1.25.2012

Intimacy (or the lack thereof)

While watching Koda Kumi's latest music video, 'Slow' featuring Omarion, I was pleasantly surprised by the chemistry between both of them.


slowfeatomarion by Bored4Lyfe

This is a Jpop video and I just hope it doesn't disappear before this post goes up.

What do you think? Am I imagining the chemistry between Koda and Omarion? I personally loved the whispers, the laughter, the touches. Koda has had music videos with white male models but this must be her first with a Black man. I'm no Omarion stan but he didn't do bad in this video. After watching this I wondered if similar intimacy could be found between a Japanese man and Black woman in a music video. I couldn't think of any music videos featuring a Japanese man with a Black woman but I remembered Se7en's 'Girls' and Far East Movement's 'Rocketeer'.

Major confession time, I've actually never watched or listened to 'Girls'. I was a Se7en fan before his USA debut but I largely ignored this because of reasons. I didn't even know he had sang with Lil' Kim until I found the Narrative. Needless to say, I have finally watched 'Girls' and because I watched it just after seeing the Blasian couple that Koda and Omarion made, I wasn't too pleased. Here's the video for old times sake.


I couldn't see the intimacy. I know this song is vastly different from 'Slow', 'Girls' is a party song and Lil' Kim defines her own sexy image* (I remain a fan of her older stuff) but together, she and Se7en look so...plastic. I just wasn't feeling it (I completely understand that not everyone will agree with me on this).

Then it struck me that not only is Koda not trying to break into the USA music market, 'Slow' is sung mostly in Japanese. That video is meant for the Japanese market (and the rest of us international fans). Are there similar Jpop videos with Japanese musicians and Black female love interests? I went on a search and came up with nothing! What I was looking for specifically was Jpop videos in which a Black woman was shown as a love interest, not as a random person dancing in a club. I wanted to see whispering, caressing, les yeux doux and such like between Koda and Omarion. Then I thought I'd search for Kpop videos with the same content. Nothing there either.

Oh well, we have Black female love interests with Asian men in both English and French (remember Monsieur Nov) music videos. I'll be keeping an eye out for when a someone among the top 10 male Jpop artists** has a Black female love interest in his music video largely aimed at a local audience.




*Koda also has a 'racy' image
**Koda is very popular as well! My Asian pop buddy on Twitter got me listening to her a few months ago, I'm yet to come across a list of 'top 10 Jpop female singers' that does not include her.

21 comments:

  1. My theory of why there isn't Black and Asian in Asian POP because of the fact that in those countries you have some that really don't like seeing Black people on TV unless it's a bad image. You have the American media brainwashing the world into beliving a white image.

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  2. FIRSTLY: Congrats on Koda Kumi's pregnancy (love this girl!)

    SECONDLY: Now this comes from someone who used to be a HUGE B2K fan in middle/high school, but Omarion's "rapping" came off as SO lame to me!I don't know who told him to do that, but it was not a good look. I liked the chemistry and if Omarion had left the rap out, I would have really liked the song. (sidenote: i did not know he was THAT short. I mean Koda is SHORT AND she had on heels and he was still barely taller than her!)

    THIRDLY: I think the use of Omarion was more for shock value. Koda is known for doing the unthinkable in her music videos. There was even a video (I think called ko so koso or something) where she had sex with a girl) Anyway, because "slow" is classier than most of her other songs, (And I don't even know if it's classy yet bc I have not read the lyrics in english)she might start a trend with other J-stars using Black people as leads.

    LASTLY: I don't know what it is about Asian stars collaborating with has-been American stars. Even when se7en announced he was doing a duo with lil' kim, i knew THEN that is was going to be lame...

    LASTLY (Foreal this time): Have you heard of Crystal Kay? She's a Blasian doing big things in Japan :) http://www.tokyohive.com/2011/11/crystal-kay-reveals-full-pv-for-superman/

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    1. Yes! Koda Kumi is awesome.

      I noticed the height difference as well, I don't think he was taller than her though, she looked taller than him with the heels on.

      Lol, I think those are the only stars that are willing to work with them? 'Has-been' USAmerican stars also collaborate with musicians from all over Africa. And yes, I've heard of Crystal Kay, but when it comes to Blasian musicians in the Japanese music scene, I prefer Thelma Aoyama (she's a quarter Trini). That lady has a very powerful voice.

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  3. Eccnetricyoruba,

    For some strange reason, I don't have Omarion and Koda video,but I have the other two.

    Anyhoo, I feel that when it comes to Omarion, give him a chance and he will show his romantic side to the world. When he was with B2k, he and his friends had no problem flashing the physiques like there was no tommorow..lol!.

    Though I haven't seen the video yet,but I'll take your word for it. Like Javan said, I think with Japanese and other Asian countries, to see one of their own being seen in a romantic encounter with a Black person is still weird and unacceptable.

    Elle,

    I dreaded the same thing when it comes to has been artists like Lil Kim, not only that , I also notice that many K-pop atrists want to work with has been producer. The music business is a hard industry to get into,but when you're working with the older gang like the ones you and me mentioned, their music are bound to go South.

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    1. The video has been removed! Just as I suspected, this tends to happen with a lot of Jpop videos ><

      The video was a nice reversal of what Javan said because it shows Koda being in a romantic encounter with a Black person. Then again, I've seen more blond hair, blue eyes white people in Japanese music videos than any other non-Japanese ethnicity.

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    2. I like the video. Also since more and more people are watching each other media it's more demand of people other than white actors. But I like to see more and more people breaking the barrier despite the standard medium.

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  4. Koda Kumi did try to break into the US early on in her career. She releases ALOT of music---I remember her 12 singles in 12 weeks release--which I think added to her fame. Now she's probably more popular than Ayumi Hamasaki and Amuro Namie. She's known for her ero-kakkoi ("sexy cool") style is probably the only artist to successfully pull that off. Besides Omarion, she's worked with Fergie, and also T-Pain...though I think only the Fergie song has a video.

    I'll speak from a J-R&B perspective since it's where I have the most knowledge in and one thing I've noticed is a lack of intimacy in videos in general. Some videos may have a little hand holding, and I can't even think of many videos that feature romantic kissing. Many artists are storytellers in their videos and don't seem to interact with what's actually happening in the videos. And there are a fair amount of foreigners in J-videos--even J-R&B ones--but they also seem to not really interact with the artists as well. I can't think of a video that even shows AM/WF relationships, let alone AM/BF. Usually foreigners are either alone or in a couple with another foreigner (though I can't say it this includes Chinese and Koreans and other Asians).

    Crystal Kay is indeed blasian and she does have Japanese men in her videos yet she herself have little interaction with them, even when it's collaboration work. Full of Harmony collaborated with Ne-Yo for the song Brand New Day, and the video had a black girl in it, but she was just there...I don't even think the scenes were filmed in the same studio. The LL Brothers also used black women in videos, but again with little real interaction. EXILE did a video for New Jack Swinga and had lead singer Atsushi with a black woman and a white woman, but again that was still pretty low on interaction.

    I'm not sure of why this is. When I watch J-drama, I would joke about how awkward romantic scenes usually where and I HATED watching people kiss in them...I'd seen more romantic kissing than I did in J-drama. I think it may be some sort of cultural thing, but again I'm really not sure. Hentai is nasty as hell, yet making out on J-TV seems TABOO.

    But back to KK, the video is down now. She's one Rhythmzone/Avex and they have a YouTube Channel. So I'm sure they will upload the video in a day or two. I haven't seen the song or video yet so I'll hold out on commenting directly on that.

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    1. Oh, I really appreciate your input ShaSha!

      I'm aware of Koda's ero-kakkoi image, this was part of why I was initially reluctant to get into her music (I wasn't sure if the image was her creation or that of her handlers). I can't believe she's more popular than Ayumi or Namie either, that's interesting.

      I've noticed is a lack of intimacy in videos in general

      I used to think that J-videos were racier/more suggestive than say Kpop music videos but that has changed in the past year or so. I guess it depends on the genre. I've seen a lot of white people in J-videos as well and they were usually, like you said, alone or in a couple with another white person. On the other hand, I've seen Kpop MVs that did show AM/WF couples, the first that pops to mind is Big Bang's 'Tonight'.

      I thought of Crystal Kay when writing this post! I seriously do not get the lack of interaction, even when the song is obviously a love song, they'd have the video focus on a random couple rather than the singer and a model or actor/actress etc.

      I hate awkward romantic kissing scenes with a passion. It's a good thing that both K-dramas and J-dramas I watch these days have believable passionate kissing scenes. I grew tired of seeing one too many 'mistake' kisses, really how can two people fall and end up kissing each other?

      It may not be culture as much as 'morality' standards in different industries. I don't know about Japan, but I know more about the case in South Korea where movies tend to have more sex and violence than TV dramas, apparently this has to do with censors and ideas on who would end up watching the movies or dramas (think of the children!) Apparently it is easier to regulate who sees what in cinemas and stores that sell DVDs.

      But back to KK, the video is down now. She's one Rhythmzone/Avex and they have a YouTube Channel. So I'm sure they will upload the video in a day or two.

      I hope so! I'll keep an eye out and amend the post accordingly when this happens.

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    2. The video is still floating around on Tudou: http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/iLA5Oa1ArzY/

      I'm not sure of how you embed videos from Tudou or even if you can. I still think Avex will be posting the video soon.

      What's interesting to me about the video is that it actually has more of an "international" feel to it, which I wonder is deliberate because Omarion is in it. The chemistry between Omarion and KK is good--I agree with that--but I also noticed that the rest of the people in the video seem to not be Asian. I'm pretty sure I saw another black guy in the video and definitely some white people. Even the scenery seemed more European than Japanese. Granted J-pop artists are expected to be all "Japanese-y" or whatever. Yet it's funny how the everything in the video seems so "not Japanese" and we're presented with a couple being intimate.

      KK's album was released this week and is at No. #2 on the daily charts, but I'm curious to know how this video ranks. This album seems low on sales right now, and I bet that has to do with the album being pushed ahead and her activities being cut short because of her pregnancy and marriage.

      As for Omarion, I too am confused about why he's rapping instead of singing. He does have a pretty strong fan base in Japan and even though his last album was 2 years ago, it did do well on the charts.

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    3. Yeah you can embed videos from Tuduo but I'll wait for Avex to post the video.

      Omg, how did I miss the other people in the video? I must have been blinded by my adoration for Omarion and Koda. Lol. I have to rewatch the video! I've read really good reviews for Japonesque but haven't heard anything about how this video ranks.

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  5. I am very upset by the content of the video at the end of the post, the one that features an Asian man with a black woman. In the video, he claims "When I call you my B*tch.."

    This is unacceptable behavior. I refuse to accept or support ANYONE, ANYWHERE who addresses black women with that disrespectful language. And to frame it as a loving act to call a woman such a foul thing makes it ten times worse.

    I love Asian men. I really, really do. In my opinion they are the sexiest men, and I prefer them over other races of men. However, I have too much self-regard and respect for black women in general to let that kind of treatment slide from an Asian man or a man of any race.

    Anyone who is reading this without having clicked the vid, please DO NOT click on it, because we don't want to add views to that video's count; views are interpreted to mean support in much of the online world. So please, if you agree with me that black women deserve better treatment, don't click that link.

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    1. In the video, he claims "When I call you my B*tch.."

      I don't know how I missed this...

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    2. Yes, it was loud and clear in there. I can see how the lovey dovey visuals could distract a girl, but I heard it and I stopped playing the vid from that second onward. I'm not having that.

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    3. Rapper Nikko Dator has a seriously foul mouth. Pretty much all his music sounds like this, which is a shame because he's got skills.

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  6. Joyful,

    Thanks for telling us about that. ugh! I just cannot stand it when a man refers to women as the "b" word no matter who it is. I don't care what race you are, never refer to me as that word.

    That really pisses me off! The more I sit here and think about all of this hard core hip-hop music, the more angry I get at the music execs and the rappers that rap it. They are giving men like Nikko permission to disrespect us like that.I'm not a "B", I'm a Black woman who want to be seen as that. No, I do not appreciate that at all! I'm glad it's gone!

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  7. Is Blasian becoming a pattern with Omarion? Hasn’t he also collaborated with some K-pop groups?

    I was pleasantly surprised by the video, too. Kumi and Omarion manage to convey mutual attraction and affection while wholly avoiding the stale, clichéd sexuality proffered in most pop music video fare. It’s actually playful and sweet.

    Perhaps this is a derail—it’s not music video imagery, and it’s Korean hip-hop rather than J-pop—but it seems like a Blasiany expression of affection, and therefore, at least tangentially related. Apologies if this should go elsewhere, but your post made me recall this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCtOABkUkUM&feature=channel_video_title

    Two questions:
    1.Has anyone heard this?
    2.Is anyone’s Korean worth a damn?

    Because Mr. Rhyme-A has kinda piqued my curiosity.

    I have no clue what this man is saying, but it certainly seems like he’s trying to express something approximating…admiration or affection?
    And while I guess it could be some elaborate metaphor, or he could be talking about a Korean woman with a really deep tan?, his subject seems pretty obvious to me.

    And again, it’s in Korean. So we can pretty safely infer the intended audience.

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    1. I don't know about Omarion collaborating with any K-pop groups.

      Kumi and Omarion manage to convey mutual attraction and affection while wholly avoiding the stale, clichéd sexuality proffered in most pop music video fare. It’s actually playful and sweet.

      Yes! I loved the playful and sweet nature of the video as well!

      As for the video you linked to and your questions. 1) No I haven't heard this. 2) I can speak enough Korean to deal with most situations if I were to visit South Korea as a tourist.

      I haven't watched the video yet but the title does pique my curiosity as well.

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    2. Rain had a song with Omarion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X10u3jbwLAA
      When Omarion went to Korea a few years ago he invited BEAST on stage with him, their are fancams but no official collabs.

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  8. Toshi Kubota seems to have Black female love interests in some of his videos (see: Breaking Through, Nothing But Your Love (kind of), and Masquerade (kind of)). I don't frequent the Narrative, but I think Ankhesen mentioned him in one of her stories.

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  9. Have you seen S-Word(J-hiphop artist) MV that he did with Christina Millian. The song is called The Answer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToGtApLN9Ek

    I think you can put Jin Akanishi(past member of KAT-TUN) MV Test Drive ft.Jason Derulo in this list. He is flirting with many girls in the video(black and white)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eK6vPdsWcy0

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    1. Ooh thanks for that link! I don't recall seeing any Black ladies in Jin Akanishi's video, interesting...I'm more interested in videos meant for local markets.

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