Every week, AAMPLIFY brings you the week in Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander news.
Jay Park signs with Jay-Z
Last Thursday, Roc Nation announced that it had signed Korean American hip-hop artist Jay Park to its record label, making Park the first Asian American to sign with Roc Nation.
Born in Seattle, WA, Park has had a huge following in South Korea since his days in the boy band 2PM in 2008, releasing four solo albums since 2012, including one bilingual album, “Everything You Wanted.”
Roc Nation, which also manages Rihanna, DJ Khaled and J. Cole, was founded by JAY-Z in 2008. Park also heads a record label, AOMG, which specializes in independent hip-hop and R&B artists.
According to AOMG, Roc Nation began negotiations with Jay Park in 2016, and will help Park expand his music production into the United States. Park celebrated by releasing his new single, “Sunday,” with Heize on July 25th.
Federal survey finds Native Hawaiians in poor health
According to a study released July 21 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on interviews with 11,000 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in 2014, Native Hawaiians are in worse health than most other Americans.
Native Hawaiians are more likely to suffer from diabetes, obesity and asthma, and are more often under psychological stress. They are also more likely to describe themselves as being in poor health.
Nearly 40 percent of Native Hawaiians are obese, which is the second highest obesity rate in the United States after Black adults. About 14 percent of Native Hawaiians have diabetes, which is higher than the rate of Asian Americans and white Americans, and 5 percent of Native Hawaiians reported psychological stress, compared to 3 percent of Americans overall.
Furthermore, about 1 in 4 Native Hawaiians have asthma, compared to 1 in 8 Americans overall. According to ABC, Hawaiian health officials say it’s due to the higher rate of smoking in Hawaii.
Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders constitute about 25% of Hawaii’s population. This study is the first national health study focused on that population.
Lana Condor stars in teen romantic comedy
Lana Condor, last seen briefly in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, will star in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, a teen romantic comedy based on Asian American Jenny Han’s popular novel series starring half-Korean, half-white protagonist Lara Jean Covey.
Condor, who also has a role in James Cameron’s forthcoming adaptation of Battle Angel Alita, was not the studio’s first choice, said Han. But along with Janel Parrish, who plays Lara’s sister Margot Covey, and Anna Cathcart, who plays Lara’s other sister Kitty Covey, Condor headlines three Asian American leads in an Asian American production - a rarity in Hollywood.
“The most important thing for me as the author is seeing an Asian American girl in the starring role, and with this movie, we get to see not one but THREE!,” wrote Han on Twitter. “I hope that the success of this movie will lead to more opportunities for Asian American actors and writers down the line."
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is filming now in Vancouver. Susan Johnson directs, with a screenplay by Sofia Alvarez.
The Slants’ ruling leads to offensive trademark requests
Asian American band The Slants won a case last month for their right to trademark their name, which could be construed as a racial slur. However, due to their win, other trademarks have emerged with offensive slurs as well.
The New York Times reports that various companies and individuals have attempted to trademark businesses and products named after the N-word and a swastika, as well as Chinese racial slurs.
Said David Bell, trademark expert and attorney with Haynes and Boone, “We're now opening the door, chipping away at what's acceptable under cultural norms. I think it could be a slippery slope, where you get more people and companies thinking, 'This is okay.’”
Under the Supreme Court’s ruling, these trademarks can no longer be rejected under the former disparagement provision, which the Trump administration had urged to keep in place.
For now, the trademarks are pending review.
What to check out this weekend
Want to kick off the weekend by catching up on AANHPI content? These highlights should have you covered.
- Asian Grocery Stores: the unsung heroes of immigrant life
- South Asians make breakthroughs in Hollywood without erasing their ethnicity
- Actress Ally Maki is done “being used as a punchline”
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AANHPI to follow this weekend
Looking for AANHPI to follow online? Every week, we’ll showcase interesting AANHPI in media, the news or even on Twitter. Join the community today.
- Jeff Yang is a writer and entrepreneur whose writing has appeared on CNN, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He is the former publisher of A Magazine, which was the largest circulating Asian American magazine until it shuttered in 2012. Currently, he hosts the podcast “They Call Us Bruce” with Phil Yu. Find him on Twitter @originalspin.
- Thi Bui is a writer and artist whose illustrated memoir, The Best We Could Do, released earlier this year. A graphic novel, it chronicles Bui’s and her parents’ immigration journey from Vietnam, including the harrowing journey out of South Vietnam and the difficulties Bui’s family had afterward. Find Thi Bui at her website and on Twitter at @MsThiBui.
- SungWon Cho is a voice actor and comedian who plays roles in video games and independent film and television series. He also has a successful YouTube channel, where he reviews snacks and satirizes videogames. Find him on Twitter and YouTube.