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Alvin Wang

on 24 June 2016

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Transcript of AMST203

Alvin Wang
Music Background/Inspiration
Dumbfoundead is a Korean-American rapper from Los Angeles, California. He was inspired to write, record, and release the song Safe after watching the latest annual Oscars Award. He noticed the clear lack of Asian inclusion and representation in the awards show which angered him. In addition, he was disappointed in how Asians and Latinos were not being included in the conversation of race at the Oscars, as well as joke about Asian child labor. As a result, Dumbfoundead lyrically and visually through the music video exposes these problems in the entertainment sector of popular culture and mocks the entertainment sector by placing his face on classic movies starring a predominantly white cast.
Chris Rock Oscars Joke
Safe by Dumbfoundead
Music Video + Lyrics
The music video for Safe was uploaded onto YouTube on Dumbfoundead's personal account. YouTube is a video-sharing platform in which anyone can upload original content for free.
Accessible, Free, Used by many!
Although not a mainstream artist, Dumbfoundead's work has helped bring him into the spotlight with his Safe music video being featured on websites like Los Angeles Times, Refinery29, and Mashable.
Re-imagining Hollywood and what Asian Americans can be; while parody-ing whitewashing in Hollywood
Visual Artistry
For Whom
This rap was mainly aimed towards The Academy and other producers of popular culture pertaining to film to diversify their media and give Asian Americans a chance to be acknowledged and valued. In addition, Dumbfoundead raps about giving Asian Americans the chance to get lead roles. The song Safe also includes a subtle call to action for Asian Americans that they do not always have to be a model minority that stays silent. They have just as much of a voice like other people of color. If Asian Americans are not being included in the conversation of diversity, it is time that they place themselves in it better sooner than later.
A lack of diversity during the Oscars has been a problem long before it reached the boiling point of 2016. The Academy Awards began handing out trophies starting in 1929. Although there have Oscar categories that are typically and historically diverse in the winners - it is the big and well known categories like Best Actor, Best Actress, etc. that have been historically hegemonic. Within the top four acting categories (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress), since 1929, 93.8% of nominations have been given to White actors, while 6.2% have been given to people of color. Asians have been awarded the smallest amount of Oscar nominations in the top four categories with 1.2% of nominations. The numbers do not lie that there is a clear lack of diversity in the nominations at the Oscars. It is only recently that we seem to have hit the breaking point.
At the most recent Oscars night, one that was boycotted by many, it was a critical moment for host Chris Rock to highlight and speak about the clear lack inequality at The Academy Awards. As a representative of people of color, rather than focusing on the lack of inequality of all people of color, Chris Rock dedicated most of his time on black folk and decided to turn to Asians to become the butt of the jokes. To make matters worse, in an important time to recognize a lack of diversity, everyone in the room was humored by his joke. It was as if nobody really understood the real issue at hand. This is where rapper Dumbfoundead comes into play to musically expose his thoughts and frustrations with popular culture.
Music Video
You took me as safe
That was your first mistake
Who said I was safe

[Verse 1]
The other night I watched the Oscars
And the roster of the only yellow men were all statues
We a quarter of the population
There’s a room of fuckin’ 1 percenters laughing at you
Fuck a bamboo ceiling, guess I gotta play the villain
ODB up at the Grammys on the mic
Like “Wu-Tang is for the children!”
Bruce Jenner is woman
OJ was acquitted
Kim K is a hero
The sky is the limit, any minute now
They gonna let an Asian brotha’ get a lead role
Shots fired I'm a reload, never saw this side of Chino
He was always quiet keeping to himself
Never messed with anybody else
That's the Jonathan that we know

[Verse 2]
I ain't never heard of none y’all fools
I can do what every one of y’all do
If I never get a chance
You might see the homie show up on the 5 o’ clock news
You ain't never seen a yellow boy wild’n yellow boy shinin’ , Sound the alarm I got news
Go ahead and pro-file em’ I ain't pro-violence
Shhhhh, silence is how yellow boys move
Its been the same ol’ thang, I swear the game don’t change
What you talking bout there ain't no space
Guess i gotta go and make more space
You know I’m cool as a motherfucker
Chillin’ in the cut hella quiet with the loud pack
Since I’m a cool motherfucker
You think everything is safe till I ask you where the safe at!

Thanks For Reading
Full transcript