Patrice Wilson isn't really a celebrity in his own right, but he has proven to be one of the most powerful songwriters of the Internet age. His catalog includes Rebecca Black's "Friday" and Nicole Westbrook's "It's Thanksgiving," among others. These songs have received a lot of criticism, but have also generated undeniable success.
Yesterday, Wilson's latest talent, Allison Gold, came out with a video for a new song called "Chinese Food." And much like the aforementioned songs, this one is also going viral. However, the video itself is far more troubling than anything Wilson has done previously.
To offer a quick synopsis, the video is about a girl who finds a Chinese restaurant to satisfy her hunger pangs. At the restaurant, she gets a fortune cookie that allows her to then frolic in lush green fields with a giant panda. The panda, Wilson, then takes off his panda mask to rap, before disappearing into a rainbow.
This video isn't just as ludicrous as the summary suggested. It's completely racist.
For starters, the song goes along with standard Chinese food stereotypes: wonton soup, egg rolls, chowmein, and even fortune cookies (which are not a part of Chinese cuisine). But the video goes beyond that. The subtitles that flash on the bottom of the screen are in a variety of languages, including European languages. Then of course, there's the giant panda. And finally, the video closes with a scene of Gold dressed in a kimono, alongside the panda and some backup dancers who are powdered up and looking very traditional. Traditionally Japanese that is; after all, the kimono is an outfit worn by Japanese woman.
The video doesn't appear to be done with malicious intent, but that does not excuse its creators. The intention behind "Chinese Food" is pretty simple and egregious: viral marketing by appropriating and exploiting a culture.