Hmmm... there are asians on TV and radio.

Imagine my shock and surprise.

In the car, right there ON THE RADIO my kids point out that they like the song that's playing. So I ask them who it is and they tell me it's a band called Far East Movement. So when the car is parked at home I jump onto the Google machine and find out that Far East Movement is a group made up of four asian gentlemen.

What? Asians don't have hit songs on the radio!

Far East Movement represents a new trend in asian empowerment and visibility. Try to think of a hit song before "Like a G6" that was performed by someone who is asian. If you're even close to my age you might have come up with "Sukiyaki" by Kyu Sakamoto and then the list stopped.

I thought about it a bit and then I noticed something else. Lisa Ling is asian. So is Lucy Lu, Sandra Oh and comedian Margaret Cho. Even Tila Tequila is asian. The new remake of Hawaii 5-0 has Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park as two of the lead actors. What's even more shocking is that every single one of the actors, musicians and (dare I say it) even my own role on the air at CBC Radio 2 is legit. None of the asian actors, singers, performers or radio hosts are playing stereotypes of asian characters like Mickey Rooney did as Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's. (tsk) Instead asian cultural peeps are really starting to make significant contributions. They are cool, beautiful and talented... just like any culture. So why did it take so long?

Sure Pat Morita made huge contributions to the acting world. But when you think about it he (almost) always played "a Japanese guy". George Takei was non-stereotyped in his role as Sulu on Star Trek which was a huge exception when it came to casting a Japanese actor. One small step.

So what does this mean? Not to make a big deal about it but are asians on the TV and radio. Well, it might not be a big deal (to most) but I'll bet it's a really big deal to the ones who have FINALLY proven themselves to cast away the asian stereotypes and make it to the spotlight as simply themselves.

Trend prediction: you're going to see a lot more asian people playing key roles in the media, on screen and even on the radio. Or have you noticed it already?

Tim Tamashiro