Meet Filipino American Carlin James. He’s an actor known for his roles in TV series Dear White People (2017), Pretty Dudes (2016), and How to Get Away with Murder (2016). This time, James is playing a role that got everyone’s attention.
On Aug. 2, a YouTube video uploaded by independent content producer Wong Fu Productions made its way to Facebook and instantly became viral. As of this writing the 8-minute sketch has been viewed more than 2 million times on the popular video sharing site and 10 million views on Facebook.
Highlighting the lack of diversity in mainstream media and the absence of Asian faces on the American Bachelorette, the video imagines a version of the show in which (almost) all of the contestants are Asian.
In the parody, James plays Vince, a professional nurse who uses his flair for singing to win a woman’s heart. He’s among the Asian contestants that include a Chinese entrepreneur and an Indian dentist who, in his own words, “is here to represent brown town.”
As a response to Western society’s habit of desexualising Asian men, as well as a send-up of the ridiculous conventions of dating shows more generally, the video is bang on the money. They’ve even got the one token white guy complaining about not getting enough screen time.
“We made the video to poke fun at yet another example that Asian men aren’t viewed as desirable in mainstream media. We started joking that the only way an Asian guy was gonna make it past the first round [of The Bachelorette] is if they were all Asian. It is a joke but sometimes you just have to force it in people’s faces…and that’s when people’s minds open, hopefully,” Philip Wang from Wong Fu Productions said in an interview.