Monday, April 21, 2008

Wing



I had a hard time coming up with Asian American musicians. While, I am sure there are a ton out there the only ones that kept coming to mind were William Hung and Wing, and since someone previously mentioned Hung on American Idol, I would like to post on Wing.

Wing is a Chinese musician from New Zealand. Similar to Hung, she has become somewhat of a parody of herself and of Asian Americans. I stumbled across her many years ago when I was doing an internet search of cover songs for a project concerning appropriation. If you are not familiar with Wing, you should definitely check out her website: http://www.wingmusic.co.nz/

It is here you can find 30 second clips from any of her 14 albums, which range from ABBA covers to covers of AC/DC. You may know her from a South Park, where she played herself in an episode where she was brought to America by the Chinese mafia.

What I find interesting both about Wing and Hung is despite the fact they are consistently mocked and humiliated, they continue to perform because of their "pure joy of singing". I have ambivalent feelings towards Wing: she promotes a terrible stereotype, but she really seems incredibly sincere in what she is doing, and she is okay with it. She had no qualms when the creators of South Park asked if they could use her in their episode. Her only request was that she had to approve her depiction. As Trey Parker and Matt Stone discussed their use of Wing within their episode, they discussed how Wing would either be "a super sweet joke" or "a super sweet not joke". Similar to the our discussion of Tila Tequila's music videos, could one argue that since ridiculed Asian Americans performers (like Wing and William Hung), acknowledge that they are objectified jokes, as a result are the ones with power? Perhaps these performers are not the ones being ridiculed and maybe the joke is on us.
Check out the videos of her live performances:



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