Seattle-based singer/songwriter and creative producer Hollis Wong-Wear has served as tour manager for Blue Scholars, sang the Grammy-nominated hook on Macklemore's "White Walls," and recently released her latest EP Love Notes with her electronic group The Flavr Blue. She is an artist. She is a hustler. She is a badass.
She is not, however, anybody's sidekick.
Tell that to the Seattle Times editor who bestowed "sidekick" status on Hollis with this headline: "Warmth and intimacy from The Flavr Blue, with Macklemore sidekick Hollis Wong-Wear." The headline has since been changed to remove the "sidekick" reference, but not before Hollis noticed and called it out in a Facebook post.
"To be immediately labeled in boldface as a white guy's sidekick is fundamentally insulting."
The piece itself didn't use the term, and Hollis points out that writer/interviewer Jake Utti isn't responsible for its inclusion in the headline. But that's a hell of a way to erase someone's credentials before you even get a chance to read about them for yourself.
The Seattle Times has since posted an apology on Hollis' Facebook page:
I want to apologize to you for the headline on today’s Seattle Times article. We used Macklemore in the headline as a way of drawing more readers into the story and did not intend in any way to minimize your standing as an artist. We weren’t aware of the issues around the term “sidekick.” As of today, we are, and it’s been a teachable moment. We’ve reached out privately to you and we have changed the headline, but we want to make sure we make our thoughts public as well.
--Melissa Davis, Seattle Times features editor
More here: Seattle Paper Describes Asian Woman & Macklemore Collaborator Hollis Wong-Wear as His 'Sidekick'