General Meeting – November 2014

MANAA’s November General Meeting is Thursday, November 20th. The monthly general meeting starts at 7:30 PM, in the upstairs meeting room of the Chinatown Public Safety Association. We welcome your input and thoughts on pressing issues regarding the portrayal of Asian Americans in print, radio, television and movies.

General Meeting – April 10, 2014

We just passed our 20th anniversary last week! Please help us celebrate as we discuss how to improve media depictions of Asian Americans. Agenda items include:

    • Jay Leno’s insistence on continuing to do jokes about Chinese and Korean people eating dog
    • Celebration to mark MANAA’s 20th anniversary
    • MANAA’s quarterly meeting with NBC
    • MANAA on Dr. Drew’s HeadLine News/CNN TV show
    • “Chinaman” on Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update”
    • Television shows & movies featuring Asian Americans including Hawaii Five-0, Walking Dead, American Idol, and Grimm

If you are interested in participating in MANAA but cannot make the monthly meeting, please contact us at letters@manaa.org and indicate your interest in participating in writing letters, reviewing movies, monitoring TV shows, or other kinds of activities.

 

MANAA Asserts Offensive Use of Yellowface Make-Up and Exclusion of Asian Actors In The Film “Cloud Atlas”

LOS ANGELES – The Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) is criticizing the new Warner Brothers motion picture “Cloud Atlas”—promoted as artistically groundbreaking because its actors swap racial and sexual identities—as business-as-usual in its exclusion and offensive yellow-faced renditions of Asian people. A multi-ethnic epic spanning 500 years and around the globe, “it’s an artistically ambitious approach to filmmaking,” according to the organization’s Founding President Guy Aoki. “Unfortunately, it reflects the same old racial pecking order that the entertainment industry has been practicing for decades.”

“Cloud Atlas,” written and directed by Tom Tykwer (“Run, Lola, Run”) and Lana and Andy Wachowski (“The Matrix” trilogy) and based on the novel by David Mitchell, utilizes an all-star cast that includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, and Hugo Weaving. In order to stress a thematic continuity among the movie’s six different interwoven stories, the filmmakers cast many of the same actors as different characters in each time period. One of the stories takes place in a totalitarian, mechanized Neo Seoul Korea in the year 2144. An Asian female clone (South Korean actress Doona Bae) is encouraged by another female clone (Chinese movie star Xun Zhou) to break out of her oppressive pre-programmed routine to serve men and become an independent thinker. The segment also includes White actors Sturgess, Weaving, and James D’Arcy as ostensibly Korean characters, using eye prosthetics to make their Caucasian features look more Asian.

“’Cloud Atlas’ prides itself on its ‘multi-racial cast,’” said Aoki, “but that basically means White men and women of color, like La Jolla Playhouse’s ‘The Nightingale,’ which was criticized last Summer for using only two Asian American actresses but allowing five White men to play Chinese characters. Aoki said, “’Cloud Atlas missed a great opportunity. The Korea story’s protagonist is an Asian man–an action hero who defies the odds and holds off armies of attackers. He’s the one who liberates Doona Bae from her repressive life and encourages her to join the resistance against the government. It would have been a great, stereotype-busting role for an Asian American actor to play, as Asian American men aren’t allowed to be dynamic or heroic very often.

“But instead, they cast Jim Sturgess in yellowface,” Aoki continued, referring to the historically frowned-upon practice of using cosmetics, such as eye prosthetics, to make Caucasian actors look Asian. “In fact, every major male character in the Korea story is played by non-Asian actors in really bad yellowface make-up. When you first see Hugo Weaving as a Korean executioner, there’s this big close-up of him in this totally unconvincing Asian make-up. The Asian Americans at the pre-screening burst out laughing because he looked terrible–like a Vulcan on ‘Star Trek.’ It took us out of the movie. And Jim Sturgess and James D’Arcy didn’t look much better.”

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RepresentAsian: The Changing Face of New York Theater

ASIAN AMERICAN PERFORMERS ACTION COALITION (AAPAC) will hold an industry roundtable with prominent producers, artistic directors, directors, playwrights, agents, and casting directors to have a dialogue on access and representation of minority actors on NYC stages and how best to overcome obstacles to more inclusive casting.

It will be co-presented with Fordham University and will be moderated by Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (Chinglish, M. Butterfly): AAPAC and Fordham University present “RepresentAsian: The Changing Face of New York Theater” Monday, February 13th, at 7:00 pm The Pope Auditorium at Fordham University 60th St/and Columbus Avenue, just inside main entrance.

To RSVP, send an email to aapacrsvp@gmail.com Seating is limited.

AAPAC’S mission is to expand the perception of Asian American performers in order to increase their access to and representation on New York City’s stages. AAPAC hosted two symposia for the New York theatre community in 2011 to begin a discussion on why the worlds presented on New York City stages do not reflect the racial diversity of the real world we live in.

AAPAC will release their report of minority representation in New York theatre in 2012 — the first and only publicly available report of its kind. This report will hopefully be used to track casting trends and to raise awareness where any inequities exist.

Read more: http://broadwayworld.com/article/David-Henry-Hwang-to-Host-AAPAC-Roundtable-Event-213-20120131##ixzz1lBvk89WZ