NAAAP International Convention Speakers on Psy, Superheroes & Identity (Part 1 of 4)

Posted by Kayo Homma-Komori & filed under Leadership.


In anticipation of the upcoming 2013 NAAAP International Convention (August 8- 10), Schema Magazine profiles some of the convention’s speakers in an exclusive four-part series. In Part 1 we ask three questions that reveal a more pop-culture and personal side to speakers Lisa Strack, James Cheng, Dave Nanderam, Byron Abalos, Teja Arboleda, Paul Kay and Fabian De Rozario (click here for more info).

How big of a deal was it that Psy recently co-hosted the Much Music Video Awards?

Lisa Strack:

I think it was wonderful- especially in light of the Ryan Seacrest comment. Since Asians make up about 15-20% of the Canadian Population- I felt it was a good move by the MMVA.

James Cheng:

It’s a HUGE deal.  Korea’s influence on global pop culture has been steadily growing over the past 20 years and Psy’s performance indicates a shift in where lines are drawn.

Dave Nanderam:

Not a big deal, pop culture changes so fast, there isn’t really much to analyze other than it’s artists trying to be different.

Byron Abalos getting his inner-Psy on while attending a wedding in Greece.

Byron Abalos getting his inner-Psy on while attending a wedding in Greece.

Byron Abalos:

Psy is fun and he’s a great performer. Always performs with gusto but I believe the North American gaze observes him as an alien. He’s like Alf from Melmac. He’s fun to have around the house because he’s quirky but ultimately he’s foreign and an outsider who we never really accept as one of us. This view makes me uncomfortable because instead of appreciating him for his musical and performance talent, he’s relegated to a kind of novelty sideshow act. Please note: Psy does not eat cats.

Teja Arboleda:

Considering the power of YouTube and social media – then huge. Considering the ability for most fans to do the dance correctly – scary.

Paul Kay:

It’s a great sign of inclusion in our society and communities.

Fabian De Rozario:

It’s a BIG deal – it helps to ensure that the Asian faces are included in this widely telecasted event.  Good for the masses to learn how Asians are not just good at math.

Next: On being a comic book superhero.

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