Must-See Doc Reveals the 46 Best Asian American Music Videos from the Last 46 Years

pacific arts movement

Members of the Pacific Arts Movement, known previously as the San Diego Asian Film Foundation, has produced a new documentary on the history of Asian American music. 

The short documentary, titled “A Music Video History of Asian America,” was released in July as part of the 20th anniversary of the San Diego Film Festival, reports AsAm news. The epic 35-minute feature compiled 46 music videos produced over the 46-year oral history of Asian America.

According to Video Production Team Coordinator Aleya Zenieris, the team who poured in three weeks of intensive work consisted of “7 editors, including myself and Sabrina Ruiz, the main researcher, one animator, and several contributors as well.”

Instead of focusing mainly on well-known and notable Asian American musical artists, the producers said they used a narrow criteria in selecting which ones to include in the short film.

“Obviously, we couldn’t include everyone, which would have been a much larger video and a larger scope than we could have handled,” editor and lead researcher Sabrina Ruiz was quoted as saying. “What we wanted to come up with is a story of Asian America, identify forming and remembering and retelling history, commenting on social issues and doing that through music video specifically.”

Ruiz noted that the feature contained mostly Asian American hip-hop as including all the different kinds of Asian Americans and genres would require a two-hour video or longer.

“We had a clear idea of what kind of music and storytelling we were looking for and hip-hop and rap tended to be the medium in which most of these artists would talk about issues of representation, issues of remembering Asian American history and issues of society today. Rap and Hip-Hop tended to be more amenable to that than some of the indie artists, but we did include a few, such as Run River North.”

She further explained how the film was presented into sections that highlighted the pioneers and those who owned their Asian identity after breaking into the mainstream.

“The video is divided into different sections, such as we have the pioneers, we start in the 1960s and the ’70s and the criteria are just to be Asian American firsts. Then the criteria change from being Asian American to breaking thru to the mainstream and not only being Asian American but also owning my identity. And talking about what it is to be Chinese-American, Filipino-American, Japanese-American and then talking about our history and our struggles, cementing our place in American history, to then commenting on issues ranging from sexuality, LGBT to incarceration of immigrants at the border to the solidarity of races.”

Aimed to inform while giving exposure and discovery of so many artists in the Asian American community, the end result is a fun and engaging journey through time from pioneers such as AZN Pride and MC Jin to recent stars, including Awkwafina and Nitemrkt.

Check out the full video here:


Featured Image via YouTube/Tommy Boy, Black Eyed Peas, Court Dunn, Satica (L-R)

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