October 29th, 2009
12:39 AM ET

Five rising Asian-American stars to watch

"I think that most people who know me know that I'm pretty reasonable, chill... and a not so angry a guy." That sounds funny coming from a guy who calls his blog angryasianman.com. "I adopted the name Angry Asian Man for the website because it's very provocative, and it's very in your face," he says.

And although he writes with anger when Hollywood stereotypes Asian-Americans, he also writes with joy about the up-and-coming entertainers from that community who could breakthrough to big time success someday. We asked him to pick five who may do just that.

If they do, remember, you heard it here first!

1. Far East Movement "I can't stop listening to the single, "Girls On The Dance Floor" by FarEast Movement, otherwise known as FM. It's just the greatest, coolest dance track and everytime it's on, I just turn it up. So, FarEast Movement are definitely guys to watch in hip hop."

2. David Choi "A guy I really like is a guy named David Choi on YouTube who is just creating really fun, creative, quirky songs. It's funny because he started off as a songwriter and he hasn't really done much live performing and now that his music is sort of taking off and he's gotten fans through YouTube, he's become much more of like a legit musician, playing, and actual shows and stuff like that."

3. Brenda Song "For the Disney generation, there's certainly Brenda Song, who started on the show "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody." I think in a place like Disney, which has such a huge impact on popular culture, especially among the younger generation that's just coming up, someone like Brenda Song, who is just being a really cute, funny, and engaging actress in TV shows and movies is going to really show that Asian Americans have a a place in mainstream media and kids are going to be able to see "Oh, look, there's a really appealing, normal Asian-American person on TV."

4. Aaron Yoo "I really like an actor named Aaron Yoo. He was in 'Friday the 13th,' 'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist' and a bunch of other stuff. He's just like a regular dude, who's in these, smaller roles up 'til now, but I think audiences really like him. He was in the movie 'Disturbia', which opened a couple years ago at number one at the box office. But I remember the week after that movie came out, I got all these hits on my website from people searching for Aaron Yoo, and people wanting to know who this guy was and what he was all about and searching for photos of him. I think he's definitely a guy to watch in Hollywood."

5. Wong Fu Productions [The trio of 20-something film-makers creates short movies that have developed a sizable cult following on YouTube.] "The really cool thing about their story is they are just friends who started making videos for fun, and then it caught on. I think a lot of people see themselves reflected in the Wong Fu guys. You know, it's like, 'Hey! these guys are just having fun and doing their thing" and so, I think it really relates to that young, energetic, hip sensibility where they're having fun and they're showing everybody what they're doing."

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Oen

    Kevin So is one of the most talented people I know! He's all over the place on youtube etc. He should be an international star!

    November 27, 2009 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Miss Understood

    Do you call a Mexican person American?
    Do you call a Canadian person American?

    Why not?

    After all, Canada and Mexico are in America, the continent. They are technically Americans!

    Just because someone is part of the continent, it doesn't mean they are understood that way in every day's conversations.

    Same thing with Asian Americans. The group has historically referred to the Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and other East Asian people, not Indian, Pakistani or other South East Asians.

    In the UK, however, Asians means South Asians. The Chinese are called something else.

    November 2, 2009 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Andy

    So grateful the "Americans" let me become citizens?

    My goodness man. You are truly unaware of the legacy of racism and violence in this country. Whiteness is not the standard for American-ness. We are all Americans. My Korean heritage is as American as another person's German or Irish heritage. In the late 1800's, Irish and Italian Americans were compared to "negroes". They didn't become "white" until the 1900s. America is a country where seemingly disparate cultures are woven together; to deny this means every minority group is essentially an "outsider".

    Bite the hand that feeds you?
    Who exactly is feeding you? This country was built through the hard work of people from every ethnic background. Please learn your history and grow a pair of self-respect.

    November 2, 2009 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dee

    (Some people have said this already, but for some reason everyone else just isn't getting the message.)


    "Race" is a socially constructed term; the racial differences we perceived do not actually exist because biologically we are all the same even if our skin or facial features differ. Ask any scientist or sociologist.

    The terms "Asian," "South American," "European," etc., refer to one's geographical heritage and thus, ANYONE from the continent of Asia is Asian, whether s/he is Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Bangladeshi, Mongolian, Sri Lankan, Thai, Taiwanese, etc. The continent of Asian encompasses more than 30 different countries.

    Asia (the continent) and Asian (the people) are sometimes subdivided into East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, etc. Referring to Chinese, Japanese and Koreans as East Asians; Indians, Bangladeshis as South Asians; Thais, Cambodians as Southeast Asians, for example, is fair.

    The terms "Far East Asian" and "Oriental" are NOT appropriate and are in fact, extremely offensive (some of you who are Asian should know this). They conjure ignorant ideas based on stereotypes and prejudice in much the same way the n-word or "colored" does (as Jah previously stated). (To learn more about why "oriental" is not an appropriate term to describe Asian people, pick up any Asian-American studies or sociology book.)

    – "race" is socially constructed, we are all humans
    – "Asian" is a term describing geographic heritage
    – Anyone from the continent of Asia can be considered Asian
    – Asians can be subdivided into regional groups, e.g., Southeast Asians, South Asians
    – "Oriental" and "Far East Asian" are not appropriate

    Mad props to those of you who actually know your stuff (marianne, WS, Ryan, Jah, RL, dryedmangoez, David Whang, CM).

    November 2, 2009 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Andy

    Asian Americans (no hyphen) include people of South Asian ancestry.

    And "ORIENTAL" is a very loaded, derogatory word.

    It's EAST ASIAN. I wish the blog would address the racism and stereotyping that is so prevalent in today's media.

    November 2, 2009 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike Agatep

    Filipinos are Asian, Southeast Asian to be exact. Our language and physical look is similar to Cambodians, Malaysians, Indonesians. When I go to one of those countries, I am mistaken for a local.

    We are not Pacific Islanders. They are much taller and stockier and fatter than Filipinos.

    November 2, 2009 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. Donald L.

    Interesting choices. I think Far East Movement has a chance to catch on and be a fairly large presence in the music industry. Someone said they were "selling out". I call it smart business sense. Their latest album "Animal" is is part of a trend many other artists have followed. Look at Black Eyed Peas and Flo-Rida, all hip-hop artists who have produced more dance oriented albums recently.

    With their song "Girls on the Dance Floor" being played on MTV and their recent collaboration with Space Cowboy, their fame is sure to grow.

    November 1, 2009 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ron

    I think you have to say it's people like Ken leung, sung kang, as well as other Asian actors who have landed good roles in Hollywood and have executed on those opps. You might say those guys are already stars? Not until they can command a 1 million dollar payday in my book.

    November 1, 2009 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ron

    I like far east movement but they look to be trying to sell out. Aaron yoo has done some decent roles. Wong foo has great cinematography, but their content sucks. David choi is nothing more than some acoustic singer u can see on any tuesday night in Hollywood. Brenda song is Miley cyrus minus the fame, music career, etc. Are u kidding me? Plus angryasianman is a name dropper and just cuz u have a blog doesn't mean u r an authority.

    November 1, 2009 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Carle

    Somebody's always gonna be offended by something. It's like there's nothing you can say to please everyone all the time. Don't sweat the small stuff.

    October 31, 2009 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jess

    Most of the Indians, Pakistanis and the countries that are not East Asian in my school do not consider themselves Asian. When someone points out that, "Oh, Indians are Asian too" they even get offended.

    October 31, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ihartyu

    i think being part of the Asian continent doesnt make you an asian. for example. Russia is a part of Asia but they consider themselves as european not as asian. and i think it goes the same way with Indian, pakistani, iranian, etc. majority of people consider them as middle eastern.

    October 30, 2009 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ihartyu

    i dont think Indian and such are asian. theyre more like middle eastern people. and russia is a part of asia too. but they consider themselves as european. i think being a part of continent doesnt really affect what race are you.

    October 30, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. tinyriceball

    The interesting thing about your list is the impact that the internet is having...something that was just for fun can turn into something that catches on, the internet is becoming the best way to find talents that might have been overlooked. Asian-Americans typically have it really hard but its great that the Asian stereotypes are all being broken by these amazing talents and many others, like Quest crew showing that Asians CAN dance VERY well. Music is being broken by FM, David Choi, Paul Dateh who have very unique styles. Brenda, Aaron show us that Asians don't have to just play the kung-fu master. Wong-fu is just breaking stereotypes right and left Asians DO have humor, and creativity, we can ACT and of course we can the white girl/boy, and the cute poses come from us~ ^^v "its okay to be a poser."

    October 30, 2009 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. J

    Kev Nish, Prohgress, J-slif, Dj Virman are dope. I LOVE FM!!!!!!!!!

    October 30, 2009 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  16. bozo

    I am surprised nobody mentioned Arnel Pineda, lead singer for Journey, who is from the Philippines.

    October 30, 2009 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  17. Carle

    To Jon – Personally, when I think of "Asian-Americans", or "Asians" in terms of Chinese, Japanese, or Indian, I automatically assume a better educated individual. But maybe that's just me. I see so much on the news about the strictness of these cultures re: their educational ambitions, I come to expect someone of intelligence, and respect their work ethic. It's got to have been some incredible pressure to perform with such diligence. We Americans should be as determined. Education here is very much taken for granted. We feel way too entitled, without any real sacrifice.

    October 30, 2009 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  18. dc

    What about KevJumba?

    October 30, 2009 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  19. CM

    I don't think the blogger of angryasianman.com was intending on showcasing only East Asians; it just happened to work out that way.

    I am Filipino and we are ASIAN. If you want to get more specific, we fall under Southeast Asian. I still don't understand why people don't consider us Asian just because we're an island off of mainland Asia.

    Who actually uses Oriental American? I find the term offensive because it has so many stereotypical connotations attached to it. Just stick to Asian American - and yes, Asian Americans consists of Indian and Middle Eastern ethnicities It's the fact that media does not acknowledge them that people have made that connection.

    Anyways, I love the list. It's a good mix of Asian American stars in both mainstream and independent stars. I hope #'s 1, 2 and 5 will break out into mainstream media; their talent should be shared with not only Asian Americans but alll Americans!

    October 30, 2009 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  20. Jose

    oh and wat abt Daniel Henney?? he was in Wolverine and now he's in Three Rivers. and B.D. Wong in Law & Order, he was in Father of the Bride I & II

    October 30, 2009 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  21. Jose

    i just wanna say, go Asians!! its time we rock the entertainment business!! time to show the world that we're not ALL the stereotypical Asian. and just because we have a lot of kung fu films doesnt mean we're all lyk that!! everyone else is just jealous that we're good at this and wont admit it!! they cant do it themselves! since when have hollywood produced a kung fu film that's as good as the ones from Hong Kong or China??? i hope everyone out there realises that all the fighting in films are choreographed by ASIANS!!!!

    October 30, 2009 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  22. li

    i love wong fu production and their shorts...

    October 30, 2009 at 5:22 am | Report abuse |
  23. David Whang

    BTW, Far East Movement RULES!!!!

    October 30, 2009 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
  24. David Whang

    Oriental Americans is not a politically correct word.

    Please use Asian Americans.

    There is no Orient.


    October 30, 2009 at 3:56 am | Report abuse |
  25. steph

    "Here's a suggestion: how about an Asian character who plays a strong and smart character TOTALLY unrelated to Martial Arts!!!!"

    "As is B.D. Wong's character on Law and Order."

    or christina in grey's anatomy.

    how about a character that isn't a doctor or a lawyer, since that's what ALL of our parents want us to be?

    October 30, 2009 at 3:31 am | Report abuse |
  26. dryedmangoez

    Filipinos are Asians.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:26 am | Report abuse |
  27. TC


    October 30, 2009 at 3:18 am | Report abuse |
  28. TC

    The Philippines are located in southwest Asia.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:18 am | Report abuse |
  29. Kit

    Filipinos are not Pacific Islanders. They're Southeast Asians, similar to Malaysians.

    October 30, 2009 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  30. DC

    I don't really agree with your choice of Brenda Song. She has been "rising" for a while, ever since her childhood when she starred in a few movies, such as the remake of "Leave It To Beaver." I do, however, like your other picks who got famous through Youtube and the Internet, with the exception of Aaron Yoo. David Choi, Far*East, Wong Fu all started what they're doing for fun, as hobbies and are steadily becoming more and more famous. I think Brenda Song and Aaron Yoo are already Hollywood-y & the rest are the epitome of up and coming future rock stars. My $0.02.

    October 30, 2009 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
  31. Cedric

    Why is AJ Rafael not on the list???


    October 30, 2009 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
  32. RL

    Oriental refers to things, not people. It's an outdated term that's more appropriate for describing rugs. And as for the people arguing about Asian Americans, I think the author knows that. He's just asking for someone else's opinion. Calm down.

    October 30, 2009 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
  33. Mel

    AAA, you rock.
    With the exception of Brenda Song and Aaron Yoo [I'm not familiar with their work], I totally agree with your picks!

    October 30, 2009 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
  34. John

    Filipinos are more Pacific islanders, there location is close to asian cultures so many think they are asians. That's what my wife tells me.

    October 29, 2009 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  35. JK

    I don't consider myself an Oriental American, but an Asian American or Korean American yes. The former just sounds weird. Too many syllables.

    October 29, 2009 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  36. jah

    "Orient" originally referred to the region NOT the people. It can be used to describe a design such as "Oriental Rugs" but not people. To describe people in that fashion is the same as calling someone "Colored". There are no "Oriental Americans"...

    October 29, 2009 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  37. ollivander11

    What about Daniel Henney?

    October 29, 2009 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  38. dave

    i'm asian and i'm not expecting any other americans to conform to my ethnicity. shoot, we're lucky the american's let us in and allow us to become citizens....if i can recall correctly, the french, austrian and the uk pretty much said no way jose when we camped out at this concentrated refugee camp island country in apac. In fact, the world looked the other way and it was america that took us in with open arms. I DO NOT BITE THE HANDS THAT FEED ME!!! i also think liberal americans have gotten too wildly ungrateful...if only they can see how great this country is as i see it.

    October 29, 2009 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  39. WS

    Twenty-five years ago, people from East Asia were referred to as Oriental. However, that is not politically correct to say now. We don't seem to have a generally accepted term these days so most Americans say "Asian American" which encompasses a larger group.

    October 29, 2009 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Ryan

    The name is not "Oriental American". Please get educated.

    The correct term is "Asian American".

    October 29, 2009 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  41. hawaiiasianwhatever

    Who gives a rat's butt what we're called. After it's all said and done, aren't we all just plain "American?"

    October 29, 2009 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  42. DP

    How about Filipinos? Are they considered Oriental Americans or Pacific Islander Americans?

    October 29, 2009 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  43. wayneski


    I think we will have to give "Asian American a rest because of the countries in Asia.

    Oriental Americans it is!

    and if our parents didn't psychotically push to be engineers- we might do more entertainment.

    October 29, 2009 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Killa Money Slammz

    I really like that dude Tim Jo that was in the movie "Bandslam". He has some videos on the net that are really funny too. He seems like a real winner in life, and is probably a success with the ladies.

    October 29, 2009 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  45. DJ

    Even an international news channel/ news website cant seem to get it right... when is this country going to acknowledge that Asia is made up of so many countries besides China, Korea, Japan – its ridiculous. Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Afghans, Tibetans, Arabs, Sri Lankans are ALL ASIANS. If you want to distinguish the Oriental group of Asians which I hear they hate being called, then refer to them as Far East Asian-Americans but where do you all get off calling just them as Asian Americans..shame on these ridiculous false stereotypes..... talk about being politically correct...

    October 29, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Jeff

    Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, Iranian, etc. are commonly referred to as South Asians, whereas the term Asian-Americans commonly refers to East and Southeast Asians

    ... or maybe the author just wasn't impressed by any South Asians

    October 29, 2009 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  47. John

    "Here's a suggestion: how about an Asian character who plays a strong and smart character TOTALLY unrelated to Martial Arts!!!!"

    As is B.D. Wong's character on Law and Order.

    October 29, 2009 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Marianne

    To Indian-American: there is no such thing as Oriental Americans.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Chris

    Oh good, just another nationality to complain that we "Americans" are not conforming to their heritage ! Can't wait for that can of worms to get opened and the bitching to start.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Indian-American

    I don't really agree that Indian, Pakistani, and the Middle East be thought of as Oriental Americans..but Asian Americans is always equated to Oriental Americans.

    October 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Jon

    Its good to see more Asian- Americans in media such as movies and music. However, MOST Asian- Americans happen to be smart and driven so I hope that increased visibility in the arts does not translate into mimicking ridculous "new cultural" behaviors of whites and blacks. For example, the asian actor in Friday the 13th acting like a stoner. Sure, there are Asian stoners. But I don't think that sinking to such a low denominator is something to be proud of and should be expected roles for asians. Here's a suggestion: how about an Asian character who plays a strong and smart character TOTALLY unrelated to Martial Arts!!!!

    October 29, 2009 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Beth

    FYI, Asian-Americans are also those of Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, Iranian, etc heritage...........not only East Asian countries.

    October 29, 2009 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |

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