Rap Song Draws Chinese-American Protesters

By Hao Liu. Video by Shu Chen and Skylar Chen.
BU News Service

“Stop cultural violence!” shouted Wilson Lee, an older Chinese-American man. His shouts were echoed by more than 50 people in protest outside the House of Blues near Fenway Park on Wednesday evening.

It was the fourth Chinese-American protest against an African-American rapper, YG, whose song “Meet the Flockers” details how burglars broke into a Chinese family’s home. Previous protests took place in Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia. Protesters urged YG to apologize and for sites like YouTube to ban the song.

“We are very angry about the lyrics. It says you can rob Chinese families because they don’t believe in bank accounts, and you don’t need to be ashamed of it,” said Esther Lee, president of Chinese-American Citizens Alliance and wife of Wilson Lee.

Chinese-Americans and African-Americans are both minorities, her husband said, so they should respect each other.

“Chinese-Americans also took part in Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights March,” he said. “We supported African-Americans to fight against discrimination. Now we should maintain our solidarity.”

Supporters of YG said the song did not necessarily target the Chinese community. Tristen Prince, a fan attending YG’s concert Wednesday, a song may bear multiple interpretations, and what the protesters said was not YG’s true intention.

But Cliff Li, secretary general of the New Civil Rights Alliance, said he was worried about the song’s cultural influence. Li said the song describes crimes against the Chinese community as something “cool and funny,” which might could inspire discrimination in the minds of listeners.

Mr. Jones, of Cambridge, said he supported the protesters. He also said people were not supposed to find tolerance or “politically correct things” in YG’s songs.

“Many of his songs are about street life, gang life. He kills plenty of people in his songs,” Jones said.

Nick Davis, a teen who planned to attend YG’s concert, said songs about gang life are acceptable, but they should not be “racially offensive.” He said he and his four friends “got kicked out of the party” because they opposed the song.

On the White House’s website, a petition titled “Ban the song ‘Meet the Flockers’ from public media and investigate the legal responsibilities of YG” currently has more than 110,000 signatures.

“The whole song is very violent. And we just actually want to fight for safety,” Esther Lee said.

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