Thursday, October 19, 2017

AAPI Athletes: Jeremy Lin suffers what may be season-ending injury

IT LOOKS like the season is over for Jeremy Lin after crumbling to the basketball court and leaving the Brooklyn Nets' season-opening loss with a knee injury.

The team announced Thursday (Oct. 19) that Lin has been diagnosed with a ruptured patellar tendon of the right knee and is expected to miss the rest of 2017-18.

"Jeremy worked tremendously hard during the offseason and in training camp and was excited for the prospects of the team this season," Nets general manager Sean Marks said in a statement. "We feel awful that the injury will cost him the season, however our entire organization will be there to support Jeremy in every way possible throughout his recovery. Jeremy remains an important part of this team and will continue to contribute in a leadership role."

Lin landed awkwardly on a drive to the basket in the fourth quarter of the Nets' 140-131 loss to the Pacers on Wednesday night, and he immediately grabbed his knee, turned to the bench and said, "I'm done, I'm done," before wincing in pain.

This is the second straight year where Lin's season was cut shsort by an injury. Last year, his first with the Nets, he only played 36 games.

Lin was brought to the Nets two years ago to be the starting point guard and was a leader in the clubhouse. 

“The thing where he really sets the standard is his competitiveness," said coach Kenny Atkinson. "I think we’ll miss him from a competitive standpoint; I think we’ll miss him from a defensive standpoint and just his leadership example and understanding what the coaching staff wants. You’ve got to call it what it is. It’s a big blow.”

“We feel awful the injury will cost him the season, however, our entire organization will be there to support Jeremy in every way possible throughout his recovery,” Marks said in a statement announcing the diagnosis on Thursday.


TGIF Feature: Filipino American's sci-fi 'Geostorm' releases this weekend

Dean Devlin

DEAN DEVLIN is the latest Asian/American director/producer to helm a Hollywood blockbuster costing millions of dollars and tons of special effects.

Dean Devlin, who usually is the behind-the-scenes producer of movies like Independence Day or Gonzilla, has taken the director's chair for his latest effort Geostorm, which hits the screens Friday (Oct. 20).

In the last few years, a few AAPI directors have earned the opportunity to create havoc onscreen in big-budget films, including: Thor: Ragnorok, which will be released next month, was helmed by Taika Waititi of New Zealand; Justin Lin directed the well-received Star Trek Beyond; and Gemini Man, directed by Ang Lee was released earlier this month.

Geostorm is set in the near future where scientists have developed space stations that can manually control the weather, The hero, played by Gerard Butler is tasked with saving the day when the satellites go haywire, causing all kinds of natural disasters to be unleashed, creating a horrendously demolished planet.

Eath ends up resembling a three-vehicle pile-up of Devlin's other blockbusters San Andreas, The Day After Tomorrow and Independence Day. While not all critically acclaimed, Devlin's productions are wildly entertaining and end up making tons of money, which is why his latest venture reportedly cost $100 million.

Devlin started shooting in 2014, and it took two years to wrap filming. Responses of the test audiences were horrible so extensive script rewrites and additional scenes were shot to try and salvage the production.

Oct. 20 was picked as the release date prior to the natural disasters caused by Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey.

As reported by Mashable, the Geostorm tagline seems slightly distasteful in light of the hundreds of people killed by natural disasters of late, leading Warner Bros to release the following statement: “We want to be sensitive to everyone who are being [sic] and have been affected by the horrible storms, including families that may live in unaffected areas."

“I don’t think these weather conditions are going to get better on their own,” Devlin noted to Variety. “We used to call them the storm of the century but now we’re seeing what happens if we don’t act fast enough — and real human beings are suffering because of that. This is a popcorn movie but I do think the underlying message has never been more relevant.”

It is not all special effects and worldwide calamities for the Filipino/American director/producer. Devlin’s Electric Entertainment has acquired all North American rights for director Rob Reiner’s “LBJ,” starring Woody Harrelson as President Lyndon Johnson, which is set for general release Nov. 10.


Al Queda-inspired 'Chelsea bomber' found guilty

Ahmad Khan Rahimi during his trial.

THE SO-CALLED "CHELSEA BOMBER," who was acting as a one-man terrorist cell, was found guilty for the 2016 bombing in New York City, planting additional explosive devices throughout the city and New Jersey and firing on police officers.

On Oct. 16, a jury returned a guilty verdict against Ahmad Khan Rahimi, aka, “Ahmad Rahami,” 29, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, in Manhattan federal court on all eight counts of the Indictment, which charged him with offenses related to his execution and attempted execution of bombings in New York City on Sept. 17, 2016.  
The Afghanistan-born “Ahmad Khan Rahimi constructed bombs with high explosives and shrapnel to inflict maximum damage to innocent victims in multiple locations,” said Dana Boente, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security. 
“The defendant's bombs caused injuries to numerous people.  Thanks to outstanding investigative work, the defendant was identified and arrested before he could do any more harm," said Boente.
“On September 17, 2016, Ahmad Khan Rahimi attacked our country and our way of life,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim for the Southern District of New York.   
“Inspired by ISIS and al Qaeda, Rahimi planted and detonated bombs on the streets of Chelsea, in the heart of Manhattan, and in New Jersey, hoping to kill and maim as many innocent people as possible. 
"Today’s verdict is a victory for New York City, a victory for America in its fight against terror, and a victory for all who believe in the cause of justice.”
“Ahmed Rahimi deliberately placed two bombs on the streets of Chelsea in the dark of night with the intention of maiming and killing innocent New Yorkers enjoying a September Saturday night,” NY Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill.  “The fact that victims were not killed when one bomb exploded and another failed to detonate is miraculous.  
As set forth in the Complaint, Indictment and the evidence presented at trial:
On Sept. 17, 2016, Rahimi transported two improvised explosive devices from New Jersey to New York, New York.  Rahimi placed one of the devices in the vicinity of 135 West 23rd Street in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York (the “23rd Street Bomb”) and the other in the vicinity of 131 West 27th Street in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York (the “27th Street Bomb”). 
Ahmad Khan Rahimi was seen leaving the scene of one of his bombing targets.

Around 8:30 p.m., the 23rd Street Bomb – containing a high explosive main charge – detonated, causing injuries to over 30 people and multimillion-dollar property damage across a 650-foot crime scene.  
The explosive components appear to have been placed inside a pressure cooker and left near a dumpster.  The explosion propelled a more-than-one-hundred-pound dumpster – which was introduced as an exhibit at trial – more than 120 feet.  The blast shattered windows as far as approximately 400 feet from the blast site and, vertically, more than three stories high. 
Shortly after the 23rd Street Bomb detonated, the 27th Street Bomb was identified by a civilian who promptly called 911, which recorded call was introduced in evidence and played at trial.  The 27th Street Bomb, which was rendered safe prior to detonation, consisted of, among other things, a pressure cooker connected with wires to a cellular telephone (likely to function as a timer) and packaged with an explosive main charge, ball bearings and steel nuts. 
Earlier that day, at approximately 9:35 a.m. on Sept. 17, 2016, another improvised explosive device, which had been planted by Rahimi in the early morning hours, detonated in the vicinity of Seaside Park, New Jersey, along the route for the Seaside Semper Five Marine Corps Charity 5K race.  The start of the race – which was scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. – was delayed.  Had the race started on time, the bomb would have detonated as runners were passing by where Rahimi had planted it. 
On Sept. 18, 2016, at approximately 8:40 p.m., six additional improvised explosive devices that Rahimi also planted were found inside a backpack located at the entrance to the New Jersey Transit station in Elizabeth.  One of these devices detonated as law enforcement used a robot to defuse it.
The next morning, Rahimi was arrested by police in Linden, New Jersey.  Rahimi fired multiple shots at police, striking and injuring multiple police officers before he was himself shot, subdued and placed under arrest.  
In the course of Rahimi’s arrest, a handwritten journal was recovered from Rahimi’s person.  Written in the journal were, among other things, mentions of explosive devices (including “The sounds of bombs will be heard in the streets” and “Bombs set off in the streets they plan to run a mile”),  and praised Usama Bin Laden, the former leader of al Qaeda, Anwar al-Awlaki, a former senior leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Mohammed al-Adnani, a former senior leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham and Nidal Hasan, who shot and killed 13 people in Foot Hood, Texas.
Rahimi, who faces mandatory sentence of life in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 18, 2018.

It took a while, but 'Pretty Little Liars'' Shay Mitchell embraces her Filipina heritage

Shay Mitchell loves 'You,' her new TV seeries.

SELF-HATRED is a common malady for people of color who grow up in a white environment.

Even someone who seems to have everything,  seemingly in control, like actress Shay Mitchell, has fallen into that trap as she admits in her Youtube channel.

Her mother is a Filipina and her father is Irish. Growing up in Canada, she felt the pressure to fit in to the extent of bleaching her hair blonde at one point in your life.

Mitchell, who just wound up a seven-year stint as Emily Fields in Pretty Little Liars is keeping herself busy with projects lined up.

The 30-year-old actress is hard at work on her upcoming Lifetime series, You, and she exclusively dished all about the psychological thriller to ET.

“It’s juicy… It still has all those elements that PLL had with it being sort of a mystery, there’s a romance part to it and it’s just exciting,” Mitchell explains. “It’s definitely going to have those elements. I think it’s a little bit more mature… It deals with a lot of crazy things like PLL did, but it’s a different storyline. If you loved PLL, you’re going to absolutely love You."

RELATED: 'Pretty Little Liars' actress' tearful farewell 
Ýou is based on Caroline Kepnes’ best-selling novel of the same name, and Mitchell says following up her seven-season run on Freeform with another show based on a book is a major plus.

“I’ve had good luck with that in the past, and it’s just a show that I would be so excited to watch, whether I was on it or not,” she says. “It’s gonna stay fairly close (to the book) I'd say, the same way that we did with PLL. There’s a common thread from the book that goes into the show and I think the same is true for You.”

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Second U.S. district court denies Trump travel ban

Judge Theodore Chuang

ANOTHER ASIAN/AMERICAN judge has blocked parts of DonaldTrump's most recent attempt to impose broad limits on who can enter the U.S., granting a motion for a preliminary injunction that was filed by plaintiffs led by the International Refugee Assistance Project.

In Maryland, federal District Judge Theodore Chuang is the second Asian/American judge to render a decision thwarting the launch of Trump's latest attempt to restrict travel from six predominantly Muslim countries. Trump's latest version of the travel ban was supposed to take effect today (Oct. 18).

The plaintiffs "have established that they are likely to succeed on the merits," Chuang wrote in the Tuesday order in dealing another setback to the Trump administration's attempt to ban travel to the U.S. by citizens of certain countries.

Chuang said the plaintiffs "are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of injunctive relief, and that the balance of the equities and the public interest favor an injunction."

RELATED: Hawaii court stymies Trump's newest travel ban
The judge's order was filed one day before Trump's ban was set to take effect. It follows a similar order Tuesday from Federal Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii in a related case.

“The third defeat of Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban is a crucial victory for millions across the country," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., "I’m glad to see Judges Watson and Chuang block this state-sanctioned hate, but our fight for justice continues. These Muslim bans underline Trump’s hardheaded crusade for xenophobic policies that demonize, otherize and vilify millions of people.

In his 91-page order, the Taiwanese/American judge cited the president's tweets and statements as evidence the third version of the policy carried the same intent as the Muslim ban Trump backed on the campaign trail.

"To the extent that the Government might have provided additional evidence to establish that national security is now the primary purpose for the travel ban, it has not done so," the judge wrote. "Of course, even if such evidence was forthcoming, its value in obviating the taint of the earlier Executive Orders would be limited."

The court also ruled that the inclusion of North Korea and Venenzuela was "window dressing" in an attempt to disguise the real intent of the ban. The court further explained that a person with “common sense” would see this ban as “the latest incarnation of the ‘Muslim ban’ originally promised by President Trump as a candidate for the presidency.”

Recent positive statements by Trump about Islam did not repudiate Trump's prior statements about imposting a Muslim ban. Any doubt about the president’s continuing message of intolerance and condemnation was dispelled in August, when he invoked a false historical anecdote to endorse an urban legend that never occurred during the Philippine-American War when U.S. troops in the Philippines used   “shooting Muslims with bullets dipped in pig’s blood” to dissuade the rebel resistance.

The Maryland court held that the new ban, like the earlier versions, violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. That clause requires the government to remain neutral among religions and prohibits official condemnation of people because of their religion. The court explained that the new ban is “the inextricable re-animation of the twice-enjoined Muslim ban.” In fact, it is even worse: The prior versions were temporary, but this one is open-ended and could eventually be permanent.

Finally, as the Maryland and Hawaii courts explained, the proposed travel restrictions adopt nationality-based discrimination for people seeking green cards, even though Congress has specifically banned that discrimination.

UPDATED: Oct. 18, 11 p.m.

Court stymies launch of Trump's newest travel ban

Federal Judge Derrick Watson (left) and Hawaii's Attorney General Doug Chin.

HAWAII IS WOKE! Late Tuesday (Oct. 17), mere hours before it was set to take effect, a federal judge in Hawaii blocked most of President Donald Trump's latest travel ban Tuesday.

The temporary restraining order by U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson will most certainly place the Hawaiian judge and Hawaii's Attorney General Doug Chin in Donald Trump's Twitter crosshairs.

"This is the third time Hawaii has gone to court to stop President Trump from issuing a travel ban that discriminates against people based on their nation of origin or religion," Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin said in a statement. "Today is another victory for the rule of law."

In his 40-page decision, the Hawaii-born Watson wrote that the newest attempt to impose travel restrictions "suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor."

The third Trump-inspired travel ban announced in September and set to go into effect early Wednesday, would have restricted travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, along with some Venezuelan government officials and their families.
“The American Muslim community is heartened by the district court’s decision to block the Trump Administration's racist and xenophobic agenda," said Zahra Biloo of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). "It is our hope that Muslim Ban 3.0 will be the last iteration of an unconstitutional policy that hurts communities across our country. We will continue to fight until this ban, and all anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant policies are repealed.”

The latest version of the travel ban "plainly discriminates based on nationality in the manner that the 9th Circuit has found antithetical to ... the founding principles of this nation," Watson ruled. His decision would not affect any restrictions for Venezuela and North Korea.

"It exceeds the limits on the President's exclusion authority that have been recognized for nearly a century, by supplanting Congress's immigration policies with the President's own unilateral and indefinite ban," the challengers in Hawaii wrote of the new ban. "And it continues to effectuate the President's unrepudiated promise to exclude Muslims from the United States."

Watson wrote that the order did "not reveal why existing law is insufficient to address the President's described concerns" and that it was internally flawed - for example, by exempting Iraq from the banned list even though Iraq failed the U.S. government's security assessment.
Watson’s order is a temporary stop on the ban, while a lawsuit over the ins and outs of the legality of the ban will argued in coming months.
The ban is also being weighed in other courts.
In Maryland, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups are seeking to block the visa and entry restrictions. 

Washington state, Massachusetts, California, Oregon, New York and Maryland are challenging the order in front of the same federal judge in Seattle who struck down Trump’s initial ban in January.

That ban — aimed mostly at Muslim-majority countries — led to chaos, confusion and demonstrations at airports throughout the country and triggered several lawsuits, including one from Hawaii.

That led to the Trump administration revising the ban, which Hawaii challenged, and Watson agreed it discriminated on the basis of nationality and religion. A subsequent U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowed the administration to partially reinstate restrictions against Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and against all refugees.

Hawaii then successfully challenged the government’s definition of which relatives of people already living in the U.S. would be allowed into the country, and Watson ordered the list expanded.

"We hope that both the courts and Americans in general remember other moments in recent history where the government has systematically discriminated against specific groups of people, such as the internment of Japanese Americans and the Chinese Exclusion Act," said Aarti Kohli,of Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' team will produce new comedy featuring an Asian/American family

Award-winning Aline Brosh McKenna and Rene Gube will team up on a new project.
I DON'T WANT get too excited, but this is BIG NEWS!

Deadline reports that Rene Gube, one of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's writer and from time to time, plays lead character Josh Chan's spiritual advisor as hip priest Father Brah, is teaming up with CEG's co-creator/showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna to work on prospective series Big Men.

CBS TV Studios, where Brosh McKenna is under an overall deal, is the studio that has bought the series.

The premise for Big Men should draw an instant audience from Asian/Americans, especially Filipino/Americans, who are crazy about basketball. Written and executive produced by Brosh McKenna and Gube, Big Men centers on an Asian-American rookie pro basketball player who dreams of a baller lifestyle but standing in his way are his 13-year-old twin sisters whom he co-parents with his overbearing immigrant father. 

Although there are no current plans for Gube to act in the project, in an episode in CEG, Gube, as Fr. Brah, looked pretty comfortable around a basketball court as he he shot basketballs with Josh Chan.
Brosh McKenna co-created with star Rachel Bloom the hourlong musical comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, now in its third season on the CW. In the series, Josh Filipino/American actor Vincent Rodriguez, was cast as the romantic leading man, a rarity in Hollywood.

The show also made history when it featured Chan's Filipino/American family was in a Thanksgiving episode. Since then, the "family" has appeared several times in their recurring roles. 

Josh’s mom, Lourdes, is played by Amy Hill, whom Brosh McKenna remembered from working on a project together 20 years ago. Hill is half-Japanese, while the rest of Josh’s immediate family was played by Filipino/American actors: Alberto Issac was cast as his father (Joseph), and Tess Paras (a friend of Bloom’s she had wanted to cast for a while) and Coryn Mabalot play his sisters (Jayma and Jastenity, respectively).

The Chan family of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was the first Filipnon/American family introduced on U.S. television.

Gube was previously a writer and actor on TBS’s 
Ground Floor, where he told Vulture he sneaked his ethnicity into a script. “I fought all year to get one joke in that identified me as a Filipino person,” he said. “I saw how much that meant to Filipino people on Twitter, and I can relate because growing up, there was only Rob Schneider and Lou Diamond Phillips. 

"To have an opportunity to create a fully developed Filipino character, a male romantic lead, (for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) I’ve never seen that before, and I was super excited about that. It is a great opportunity to show a Filipino family on network television, and show how American that Filipino family truly is.”

Although the ethnicity of the family in Big Men hasn't been identified beyond being described as Asian/American, you can bet Gube will have something to say about that.

A letter to my loyal readers in Russia


I want to thank my Russian followers for their loyalty for reading my humble blog, Views From the Edge.

Once again, you have shown that my blog is interesting enough for you to seek it out. Your readership has spiked my numbers and I appreciate that. In fact, recent metrics indicate that, once again, you have outdone my readers from other countries, including those from the U.S.A. 

My blog's metrics show readers in Russia: 785 vs. readers in the U.S.: 777. Well done!

I'm still not certain why you Russians are attracted to my blog. Is there an interest in AAPI affairs? In the world of blogging, Views From the Edge is only a tiny, tiny blip with only a few hundred loyal readers every day. Other bloggers have larger and more influential audiences.
Reader metrics for Views From the Edge, Oct. 17, 2017

I only hope that as you Russian readers go through the Edge that you realize that it is only through the U.S. Constitution that I have the right to express my views even if at times, they are critical of this country and its leaders. 

RELATED: Why are Russian readers reading my blog?
From what I have read, citizens of Russia do not have that same guarantee. Some of the leading opponents of your president have been jailed or killed for expressing critical views of Vladimir Putin.

In case you haven't heard, here are just 10 of your fellow citizens  that we know of 
who have suffered that fate:  Boris Nemtsov, Boris Berezovsky, Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova, Sergei Magnitsky, Natalia Estemirova, Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko, Sergei Yushenkov and Yuri Shchekochikhin.

You can read more about these Russian citizens, who died violently or in under suspicious circumstances, in this article by the Washington Post. I can't even count how many outspoken critics of Russia or Putin have been jailed or mysteriously disappeared.

I know my country is not perfect. (And since you consistently read Views From the Edge, you know that too.) There are a lot of shortcomings that the Edge points out, especially in regards to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the abuse of America's economic system by the wealthy elite, the health care system needs improvement to care for more of our citizens at an affordable price, the inequality and injustice that exists in some of its institutions, the privileges accorded to its white citizens ... oh, I can go on and on.

But, thank goodness that I can point out these imperfections without fear of being jailed or disappeared.

I can continue to encourage others to work towards making America a better country by living up to its ideals or bring attention to issues that the mainstream media tends to ignore.  In my little way, I like to think I can help build up the country to the values it likes to espouse instead of tearing it down.

As you report the contents of this blog to your superiors, (I hope they enjoy all the pop culture references.) Someday I would like to think that you and your countrymen will be able to speak up against inequalities that exist in your country, its foreign policy that includes interfering with the U.S. elections, how your country is fostering the racial divisions in my country and the exorbitant wealth being accumulated by Putin and his cronies.

Ordinary citizens in both of our countries, like you and me, must take a stand, speak up, vote out the crooked politicians and fight for basic human rights. At the very least, can you please tell your hackers to stop interfering with our elections? We are very capable of screwing up our own country, thank you, without the assistance of Putin's computer people.

Apparently, I can't stop Russian readers from checking in, for whatever reason. Blogspot appears to be unable to do anything to stop views from Russia.  I only hope that your hackers are not using the Edge as a way to hack other systems. That's not very nice.

 Спасибо за прочтение

Even though your readership skews my metrics, thanks for putting Views From the Edge on your reading list (I think). I hope you learn something useful about my country and its people. God bless, America! (but, not Donald Trump) and God bless Russia (but not Putin).

Monday, October 16, 2017

Found bodies believed to be missing Asian American couple

Joseph Orbeso, left,  and Rachel Nguyen have been missing since July 28.

The bodies are believed to be Joseph Orbeso, 21, of Lakewood and Rachel Nguyen, 20, of Westminster.

Although the confirmation of the identities await an autopsy report and DNA tests, which could take up to several weeks, Gilbert Orbeso is certain they are his son and his son's girlfriend.

"I feel that we have closure and we know we found them. That was our main goal was to find them ... Hope they can rest in peace now," Gilbert Orbeso said.
The couple had been missing since July 28. Their car was found parked near the entrance to the Maze Loop trail, a 4.5 mile trail that winds through the desert rocks, shrubs and ravines and features several elevation changes as it winds through the remote canyon of the park.
In late July, the temperature reached over 100 degrees.
Sunday, Gilbert Orbeso was part of a search team exploring a wash a few miles from Maze Loop, where he found pieces of clothing, water bottles and food wrappers.
“We know we found them. That was our main goal, to find them,” said Gilbert Orbeso, who frequently joined the months-long search efforts that involved family members, friends, volunteers and law enforcement on the ground and in helicopters.
“I believed that I was going to find them. I didn’t know when, but I had my answer,” he told KESQ.

Jessica Sanchez took a knee at Raiders-Chargers game

Jessica Sanchez did a beautiful rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" before the NFL game between the
Oakland Raiders and L.A. Chargers last Sunday

By Louis Chan

SPEAKING IN A SOFT TONE, Filipina and Mexican American Jessica Sanchez took to Facebook to defend her decision to take a knee at the end of her performance of the National Anthem before the Oakland Raiders-Los Angeles Charges games in Oakland Sunday (Oct. 15).

The season 11 runner up on American Idol seemed unconfortable explaining her decision. She appeared to be speaking off the top of her head. The 22 year old spoke haltingly and struggled to find the words to explain her actions.

Sanchez went down on her knees while singing the words “home of the brave”at the end of the song.

Raiders Marshawn Lynch sat during the anthem, while Chargers Russell Okung raised his fist.

Sanchez told the Associated Press that Lynch said to her, “You did your thing girl.”

The singer described reaction to her protest as “crazy stuff on the internet.”

“I can’t sit here and help them understand why I did it…but it’s something I stand for and believe in,” she said on her Facebook post. “I don’t know. I’ve always been quiet about how I felt and my opinions about things like this, like big things like this.”

She explained that she did not mean to be disrespectful.

“I was not,” she said while holding her hand to her heart.

“I don’t want to be quiet anymore. This is how I feel. It’s what I stand for. I encourage you guys, if you feel a certain way, don’t be afraid to be part of the conversation. Stand for what you believe in.”

This is not the first time Sanchez has gotten involved in a political issue, but it’s by far her most controversial. She released a song during the Presidential campaign in support of Hillary Clinton.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Samoan hotshots are a source of inspiration fighting California wildfires

The hotshots from America Samoa emerge from the forest.

ONE OF THE MANY AMAZING STORIES coming out of the devastating wildfires in northern California is the inspirational presence of the hotshots from American Samoa.

As the worst fire in California history continues to burn, firefighters have come from across the country and as far away as Australia to assist in controlling the fires that have claimed more than 40 lives and thousands of homes.

The crew of five veterans and 11 rookie firefighters from the National Park of American Samoa joined the Northern California wildfire force.
The Samoans were equipped with gear when they arrived in Redding, Calif., and they, in turn, said thanks with celebratory songs and a haka.

Later, a bone-chilling video captures the American Samoan hotshots coming down from the mountains after a hard days work. The video was filmed at the Helena-Fork Fire on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in northwest California.

It shows a trail coming out of the forest. In the distance you hear a song. Then, one by one in single file the fire crew emerges out of the dark forest sounding like a choir. With their strong, powerful, harmonizing voices it's a scenes that sends chills up the spine. 

They are singing a Christian hymn, acapella, in Samoan with some of the firefighters singing harmony. 
Even though you don't know the words, you can feel the power emanating from the men and women.

The video was posted Sept. 27, 2017 by Lori Light and has gone viral. The videographer said in his post on You Tube, “Take a break from the depressing national news and watch the best thing you will see today.”

Will Kumail Nanjiani's SNL gig break down stereotypes?

Kumail Nanjiani hosted "Saturday Night Live."
KUMAIL NANJIANI made the most of his stint as guest host on Saturday Night Live, last night (Oct. 14) let's hope it opens the doors for other Asian American performers.

He wasn't afraid to make the primarily white viewership a bit uncomfortable touching on topics other comedians have not gone:

  • He's Muslim;
  • He's an immigrant;
  • He married a white woman;
  • The Koran on women drivers;
  • Sikhs mistaken as Muslims

SNL has gotten so comfortable in the Trump era; it needs to shake things up, like having an Asian American hosting the venerable satiric show.

Nanjiani is the second Muslim and South Asian to host SNL after Aziz Ansari did the job earlier this year. In its 42-year old history, Lucy Liu and Jackie Chan are the only other two Asian Americans to do the show's  opening monologue and Samoan/American Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson did the job last May.

What?! SNL can't find any AAPI performers? Why hasn't Margaret Cho ever been called? Or, Ken Jeong? Or, Constance Wu? Or, Randall Park? All of the aforementioned entertainers have proven comedic acting resumes.

Is there a clause in the Comedy Central contracts that prevent's SNL from calling on Hasan Minhaj or Ronny Chieng?

Here's thinking out of the box: John Cho. Remember, he got his first big break starring as a stoner in the stereotype buster Harold & Kumar comedy franchise.

Since we' brought up Harold & Kumar, what about Cho's costar and fellow stoner Kal Penn, whose credentials include working in the White House.

Hailee Steinfeld and Vanessa Hudgens, both singers and actors, have proven themselves as more than capable hosts, doing the emcee chores for Billboard's Women in Music last year and the Billboard Music Awards this year respectively. Both have substantial fan bases  in that critical Millennial age bracket and they go beyond the just the Asian American community.

At any rate, let's hope that Nanjiani's and Ansari's successful stints opens some eyes at Saturday Night Live that AAPI performers can be funny, hip and express themselves beyond being "inscrutable."

Bruce Lee's dream project is coming to television

Andrew Koji and Olivia Cheng will head the Warrior cast

THE LATE BRUCE LEE's idea for about a martial arts expert in the Old West is on its way to becoming a TV series thanks to Justin Lin, who has been working on the project for four years.

“As Warrior comes together, I can’t help but feel the pride of correcting a wrong and helping bring Bruce Lee’s dream project to life,” Lin said. “We have assembled a cast of incredible actors from all over the world including our talented lead, Andrew Koji, an exciting discovery out of the UK. 

Cinemax has given a 10-episode straight-to-series order to 19th century crime drama titled Warrior, according to Deadline.  Inspired by the writings and work of martial arts icon Bruce Lee, the series is slated to begin production on Oct. 22 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Warrior is described as "a gritty, action-packed crime drama set during the brutal Tong Wars of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the second half of the 19th century. The series follows Ah Sahm, a martial arts prodigy who immigrates from China to San Francisco under mysterious circumstances, and becomes a hatchet man for one of Chinatown’s most powerful tongs (Chinese organized crime family)."

The cast includes Koji as Ah Sahm, a martial arts prodigy who travels from China to San Francisco and ends up becoming a hatchet man for the most powerful tong in Chinatown; Olivia Cheng as Ah Toy, Chinatown’s most accomplished courtesan and madame; Jason Tobin as Young Jun, the hard-partying son of a powerful tong boss; Dianne Doan as Mai Ling, a beautiful and ruthless Chinese woman who, through sheer force of will, has achieved a position of power in one of the tongs.

Justin Lin
The show was developed based on handwritten notes from Bruce Lee that were brought to light by his daughter, Shannon Lee.

“As a show that proudly bears the imprimatur of Bruce Lee, it’s our intention to deliver not only explosive martial arts action – which we will – but also a powerful and complex immigration drama that is as relevant today as it was in the 1870s,” Jonathan Tropper told Deadline in a statement.

“I’ve always admired Bruce Lee for his trailblazing efforts opening doors for Asians in entertainment and beyond,” said Lin. 

Growing up as a Bruce Lee fan, I've heard the stories that the martial artist had a concept for TV that would have starred Lee. As I heard the story, Hollywood decision makers didn't think U.S. audiences would accept an Asian leading man. As the story goes, Lee's concept was intriguing enough that someone "thought up" a show starring a white actor pretending to be Asian. The result was Kung Fu starring David Carradine.

“When Shannon shared with us her father’s writings: rich with Lee’s unique philosophies on life, and through a point of view rarely depicted on screen – Danielle and I knew that Perfect Storm had to make it," said Lin. 

“The martial arts genre a lot of times has been relegated to B-level action," said Lin, who is best known for his work the Fast and Furious franchise and Star Trek Beyond movie.  "And that’s not something we wanted to do. Going off of Bruce Lee’s original material, we wanted to build something that is character-driven, that has important themes and that also takes place in a part of American history that rarely gets talked about. That to me makes it something you haven’t seen before.”

A premiere date for Warrior has not been announced, but it’s expected to launch in late 2018/early 2019.