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9.20.2010

guest post: youtube and the asian movement


I'm on vacation! Taking a much-needed break. But don't worry. While I'm away, I've enlisted some great guest bloggers to keep things going around here. Here's David Choi on why YouTube creators are a pretty big deal.

I have a story that starts from before the days of when the Internet was starting to become a "necessity" of life. Let's start by condensing my very long life story into a couple sentences. I was forced into playing violin and piano, discovered songwriting/producing at the age of 16, got signed to Warner Chappell Music, then my life made an interesting turn after I posted a video on YouTube.

YouTube (A Love Song) was a song of mine that got featured on the homepage of YouTube back in 2006. From that, the requests for live performances, more videos, and album requests poured in. This is not something I signed up for. I've always wanted to become a songwriter producer working behind the scenes because I was a shy guy who loved writing songs and producing. YouTube definitely changed that for me.

Now this blog post isn't going to be about me, but Asians and YouTube.

To start this off, I think most people in the entertainment industry still believe YouTube to be some sort of child's play. A joke. People who are creating videos on YouTube are all amateurs with horrible content who should get real jobs. I've heard it all, but I'm here to say otherwise.

The reality is, these creators on YouTube are getting far more views and developing enormous fan bases than most "legit" production companies out there. Their websites are easily getting thousands of hits a day and can get their messages across in ways that were impossible before. I credit the successes of YouTube's content creators to their ability to put the "human" back into the creative process. Some companies have realized this growing market and have capitalized on it in big ways. They are smart. They are progressive. They are not dinosaurs thinkers.

Growing up, I never had any Asians to look up to. Most Asians in America can relate to this. We only had Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan representing what we were about. There were no musicians or actors in mainstream media. Everything is different now. The Asian kids growing up now have a place where they can find people that look just like them doing non-Asian things. I don't have to list those non-Asian things.

Look at Wong Fu Productions, Ryan Higa, Kevjumba, Michelle Phan, and many other Asians making waves using the web as their platform. TV didn't give us a voice, but YouTube did. This website changed the world. I believe the biggest push thus far for the Asian Movement has been through YouTube. There are many Asian Americans who have paved the way for the movement before YouTube and much respect goes out to them as well.

To see Ryan Higa, who is Asian, as the #1 most subscribed person is a huge deal. Put aside the content and just think about that. Since writing this, he has over 2.6 MILLION subscribers and over HALF A BILLION video views. That is something to be proud of as a fellow Asian. The subscribers are real people who clicked on the subscribe button. Wow.

KevJumba crossing over to mainstream TV with The Amazing Race, Wong Fu Productions with consistent sold out concerts and a massive fan base, Michelle Phan being Lancome's first video artist EVER - and YouTube is a joke? I think they deserve some credit for how it has helped the Asian movement.

The Asian Movement = Respect.

In a time when TV is losing viewers and YouTube is on the rise, how great are the times we live in as an Asian American. A platform to share, inspire, and to be yourself is there to use for free. It is there for everyone. Support each other and become a part of the wave.

David Choi is a singer/songwriter/producer from Fullerton, California. He creates videos on YouTube and loves Chick Fil A.