen is so important.
The art of “translating” a media property from one cultural context to another requires more than simple language transliteration. Translating works of art has existed from the moment people from different cultures encountered one another. But at what point does translating something for an American audience necessitate whitewashing as well? Today, we’re going to look at two animated properties available on Netflix — Yo-Kai Watch from Japan and Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir from France — to determine at which point whiteness trumps cultural context when making a kids’ show more acceptable to American audiences.
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.
On February 28, I saw a 15-minute sneak peek of the Hollywood adaptation of Ghost in the Shell. From the announcement of the project, this has always been a bad idea. But the announcement of the cast and story has made things much worse. Most noticeably, Hollywood adaptations of Japanese anime have yet to be successful. Either their stories veer too far from the source material, the director isn’t a good fit or the casting makes no sense. You would think Hollywood would learn, yet here we are, on the precipice of another anime-adapted flop.
Here are the takeaways from what I have seen of Paramount’s Ghost in the Shell so far.
It’s been nearly a year since we were hit with the double whammy of Tilda Swinton and Scarlett Johannson. Now with Iron Fist and Ghost in the Shell just around the corner, we’re joined by BuzzFeed News’ entertainment reporter Susan Cheng to let us know where Asian Americans currently stand in the greater pop cultural landscape.
Last week, Warner Brothers announced the addition of a solo Nightwing film with LEGO Batman director Chris Mckay to their DC film slate. The news sent fans into an excited tizzy and resulted in a slew of potential fan-chosen actors who could play the title role.
It’s been almost 20 years since Dick Grayson last appeared on the big screen in Batman and Robin as portrayed by Chris O’Donnell. Previous actors who have played Dick Grayson — or the Robin character — have been Douglas Croft, Johnny Duncan, and Burt Ward. There have also been two television shows, The Graysons and Titans, that were meant to feature Dick Grayson as the central character. Both, unfortunately, were scraped by their respective networks.
So there’s been a lot of fan interest in a Nightwing/Dick Grayson-centric media property for a long while. Now with Warner Bros. making it official, fans are eagerly awaiting to see who will put on the black and blue suit as our hero. All the talk about who can, and should, play Dick Grayson on the big screen has also brought up the truth behind Dick’s heritage in comics canon.
That truth being Dick Grayson is part Rromani.
After reading Desiree Rodriguez’s essay about Latinx representation and how we assume one’s race based on looks, I was inspired to write my own essay on the assumption of one’s race and biracial representation, while sharing some of my experiences as a black biracial woman.
Before we go any further, I’m African-American, Greek, French, and Scottish. However, I identify as being Black-Greek, black biracial, or half black/half white. I know this is a question I’m going to get, so I had to address it as soon as possible before diving even deeper into these subjects. Please remember that not everyone who is biracial and or a POC have had the same experiences as me; however, I’m simply adding my experiences to the conversation to hopefully give a new perspective.
When it comes to the Doctor Strange film, it continues to be the Greek-bearing gift of racism that keeps on giving.
I had no doubts that the white supremacy would ensue the moment it was announced that the Grand Wizard would portray the eponymous Sorcerer Supreme.
The film didn’t disappoint in this regard. After all like attracts like.
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.
So like many of you I caught the interview where Scarlett Johannson encouraged moviegoers to keep asking for diversity.
Now I like ScarJo and all but like many of you I laughed heartily for a good five minutes.
The guffawing finally ceased when I realized this wasn’t an Onion article and the Lucy and Ghost In The Shell star was being serious.
Then this was my reaction.