Last Sunday night’s American Music Awards was a surprising one.
Like Jen Wang of Disgrasian, I was pleasantly surprised to see a Korean guy rapping in Korean at the AMAs. I guess I thought I’d never expected that to happen.
Asian pop icons have never performed on American music shows, but that’s exactly what took place.
At this point, I think I’ve seen and heard “Oppa Gangnam Style” on my computer and on the radio at least 30 times. My brother listens to it. My mom listens to it. My friends spam my Facebook wall with videos of performance and parodies of it. So I’ll admit I was reluctant to sit through the 5-minute video that, while it loaded, my friend claimed would be “super awesome”.
But when I watched PSY and MC Hammer perform their “Oppa Gangnam Style” and “2 Legit 2 Quit” mashup, I enjoyed it! I love collaborations and mashups because I think they’re entertaining and fun. I think most of my friends were too. I thought to myself, like Jen, “There’s a dude rapping in Korean at the American Music Awards”. It’s a pretty big wow-moment.
If you haven’t seen it already, here it is:
Still, there seem to be quite a few people who weren’t too happy about (an Asian-looking) PSY performing at the AMAs.
Why is it that Justin Bieber—who is Canadian by the way—can dominate the awards show by winning artist of the year and not receive any backlash, and yet when the artist behind the most watched video on YouTube performed onstage, he is met with highly negative and hostile comments like “I’m pretty sure this is called the American Music Awards #gobacktoAsia”?
While I’m sure this attitude doesn’t reflect how everyone at the AMAs felt about PSY, and in fact, the camera picked up more than a few people eagerly dancing along, I’m still upset that enough people felt this way.
Not only were many of the tweets just plain racist, they contradict what the music awards are really about: celebrating music. It would be shame not to celebrate the greatest hits of 2012 and not invite PSY to perform at the AMAs. Public Shaming on Tumblr called it “Oppa Racist Style” and posted a list of the derogatory tweets targeted at PSY.