Jonathan Park is a Los Angeles-based rapper better known by his stage name Dumbfoundead. Born to Korean immigrants living in Buenos Aires, Dumbfoundead's parents smuggled him into the U.S. when he was only three years old and settled down in Los Angele's Koreatown.
In the new music video for his song "Safe," Dumbfoundead taps into the current conversations about the lack of Asian American representation in Hollywood that are being driven by campaigns like #WhiteWashedOUT and #StarringJohnCho.
Playing the role of the all-American father, Dumbfoundead and his family sit down to watch television and as they flip through the channels catch glimpses of major films like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Pulp Fiction, and Iron Man.
"There's something going on in this scene, it's just not quite right," the music video's director interrupts, breaking the fourth wall towards the end of the song. "There's something about your face. It just doesn't have that Hollywood star quality."
As the video closes, Dumbfoundead's escorted off of the set by security after being replaced by a smiling white man the director had on standby.
"After the last Academy Awards and the regular whitewashing of hollywood roles," Park explained on his Facebook page, asking for others to share their experiences with whitewashing. "I wrote this song and made this video to add my piece to the conversation."
Over 1,000 people flooded the video's comments with stories of their own and observations about Park's message. The responses were overwhelmingly
"Mad respect to you for putting up dope music with a meaningful message. We don't get that much nowadays," Facebook user Nathan Kong Kong responded. "Growing up in a predominantly white high school, this song hits home. I was this exact person described in your lyrics. I feel that we Asians still have not broken the cultural stigma of being that awkward, nerdy, culturally ingrained chino. Still, I have hope of things changing maybe by the time my son goes to high school himself, where his self-image really starts to effect his decisions."
Others, though took issue with Park's decision to use rap music, often considered to be a black art form, in order to comment on the plight of Asian community. Dre Pabon, a marketing director from San Francisco, gave Park his props, and felt as if there weren't enough people speaking out in a similar fashion.
"I actually applaud this, it's about time that Asians get into the fray with regards to issues of racism, it's long overdue," Pabon wrote. "Blacks & Latinos have been on the frontline of this issue for over 80 years and the Asian community has benefited immensely from the blood sweat & tears that have been shed for this cause."