It's hard to be mad at a panda, but the past few days, people have been expressing outrage at the music video for Ark Music Factory's song "Chinese Food." The video, which features the song created by Ark's cofounder Patrice Wilson, portrays 11-year-old singer Alison Gold frolicking with Wilson in a panda suit and has garnered almost 8 million hits on YouTube in a matter of days.
According to ABC News, chef, restaurateur, and author of the best-selling memoir Fresh Off the Boat, Eddie Huang, is one of many who took issue with the music video, tweeting, "For real, s-- is mega offensive" and "ARE U IDIOTS AT BILLBOARD SUPPORTING THIS RACIST S--?"
People are taking offense to what they consider ethnic and cultural stereotypes featured in the video, such as pandas, Chinese restaurant employees, and geishas -- although the last are associated with Japanese, not Chinese, culture.
Normally, I'd stick up for Wilson and propose that all the outrage stems from a namby-pamby populace that lacks a sense of humor, but after watching the music video, I think not only are people not outraged enough, but they also seem to be missing the truly offensive aspects of the video.
Ark is the company behind incomprehensible teeny-bopper hits such as "Friday" by Rebecca Black, which inundated our lives and our interwebz several years ago. "Friday" featured the brilliant lyrics "Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday/Today is Friday, Friday (partyin') and tomorrow is Saturday/And Sunday comes after... wards." Establishing itself as another Ark-produced pop powerhouse, "Chinese Food" features poignant lyrics such as "Get me broccoli/While I play Monopoly and I love chow mein/Chow m-m-m-m-mein." Why isn't anyone protesting the fact that Ark is producing such drivel?
Even worse, but perhaps not by much, are the pedophiliac undertones of the video. Prepubescent Gold sings about how after ballin', she goes clubbing. Really? Where exactly can 11-year-olds go clubbing? And I shudder to analyze too deeply what she means by "ballin'," as the song itself has already made me nauseated beyond belief. As Gold chows down at Chow's, the hopefully fictional restaurant in the video, she looks over her shoulder to see a person seated at a corner table wearing a panda suit and watching her.
The next clip reveals that Gold left the restaurant with the mysterious stranger and is dancing with him in a remote meadow. The two end up on the grass, tickling each other. Did her parents not teach her the valuable lesson of stranger danger? Do they let their precocious 11-year-old daughter go ballin', clubbing, and then traipsing around the city without any supervision?
The panda then apparently coaxes Gold into introducing him to even more prepubescent girls, and in another scene he and a gaggle of female tweens play Monopoly as he raps, "Don't be a busy bee/Cuz it's your fantasy." What?
In the next scene, Wilson, AKA Pedo Panda, dips his finger in some red sauce and then smears it on his lower lip as he raps, "Put some hot sauce/Sweet-and-sour/Make it sweet." Make what sweet, exactly, Panda? What?!?
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While some Asian-Americans are taking issue with what they deem to be the offensive stereotypes in the video, it is really parents who should be up in arms, protesting outside the offices of Ark Music Factory and Gold's parents' house -- preferably in panda suits.
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