This Korean American Rapper's Video Shows Whitewashing in Hollywood

May 27th 2016

Tricia Tongco

Ever wonder what an Asian Jon Snow would look like?

Thanks to Korean American rapper Dumbfoundead, you don’t need to use your imagination. In his new music video for his song “Safe,” he takes on iconic roles in classic movies and television shows, from "Titanic" to "Friends."

While funny, the video’s origin came from a serious issue in Hollywood. Dumbfoundead included the following statement with the release of the song:

After the last Academy Awards and the regular whitewashing of hollywood roles, i wrote this song out of frustration. 

Beyond the overall criticism behind the viral hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, Asians were also the target of racist jokes making light of harmful Asian stereotypes at the 88th Academy Awards in March. 

Here are some lyrics and scenes pulled from the rapper’s newly released song “Safe”: 

In addition to #OscarsSoWhite, Dumbfoundead’s song taps into the same sentiment behind the hashtag #StarringJohnCho, which invites you to imagine a world in which Asian-Americans are viable leading men, using actor John Cho.

In an article in The New York Times this week, Asian actors spoke up about their struggle for visibility, frankly criticizing their industry and its “white washing” of Asian roles

“An Asian person who is competing against white people, for an audience of white people, has to train for that opportunity like it’s the Olympics," Constance Wu, of ABC's  "Fresh Off the Boat," told the Times. 

According to USC's latest study on diversity in entertainment, Asians represented just 5.1 percent of speaking or named characters across film, television and digital series in 2014, and at least half of those projects featured no such Asian characters at all.

Now that’s a reason to play “Safe” on repeat. Watch the full video below:

[h/t Complex]​

[Ed. Note — An earlier version of this story referred to Dumbfounded as a "Korean" rapper. It has been updated to "Korean American," to reflect that he was born to Korean immigrants in Argentina and raised in the United States.]