Archive for December 5, 2019

Asian Americans in Social Media: The Fung Brothers by Kristine Chow

The Fung Brothers are a Chinese-American duo on Youtube that focuses primarily on the Asian American experience and identity. Formed by two brothers Andrew and David Fung, Fung Brothers is now considered one of the most prominent and well-known Asian American Youtube channels. Their content in their videos range from food, comedy, and music.

Andrew and David Fung were raised by Chinese immigrant parents in Seattle suburbs and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career on stand-up. They rose to fame when some of their videos featured the Taiwanese-American basketball player Jeremy Lin. Soon, they expanded their video content to other topics such as exploring different Asian cuisines, discussing social issues that affect Asian Americans, and in general, comedy videos that are meant to be relatable to their Asian audiences.

The Fung Brothers have reached a point that they are making a seemingly large amount of economic revenue. As Minh-Ha Pham said in the book Asian Wear Clothes on the Internet :Race, Gender, and the Work of Personal Style Blogging, “..at the dawn of the Asian decade, Asian personal style bloggers embodied fashion’s new ideal consumer, and they unwittingly became informational intermediaries. Their blogs provide consumers, retailers, and designers with an easily accessible storehouse of up-to-the-minute information about style trends and consumer values” (Pham 15). Although the Fung Brothers do not focus on selling things in their videos, they do participate in capitalist exchanges, such as promoting Supreme products.

The Fung Brothers also have their own website and sell their own merchandise, linking how Asian American icons on social media are changing the economics of pop culture and participating in it. The Fung Brothers are one of the most well-known Asian American influencers in social media that are affecting the market.

December 5, 2019 at 11:37 pm Leave a comment

Film Festival Response- Jackie

After putting together a hypothetical film festival with my group, I realized how much work goes into making and planning film festivals and the overall value of film festivals. I have never been to a film festival and I didn’t really know anything about them. After putting together which films we should show and finding a common theme around them, I realized how much insight, knowledge, and conversation can be gained from attending a film festival. Most people just watch a movie for fun, but having an event with multiple films forces the viewers to analyze the films individually and as a whole, and the viewers are more able to appreciate the work and art of a film rather than just watching a movie for entertainment.  Film festivals also allow for lesser-known filmmakers to gain exposure and appreciation, especially for their shorts, which are works of art equal to blockbuster movies but they are not given the same attention. I think film festivals are also a good way to learn about a theme and how its presented in the media. For example, my group discussed modern love. There have been a few popular movies that touch on homosexual relationships, but it was very interesting to see an Asian American representation of homosexuality and how the two identities intertwine in media.

 

December 5, 2019 at 11:09 pm Leave a comment

Asian Americans in Social Media: Michelle Phan – Ellen Schoenfeld

Michelle Phan is an American Youtuber of Vietnamese descent whose videos focus on makeup and lifestyle. She is originally from Tampa, Florida but is currently based in Los Angeles. She currently possesses 8.9 million subscribers and 1.1 billion lifetime views. Her Youtube channel, which she started in 2007, has garnered an incredible amount of success for her. After having videos go viral, she became a Youtube advertising partner and ended up with partnerships with companies like Lancome and L’Oreal. She even started a monthly beauty subscription service called IPSY which has been wildly successful. In 2017, she took a yearlong hiatus, citing legal problems and issues with her self-image as her reasons for stopping posting. She has recently come back into the social media world, reinvigorating her channel for her millions of fans.

Phan’s importance and legacy as an Asian female Youtuber cannot be understated. But what does her Youtube experience, and her current general social media presence, say about Asian Americans in the media in general? Minh-Ha T. Pham writes, in her book Asians on the Internet: Race, Gender, and the Work of Personal Style Blogging, about Phan specifically and the relationship she has to talent and personality. Pham writes:

“Represented as personalities, productive Asian hipsters from the You-Tube beauty guru Michelle Phan to the pot-smoking, accidental multi-millionaire graffiti artist David Choe are imagined to embody a different relation to capitalism: one based not on gendered racial stereotypes but on individual talent. Asian creatives supposedly signal an entirely new vector of Asian labor history that is rooted in free expression rather than exploitation.” (Pham 9)

She argues somewhat against this idea of free expression, arguing that even Youtubers like Phan, who appear to be in control of the media that they are producing, are still working under the constraints of informational capitalism and can be considered to be workers within a racialized, gendered fashion work. She believes media presences like Phan to be digital and immaterial laborers that generate information for the masses.

Lori Kido Lopez takes a slightly more positive approach towards Youtubers like Phan in “Asian America Gone Viral” within the book The Routledge Companion to Asian American Media. Lopez argues that success stories like Phan’s speak to their social significance. Lopez also celebrates the strength of Asian American Youtube presence: “The existence of so many hypervisible Asian Americans online must be acknowledged as a profound change within the mediated landscape, particularly for youth audiences who primarily rely on Youtube… for entertainment content.” (Lopez 159)

Phan’s existence as a Vietnamese-American Youtuber is extremely important in terms of the representation that it provides. Even if she exists less on Youtube these days, her presence lingers, as does her contribution to the Asian American social media community. Having such a successful Asian American woman in control of her own narrative does a lot for the structure of our current media society.

December 5, 2019 at 6:17 am Leave a comment


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