Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Hot 97's Miss Jones Didn't Learn from Star and Buc Wild

DESIBLOG Tipsters have been buzzing all week about another racist, ignorant and insensitive incident from the hip-hop airwaves. In this case, Radio Jockey's (RJ's) from The Miss Jones in the Morning Show, on New Yorks popular Hip Hop Station, Hot 97, recorded and played on air, the "Tsunami Song," seriously mocking the hundreds of thousands of those who perished in the devastating tsunami this past December. Miss Info, an Asian-American co-host of the show did not participate, because, duh, she found the song to be extremely offensive. If you click here, you can here a verbal spat (that might give some insight into the intentions of the hosts that did participate) that Miss Info had with Miss Jones over the airing of the highly racist and insensitive song.

If you thought the Star and Buc Wild dialogue was offensive, you might want to skip the next paragraph. From the clip, it seems that the two other co-hosts Miss Jones, and Todd Lynn, recorded the song, with some of the lyrics as follows

..All at once you could hear the screaming ch*nks and no one was safe from the wave there were africans drowning, little chinamen swept away you could hear god laughing, "swim you b*tches swim"
So now you're screwed, it's the Tsunami
you better run or kiss your ass away, go find your mommy
I just saw her float by, a tree went through her head
and now the children will be sold to child slavery...

If you listen to the clip above you hear Miss Jones and co-host Todd Lynn launching into an abusive tirade against Miss Info for isolating herself and not participating. When Info voices her objection to the clip, Miss Jones tells Info she's only complaining because "you feel superior, probably because you're Asian." Then, at minute 3:37 on the mp3 file, you hear Todd Lynn say, "I'm gonna start shooting Asians."

Is there any humor in that?

Thus far outrage against the station and the show is muted, although there has been some press, and even a Hot 97/Miss Jones diss track by Asian MC Jin. To me, any reaction other than the firing of Miss Jones and Todd Lynn, is muted. Hot 97 issued a weak apology here, and according to the statement, Miss Jones in the Morning, along with her entire staff, have agreed to contribute one week’s pay to Tsunami Relief efforts.

To stay updated and to find out what you can do, go to hiphopmusic.com, where there is a list of emails for the show, the hosts, and advertisers. And as always, don't forget to include th FCC on your email list.

Some addresses for Hot 97's parent company, Emmis Broadcasting are below. The first is their head honcho Jeff Smulyan:

hiphopmusic.com suggests you not use the word "tsunami" in your email as it will probably get filtered

Don't forget to ask Hot 97 and its advertisers, how dare you compare a life to a weeks pay?

Links to radio clips taken from 3030radio.com where there is a screen shot of the Hot 97 website featuring the now-removed tsunami song link. Click here for a story on this from the New York Post, here for the asiansinmediawatch website, and here for the story from the Billboard radio monitor. The asiansinmedia website has a form letter/email that you can send.

Thanks Lisa, Vik and everyone else for alerting me to this.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Racing the Monsoon with Michael Douglas

Michael Douglas, yes Michael Douglas, was in Bombay recently gearing up for his role in the third installment of the action series which includes the "Romancing the Stone" and "Jewel of the Nile" films.

The Indian Express is reporting that Racing the Monsoon , which is being produced by Sahara One Motion Pictures and Percept Picture Company, will be shot entirely in India, mostly in Sahara’s sprawling ultra-luxury Amby Valley township, south of Mumbai. Douglas, also producer of the film, is trying to get the support of the Indian Railways as a major part of the film is centered on a diamond robbery in a train. None other than TMBWITW, Aishwarya Rai, is speculated as being his co-star.

I really hope Douglas isn't the first man Aishwarya has to kiss on the silver screen. Anyway, turns out Douglas, who has seen only "bits and pieces" of two Hindi films, both of them starring Rai, has some advice for the up-and-coming Indian film industry.

Michael Douglas confesses he’s “hardly a Bollywood expert,” but he has a theory about why Indian films don’t do well internationally. ‘‘I don’t know how you guys will take it, but I think you guys falter on script and structure,’’ said the 60-year-old Hollywood actor, in Mumbai to announce his next film. ‘‘Also, the Indian process that you guys have of actors doing many movies at one time doesn’t really benefit in the long run.’’

Smart guy that Michael Douglas.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Kal Penn to Appear in HBO's Six Feet Under

The TV Guide Insider is reporting that Kal Penn has landed a role in Six Feet Under's final season, that begins airing in June. Penn is slated to enter the show later in the season, and play one of Claire's (Lauren Ambrose) boyfriends, who, if you don't watch the show, tend to be of the off-kilter variety.

Turns out, SFU creator Alan Ball loved [Penn's] his goofy stoner flick, which costarred Off Centre's John Cho. "You really are offering me something on Six Feet based on the character of Kumar?" Penn asked in disbelief when Ball called. The honcho's reply? Yup.

But this is my favorite line from the article...

"So far Penn (who's no relation to Sean)..."

I don't know how someone would confuse the two.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Bombay Dreams is Heading to Bombay

The Indian Express is reporting that everyone's favorite Bollywood inspired Broadway musical will be heading to the city that named it, Bombay. The show, which did a lot better in the UK, than it did in New York, will be heading to Bombay before heading to China and Hong Kong.

A.R. Rahman, the genius behind some amazing Bollywood soundtracks and the music behind Bombay Dreams, sounded a bit annoyed by the response his show received in the States, suggesting that we Americans aren't as able to think outside of our culture.

‘‘Americans are always talking about their own culture, so they can never be at the receiving-end and accept something from outside,’’ he said, adding that the musical moved to America at the wrong time. ‘‘This was the time when Americans felt that Indians were stealing their jobs, though I’m not at all disappointed.’’

I wonder if Star and Buc Wild saw Bombay Dreams?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

ABC News takes a cue from 60 Minutes

This Friday, ABC's Nightline, one of the better known newsmagazines, will be doing a show highlighting, surprise, surprise, Bollywood. The episode, senior produced by Madhulika Sikka is dubbed as "an introduction to Bollywood for the novice," and will feature Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta, and of course, Bollywood crossover ottie-to-be, and oh yeah, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World (TMBWITW), Aishwarya Rai.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

And Now for Some Good Desi News coming out of Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that Lee Daniels, directod of the highly acclaimed film "The Woodsman," (starring Kevin Bacon) has cast a DESIBLOG favorite, Aishwarya Rai to star in his next film, a musical Ladies Night. Daniel's describes the film

"like 'Waiting to Exhale' meets 'Chicago' meets animation."
In addition to Rai, Daniels indicated that he has cast, Mo'Nique, Macy Gray, Missy Elliot, Alicia Keys,Mariah Carey, and Patti LaBelle and hopes to cast Beyonce as well.

Russell Peters to Perform in DC

Candian Desi comic Russell Peters, fresh of the Gurus of Comedy Tour, will be performing at (one of my) alma mater's Georgetown University on Friday, January 28. The show, part of Peter's Comic Relief Tour 2005, will be held in Gaston Hall, and wil benefit Hope's Tsunami Relief Fund. Tickets are $25 and are available here.

Power 99 Responds, Kind Of

I am not sure how acceptable of a solution this is, but because of the public outcry, emails, calls, and letters from all of you, not only has the hateful/racist/misogynist incident garnered some press attention from the likes of rediff.com, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the New York Daily news among various others, finally the station, has issued a tiny, tiny apology here.

Yes, below the fold, so make sure to scroll down. The initial punishment, which was later upgraded to an alleged one-day suspension, didn't even include an apology, and found fault only with a hapless "station employee" for placing the clip on the power 99 website. That guy, the public was told, would go to sensitivity training.

Are they serious? Is that all threatening to choke the eff out of someone calls for? And isn't the real problem, that Star and BucWild, Power 99, and clear channel feel that this kind of behavior is ok, on shock radio, and does not demand, at a minimum, some kind of monetary punishment for the DJ's? What I would really like to see is a call from the duo apologizing for call and apologizing to Tina, the phone center operator. I doubt that will happen. But, lets keep on pushing this issue for now, and not let up. It was only because of you all that things happened and light was shed on this event in the first place. Keep the letters, emails and complaints coming!

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Harold and Kumar Sign on for Two More

The Arizona Republic is reporting that both John Cho and Kal Penn have signed on for two more sequels to the wildly popular (at least with DESIBLOG), Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle film. The writing has begun on the first sequel with the internet rumors being correct, it is entitled "Harold and Kumar Go to Amsterdam."

Whether or not it's going to be made depends on the financial receipts from DVD sales and rentals," Kal Penn adds. "If you liked the movie, please rent or buy it - it'll assure that we'll bring you another one next year."

The film went on sale this past Tuesday-so heed Penn's advice and rent or buy it now. You can buy it from Amazon.com here.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Its Time to Reprazent!

A certain Philadelphia DJ has decided it is funny to threaten the call center employees that happen to be located in India. It seems that Philadelphia radio station Power 99 DJ's Star and Buc Wild, the wakeup crew, think it's funny to call a Indian call center worker and sexually and racially harass and abuse her ("dirty rat eater??"")).

STAR (morning DJ on Power 99): I was surprised when I got somebody on the line in East India… [on phone] This call has been outsourced to India?
STEENA: That’s right.
STAR: Well, ma’am, what the eff would you know about an American white girl’s — uh, uh — hair? And quick beads.
STEENA: Just to inform you, ma’am, we’re a national chain services company. And we’re just taking calls on the opposite…
STAR: Listen, bitch! Don’t get slick with the mouth! Don’t you get slick with me, bitch!
STEENA: Now if you continue to speak this language, I will disconnect the call.
STAR: Listen to me, you dirty rat eater. I’ll come out there and choke the eff out of you. (laughter)
STAR: You’re a filthy rat eater. I’m calling about my American six year old white girl [Star is black]. How dare you outsource my call? Get off the line, bitch! (laughter, applause)

It turns out, STAR, whose real name is Troi Torain is a hypocrite however, when it comes to racism. A couple of years ago, when JLO casually used the N word in one of her songs, Torain was up in arms, calling her "common Bronx trash." "I'm sure a lot of young Spanish kids use the N-word, but when you reach her level -- a level where you have a platform -- why is she using a word that's derogatory to blacks?" he told the Post. "If you're a so-called role model, don't spit in the face of African-Americans." Read the story here.

But, I guess it is ok to trash on Indians.

Read more about this from Sepia Mutiny here.

If you live in Philadelphia, listen to the show to find out who sponsors it, and call them to complain. We have to let them know that racism in any form is not ok. These guys should be unemployed for acting in such a crass and unprofessional manner.

And here is the radio stations info so that you can file a complaint.
Philadelphia, WUSL

Business line: 215.483.8900
Studio hotline (toll-free): 800.669.99FM
Studio hotline (local): 215.263.6699

Attention: Richard Lewis & Thea Mitchem
Power99 WUSL-FM
440 Domino Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19128

Director of Urban Programming/Program Director: Thea Mitchem
Music Director: Coka Lani
News & Public Affairs Director: Loraine Ballard Morrill

UPDATE To ensure something is done, I ask that all DESIBLOG readers listed to the clip, read the transcript and channel your outrage into an eloquent letter/email to the radio staion above, and to the FCC. I will paste a sample email below, similar to the email I sent the FCC and Chairman Michael Powell. The general complaint email address is fccinfo@fcc.gov, and Chairman Powell's is Michael.Powell@fcc.gov. Make sure you include both. And below is a sample email.

Dear Chairman Powell:

I would like to bring to your attention a gross violation of decency standards that recently occurred on a Philadelphia radio station. It has been brought to my attention that on a recent Star & Buc Wild morning show on Philadelphia's Power 99, Star, whose real name is Troi Torain, called and violently threatened the life of a call center employee in India. After a couple of days, the mp3 file of the phone call was removed from their website, but was captured and is available at the URL below. I am a champion of free speech, but when that speech becomes hateful, vulgar, and threatening, that is where I draw the line. http://www.edrants.com/_mp3/Power99_Call_to_India.mp3

It appears to me that the FCC should become involved, and at a minimum enact some sort of punishment for this clear violation of conduct, and racist and vulgar behavior, totally inappropriate for American radio. I am pasting a transcript of the phone conversation below. The call center employee's name is allegedly Steena.

STAR (morning DJ on Power 99): I was surprised when I got somebody on the line in East India… [on phone] This call has been outsourced to India?
STEENA: That’s right.
STAR: Well, ma’am, what the eff would you know about an American white girl’s — uh, uh — hair? And quick beads.
STEENA: Just to inform you, ma’am, we’re a national chain services company. And we’re just taking calls on the opposite…
STAR: Listen, bitch! Don’t get slick with the mouth! Don’t you get slick with me, bitch!
STEENA: Now if you continue to speak this language, I will disconnect the call.
STAR: Listen to me, you dirty rat eater. I’ll come out there and choke the eff out of you. (laughter)
STAR: You’re a filthy rat eater. I’m calling about my American six year old white girl [Star is black]. How dare you outsource my call? Get off the line, bitch! (laughter, applause)

Thank you for your attention in this matter, and I hope that something can be done to rectify this situation.

Sincerely Yours,

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The Apprentice's Raj to deliver Keynote Address at SASA

Yes folks, it is true. Raj Bhakta, one of my (and many other's) favorites, will be headlining this year's annual SASA conference. As if Gurinder Chadha, Saira Mohan, and Anish Shroff were not enouigh. Oh, and how I could I leave out fashion designerAnand Jon, the hordes of desi thugs and wannabee gangsters wreaking havoc in LA, and the threat of a hotel boycott from the list of enticements.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Desi joining the ranks of the British Royals

Rediff.com is reporting that Ella Gabriella, the daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, plans to marry her Indian boyfriend Aatish Taseer. Ella, 23, the 30th in line to the throne, was studying Spanish and English literature at Brown University, when she met 24-year-old Aatish, a Mumbai-born Sikh, who occasionally dresses up as Captain Condom to promote the importance of safe sex. Taseer's marriage to Lady Gabriella, both of whom are aspiring journalists, will certainly help to put to rest accusations of racism that have dogged her mother since she allegedly told a table of black diners in a Manhattan restaurant to "go back to the colonies" after they ignored her request to quiet down.

Maybe Taseer can do something to get all those items taken by the Brits from India returned. (The Padshahnama, The Kohinoor Diamond etc.))

Reminder: Aishwarya Rai on 60 Minutes Tonight!

Just a reminder in case you have not read/heard about this somewhere else already--Aishwarya Rai will be speaking with Bob Simon on 60 minutes tonight.

The story, which is apparently entitled "The World's Most Beautiful Woman?" will hopefully touch off some interest in the states for both Bride and Prejudice, which will release in the U.S. in February, but also for Ash herself, who is scheduled to appear in quite a few upcoming Hollywood films.
Once called the most beautiful woman in the world by Julia Roberts, Indian actress Aishwarya Rai is known almost everywhere but in the United States. Her fans have built 17,000 Web sites featuring her image, and a British magazine poll named her the world's most beautiful woman. Her beauty adorns the ad campaigns of brands like DeBeers diamonds, L'Oreal and Coca-Cola. Already the reigning queen of the Indian movie scene, or Bollywood, Rai is currently starring in a British movie called "Bride and Prejudice," which is based on the Jane Austen novel. It's directed by an Indian and contains elements of Indian and Western cinema. The film will be shown in the United States in early 2005.

60 minutes airs on CBS at 7 PM EST.