ONE OK ROCK’s New Music Video Shows What Growing Up Asian in the U.S. is Like
The music video for “Stand Out Fit In,” the second single from ONE OK ROCK’s album “Eye of the Storm,” is making waves among Asian Americans for its portrayal of what’s it like to grow up Asian in the United States.
In the video, which was directed by Peter Huang, a young Asian boy can be seen entering what appears to be his new school before immediately encountering the racist “slant-eye” gesture from a classmate.
Later, during lunch, two girls are seen making disgusted faces after seeing the contents of the Asian boy’s lunchbox.
After school, the boy returns to his family’s Chinese takeaway. As he does his homework on one of the restaurant tables, he witnesses a group of teens pulling a dine-and-dash on his family’s business.
The music then flash-forwards to the boy in his high school years. The once-bullied boy has turned to bullying himself, as he is seen picking on students in class.
Then, after ignoring the protests of his parents at home, the teen goes out with his new friends to drink — only for it to end in tragedy.
The group is shown driving under the influence and having a good time until, abruptly, the car crashes and the music stops.
The teen slowly crawls out of the car to see a face-changing Sichuan opera performer dancing on the street.
After watching for a few moments, the teen joins in with the opera performer, dancing to the same routine. Eventually, his friends from the car crash also come forth to dance in what is perhaps best interpreted as an “afterlife routine.”
Soon, however, the group appears to turn on the teen and seemingly beats him up. He then reverts back to boyhood, snd is shown standing outside his family’s takeaway as his mother comes outside, smiling at him.
Huang, who directed the video, also wrote the story, which he revealed via Instagram was inspired by his childhood.
“I was asked by Japanese band @oneokrockofficial to make a video about the Asian-American experience. So I wrote about how it felt to grow up both in an upper middle class Canadian suburb and a lower income Ohio town,” he said. “Long story short – you never feel comfortable in your own skin. But it became the very basis for artistic insight. So thank you bad experiences of childhood.”
“We are all defined by the things that broke us. To that end though – I really couldn’t give a fuck about our cultural obsession with identity politics. The last thing I want to do is fuel more resentment-based social media posts and divisiveness,” he continued in the social media post.
“Truthfully, I think everyone can relate to being an outsider – there is commonality there. Even the ‘bullies’ in the video are trying to look cool, stand out, fit in.”
He also praised the Sichuan opera dancer in the video, revealing that she learned the routine and the tradition from her uncle and grandfather, and noting how the art is a “guarded technique passed down directly from dancers in that region.”