I'm having this conversation on Twitter as we speak, but for those of you who don't do the tweet: Can you think of any Asian-American pop stars? So far the closest we've come, feels like, is Yoko Ono and William Hung (ouch). People named a string of Asians and part Asians in indie bands and whatnot (e.g., Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) plus some solo artists (e.g., Rachel Yamagata), but nobody who really crosses the fame threshold to qualify as a "pop star" per se. I'm thinking high-profile solo artists especially, like a Kelly Clarkson or even an M.I.A. (who, being South Asian, at least comes close). There are plenty of white pop stars (obvs), lots of black pop stars, even openly gay pop stars. But I can't think of any Asian American pop stars, like Chinese or Japanese or Korean men or women born in America. It ain't 'cause Asians don't like pop, or aren't musically inclined. What gives?
In general I think Asian Americans are weirdly underrepresented in U.S. pop culture. In college like, 30% of my friends & Romantic interests were Asian. I don't get why they're so frequently tokenized or missing completely from the landscape in TV, movies, etc.