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9.27.2013

The Musical That Refuses to Die

"Asian America has its own story to tell. Don't Buy Miss Saigon."



The hit musical Miss Saigon is the longest running and most enduring pop culture representation of Vietnamese people in the Western world. It's also full of racist, sexist and colonialist lies. Now, twelve years after closing on Broadway, everybody's favorite musical me-love-you-long-time is attempting to make a comeback.

With upcoming runs of the show in Minneapolis and several other cities, the Don't Buy Miss Saigon campaign aims to create awareness about this shitty Orientalist musical that refuses to die:

WHAT IS MISS SAIGON? WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT?

The musical Miss Saigon is launching in Minneapolis and several other cities, and the London re-staging broke the record for West End box office ticket sales, making 4.4 million pounds in one day. Many defenders of Miss Saigon, a play written by two white men based on a photograph they saw, insist that the play is "truthful" and "historically accurate." What is especially problematic is that Miss Saigon is the longest running and most enduring pop culture representation of Vietnamese people in the Western world – and to a certain extent and by extension of racism, it presents a narrow lens through which all Asians are viewed.

While we recognize that there are many truths, we also see that institutional racism, sexism, and colonization continually reinforce shallow stereotypes of people of color, and the ‘truths’ that are most often lauded and supported are exploitative works that reproduce and validate harmful power structures and chauvinism that ultimately harms the people they claim to portray. Miss Saigon is such a spectacle: a big budget ode to colonialism that romanticizes war and human trafficking.
If you refuse to buy Miss Saigon, sign 18 Million Rising's online petition.

"Truthful" and "historically accurate," my ass. To see photos and stories of real folks who also refuse to buy into the lies of Miss Saigon, check out Don't Buy Miss Saigon: Our Truth Project.