Brooklyn-based artist Ely Kim is getting buzzed about his latest video “Not Into Asian,” a direct response to the prejudice in mainstream gay community against Asians who, according to the Boston Edge, ” typically face a pronounced stigma marked by stereotypes of femininity, docility and exoticness at the hands of other, usually urban American gay men.” A campy cover of Thelma Houston’s gay anthem “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” Ely dons a beard and a lumberjack shirt (parodying American masculinity) and dances his heart out. Do you like him (this Asian) more this way—in the American male drag?
Well educated on both coasts (Art Center and Yale), Ely is certainly not unconscious of what he’s doing. He’s in Brooklyn for a reason. While he’s certainly no Kev Jumba or Ryan Higa, two Asian males, who have almost become Youtube establishments themselves, Ely is essentially an anti-thesis to the mainstream. Is it because he is Asian? Is it because he is queer? Or is it because he’s an artist?
Here’s his other amusing video “Ely Kim Presents: How to Lead a Phenomenal Life”:
His website and label is brilliantly named as “We Like Him” and he is a self-professed art director, dancer and healer. Certainly gay Asians do need quite a bit of healing… and maybe it’s finally a call for a messiah. Do we need a gay Asian messiah?
Ask Ely Kim.
He may just have the answer.