You probably heard about “Asian Girlz,” the song and music video by Day Above Ground. I mean, it’s kind of the Gangnam Style of 2013, except instead of laughing about that fat Korean dude’s dance moves, everyone is getting mad. The internet is falling all over itself to condemn the band and the video’s star Levy Tran for perpetuating stereotypes about Asian women, like that they’ve got slanty eyes and they eat weird food and belong to a traditional, traditional, traditional society. But NEWSFLASH, dummies, it’s a joke!
In an interview with Huffington Post, Joe Anselm, the singer of Day Above Ground, explained their intention behind the song.
Well, it was mostly out of the admiration for the relationships that the band has had or has with Asian females…it’s mostly about the stereotypes that most white men that are infatuated and have fetish with the Asian woman. It’s about the stereotypes that they see and that’s the only thing they do see.
The song is a satire of racism, so it can’t be racist. Anselm goes on to say:
We’re actually worshipping the Asian woman. It’s plain to see that we’re the ones who are being subordinated underneath this image, this ideal Asian goddess.
Not all Asian girls are hot, and not all of them eat Korean barbecue, so, yeah, there’s stereotypes in this song. But stereotypes come from a place of truth. And being hot is a good thing! I love Korean barbecue! I wish I could eat that shit every day! The stereotypes in “Asian Girlz” serve either the positive purpose of saying Asian women are better than other women, or as a satirical jab at men who have an unhealthy obsession with them.
Check out the (NSFW) video and come back for my analysis.
Asian girl, she’s my Asian girl
You’re my Asian girl, you’re my Asian girl
You’re my Asian girl, she’s my Asian girl
Yes, my Asian girl, you’re my Asian girl
The satirical figure of the yellow-fever-inflicted white man is established here. She is “his” Asian girl. She’s the Asian girl that the white man feels he owns. He’s wrong — she has a collection of white men who she has seduced and dosed with shrinking potion. The first verse explains why.
I love your sticky rice
Butt fucking all night
This lyric makes reference to the sexual beast that dwells within all Asian and minority women, tamped down by a highly traditional and repressive society. In their home country, Asian girls are demure and shy, but once colonized by whites and exposed to the freer Western culture, they’re set loose and become the sex goddesses they are. Not sure what the “sticky rice” part means, maybe that’s the singer’s impression of Asian ass? Like maybe he put his dick in some sticky rice to check? Maybe she’s the rice and the sticky is…something sticky. Maybe it’s like a glue trap?
Bitch! I love you
I love your creamy yellow thighs
Ooh your slanted eyes
It’s the Year of the Dragon
Ninja pussy I’m stabbin’
Again, Korean barbecue is The Bomb. This section is mainly the character of the racist talking to the Asian girls, though extolling their virtues in his racist way. The “Year of the Dragon” lyric is interesting. The most recent year of the dragon was 2012, year of the water dragon, which informs the bathtub scenes that open the video and the setting of the Asian goddess using her white boyz as sex toyz. Levy Tran, the Asian Girl of the video, is 29 and not a dragon. She’s also Vietnamese, an ethnicity which is seldom referenced in the song, and never by name, obviously a clever meta-reference by DAG about the racist trope about the homogeneity of Asians, and the false interest white men show in Asian culture to get ninja pussy. “Ninja pussy I’m stabbin'” shows the fruits of their labors, a perceived domination of a lesser culture, but in reality a predatory seduction by the sex dragon Asian girl.
Superstitious feng shui shit (what)
Now lay your hair by the toilet
I’ve got your green tea boba
So put your head on my shoulder
Your momma’s so pretty
Best nails in the city
Pushing your daddy’s Mercedes
This verse is mostly positive, discounting the protagonist’s dismissive reference to feng shui. “Lay your hair by the toilet” is possibly a reference to Asians’ low tolerance for alcohol. This works with the next lines, where the white man brings the favorite beverage of Asians, boba, or bubble tea, and offers his shoulder to help nurse away her hangover in a cute romantic scene. Mentioning her pretty mother leads to the next verse, where the singer talks about Asians’ godlike aging. “Best nails in the city” refers to Tran’s Vietnamese heritage (Vietnamese hold ownership of 40% of all nail salons in the US). “Daddy’s Mercedes” spills over into the next verse as well.
New Year’s in February (February?)
That’s fine with me (I guess)
Yeah, shark soup (What? Fuck it, we’ll eat it)
Oh, tradition, tradition, tradition, yeah yeah
Baby, you’re my Asian girl
You’re legally (best kind)
So baby marry me
Come on sit on my lap (right here baby)
Or we’ll send you back
And you age so well
I can barely tell
17 or 23?
Baby doesn’t matter to me
The main thing to take away from this verse is the status of Asians as model minorities. This, along with the sexual liberation of Asian women by Western society, is really the crux of the song. Asians more often enter the country legally (best kind, as DAG notes). They make more money than most minorities (signified by “Daddy’s Mercedes”). Their food is probably the trendiest of all ethnic cuisines. The US has taken on more and more Asian culture, sold a crippling amount of debt to China, exported its manufacturing jobs, allowed itself to be seduced by Asian Girlz. Even as the racist protagonist threatens to send his Asian bride back home, he’s inside a birdcage of his own making. There is no sending them back.
On its own, the song “Asian Girlz” is indeed racist crap. Paired with the video, however, Day Above Ground demonstrates that their lyrics are satire. Satire is an important art form. Despite the ease of misinterpretation, it conveys important truths and urges social change. The point of this song is to show that Asians are in such a good position in American society that it’s impossible to be racist against them. They’re basically white. By using harmlessly racist lyrics and a video that objectifies the target of the racism, DAG tells us that rather than being subjects of sexual stereotyping and subjugation, Asian girls are actually beneficiaries of it, winking and smiling at their rich fathers as they marry their way into American homes, make racist dickholes of ordinarily nice guys, and daintily eat flied lice. It’s dangerous to love Asian girlz. And that’s an important message.
So put down the pitchforks, calm your asses and enjoy some of Day Above Ground’s less “controversial” oeuvre. And if anyone is gonna call me racist for this post, I’ll have you know that like Day Above Ground, part of me is Asian, so that’s impossible.