Unless you either do not utilize YouTube or live under a YouTube rock, you probably know of or have watched a video from Wongfu productions. Their journey starts in an unexpected place: racism and discrimination. People kept telling the members of Wong Fu that no one would consume films where Asians were the leads. Asians have been stereotyped as nerds, sidekicks, and nonsexual beings in media, so when these passionate film makers saw they were being discriminated against. They started creating their own content. Thus the humble beginnings of Wong Fu productions was born.
Discrimination Inspired them
When they did begin creating content. They navigated away from showing Asian stereotypes on screen, and they for a period of time, used exclusively Asian actors to create said content. The exact circumstances that others said would fail propelled them to notoriety online, and eventually Wong Fu would make not only short films and skits on their channel but a feature length film and a series on YouTubeRed. This was no quick process. Wong Fu has existed for 10 years, and they still faced the same discrimination when they went to pitch their feature film idea. Everyone in Hollywood echoed the same discriminatory ideas that inspired them initially, a film that had Asians as the leads would not make any money. Not only was their film successful, but Wong Fu provided a voice for Asian Americans. Kids and adults alike finally saw characters that looked like them in entertainment media. They held an event near my city at McDonalds, and almost everyone in attendance was young and Asian. These teenagers and young adults adored these people because of the quality of the stories and the visibility they provided.
Two points of interest should be noted from Wong Fu’s journey: discrimination and racism is experienced by all POC not just black people, and when someone says there is not space for you make your own and people will start to demand what you provide. Wong Fu created a demand for their products by utilizing what limited resources they had and a free platform. Now business such as AT&T and McDonalds work with Wong Fu because of the power of their brand. Their film is now on DVD/Blueray and Netflix, so they have broken out of being on one platform. Also, we cannot forget when we talk about oppression and white supremacy that this includes all people of color not just black people! So many POC assume they cannot speak on race issues or that they are not being discriminated against. Do not fall into the trap of seeing race relations and dissemination as a white black issue. Those issues are not exclusive to the black community. We do not have a monopoly on oppression and racism. All of us that are nonwhite are affected by this, and we have equal say and validity in our experiences. Then you also have POC engaging in who is the most oppressed contests rather than working together. Asians not being represented in media is a black issue. Police brutality against black bodies is an Asian issue. Any type of violence or oppression of a group of POC is an issue for all POC, and we need to give a voice to each group. Black people do dominate these conversations and at times alienate other races from the conversation. That is partly from society only focusing on this one dynamic in racial tension and lack of knowledge of the history of other POC.
As someone who has creative interests such as YouTube, writing, and music seeing and meeting people who fought against the system while staying true to their beliefs and content inspired me. Everyone emphasizes in many different ways that white is right. Someone like me is not encouraged to make entertainment content unless I tone down my blackness or play a token character. We are running out of excuses for why we are not succeeding. You can succeed outside of the precut mold for your ambitions. The path is more laborious and taxing but much more rewarding than continuing to hide. Their success came from making their own company and supporting their own people as they moved upward! Which brings another point, support business and the creative works of POC. As many have said before. You will pay for Beyonce tickets but not five dollars to your friend who is starting up a business or making a craft. If you want to see successful POC exist support them. They only can thrive if we all make an effort to be more conscientious about what we consume.