This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
'Asian Girlz' Crams Every Racist Stereotype About Asian Women Into One Awful Video
Day Above Ground, a Los Angeles band that no one had heard of until now, broke some sort of racist stereotypes per second record with its new video "Asian Girlz."
It kicks off with some yellowface font, a couple of (mostly) white rockers gawking at an Asian girl stripping and this gem: "I love your sticky rice / Buttfuckin' all night." The hits keep coming: "yellow thighs" is rhymed with "slanted eyes." "Come on sit on my lap" is rhymed with "Or we'll send you back."
This being a local group there's a shoutout to all the Asian neighborhoods and cities around town (Arcadia! K-Town!). At the end, they seem to run out of steam and just start naming things that are Asian: Bruce Lee! Toyota! Sailor Moon! Wonton soup! (Blogger Angry Asian Man has the full lyrics here.) And what sort of viral anti-Asian video would be complete without mocking an Asian accent? Yup, they do that, too.
The video itself is bizarre, like a yellow fever version of "Honey I Shrunk The Kids." A miniature version of the band is stuck in a bird cage. They sing their charming racist lyrics to actress Levy Tran who responds by smiling, stripping down and dancing. She brings the cage into the bathroom and lets them out into the bath water where they swim around. She rubs one band member between her boobs, and another swims between her legs and she starts moaning.
The song has been around for a while, and it sounds like the band expected it to be a success. Day Above Ground discussed the production of the song in March 2012, and their website touted the video's premiere:
Please Join us July 27th, DAG will premiere their highly anticipated video "Asian Girlz" to the world. Staring goddess and media socialite Levy Tran, and directed by the awesome Michael Steinberg this is sure to be an epic night!
It did end up going viral but for all the wrong reasons. The band reposted the video a few days ago with this note and so far the video has received over 235,000 views:
This is Day Above Ground reposting this video with a new description as a response to all the comments we received on this video. We appreciate all the criticism and support. Our song "Asian Girlz" was not written with any malicious, hateful, or hurtful intent. We know it is racy and does push the boundaries further than other songs out there. Understand that we do not promote or support racism or violence. We love everyone no matter what race, religion, or sexual orientation. Please respect our decision to delete any violent, insensitive, or hurtful comment and also one that supports racism. We hope that we can continue with our lives with much love and peace.
Tran has been getting a lot of flack for choosing to appear in the video. She apologized for offending anyone but defended the portrayal:
I sincerely apologize to all who feels that I set Asian women back 50 yrs. I know I lost respect from a lot of ppl. It wasn't my intention— Levy Tran (@MissLevy) July 31, 2013
It was meant to be light hearted and fun. Satirical. They are sweet boys and not at all racist. That is all I will say. I'm sorry once again— Levy Tran (@MissLevy) July 31, 2013
The band released another apology claiming that (wait for it...) it was all just satire, they aren't really racist and, anyway, one of their band members was born in Indonesia:
"This song is us, Day Above Ground, making fun of ourselves (and many, many other guys) obsession with the always lovely, Asian Woman. It pushes this concept to an absurd level, but at the same time is endearing & submissive.. WE ARE NOT RACIST, HAHA! I mean, look at our band, it's multicultural!! The guy in the bow-tie, our cutie bass player, was born in Indonesia, and he steals the show!! Please don't take this tongue-in-cheek tribute to some of the most gorgeous women on the planet too seriously!! You'll ruin the fun of it all!!"
Some folks have responded to the video not by posting it, but sharing music videos created by Asian-American women—instead of the men who fetishize them.