The founder of the Portland, Oregon-based band, The Slants, allegedly once turned down a major label offer that asked to replace their Asian American lead singer with a White male.
Known for their controversial name
, The Slants is founded by Simon Tam who named the band in order to reappropriate the derogatory slur.
Tam recalled to the Washington Post
, that he once was approached by major-label company rep, who presented a $4 million offer. However, the contract asked that he place the lead singer with “someone White.”
Sticking to the values that his parents imparted and believing signing such a deal would undermine everything he fought for, Tam tore up the contract.
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Tam has spoken out about reclaiming the disparaging terms once used against him.
“Kids would pull their eyes back in a slant-eyed gesture to make fun of us. … I wanted to change it to something that was powerful, something that was considered beautiful or a point of pride instead,”
Tam told NPR
“When communities co-opt terms for self-reference or self-empowerment, it’s saying you can’t use that word against me. It belongs to me now,” he explained to the Washington Post. “In that sense, refusing to be defined by others is an act of creation. It is both activism and art.”