Locked in a tight battle for state senate, Supervisor Jane Kim is now seeking headlines in a campaign against a two-year-old music video that she says is "anti Asian-American."
In a press release sent out last night, the Supervisor alleges that the video for the song "Meet The Flockers" by Compton rapper YG encourages animosity between African American and Asian communities and promotes the targeting of Chinese for crimes. As such, Kim argues, YouTube should remove the video.
"The lyrics detail a step-by-step guide to carrying out a burglary," reads the press release. "Paired with the video’s imagery, which juxtaposes scenes of a home invasion with close-up visuals of weapons and framed photos of an Asian family, the message being sent is clear: Asian-American households are vulnerable, and make for ideal targets."
The song, which details a home robbery, may on the surface remind some of Kendrick Lamar's "The Art Of Peer Pressure." However, it is the description of an ideal victim — not the act of singing about crime itself — to which the Korean-American supervisor objects.
"First, you find a house and scope it out," the song instructs. "Find a Chinese neighborhood 'cause they don't believe in bank accounts."
YG, it should be noted, has served jail time for burglary.
While the video was uploaded to YouTube in May of 2014, a recent uptick in popularity (which in a "chicken or the egg" scenario may or may not be due to the controversy surrounding it) has prompted Kim to speak out.
“The lyricism and imagery of this video is deeply offensive to Chinese-Americans, and dismantles community-based efforts that seek to build positive race relations among African-Americans and Asian-Americans,” says Kim via press release.
And she's not alone. Fox 11 reports that Asian business owners have called the video "sickening and distasteful."
"Our demand is simple, Youtube and Vimeo must remove these videos in compliance with hate speech guideline for online content," Kim's press release reads. "We also call on DefJam Records and Rapper YG to denounce this song."
In addition, Oakland-based activist Eddy Zheng, who himself served time for a high-profile Chinatown home invasion committed when he was 16 years of age says that “YG's ignorant and hateful lyrics undermine the momentum the historical Black Lives Matter movement has generated to challenge systems of oppression and further isolates the Chinese and Asian American community."
Both Zheng and Kim say that "In the spirit of dialogue, we would like to invite YG and Def Jam to visit an SRO hotel in Chinatown, and engage Chinese families and activists."
Will the label and rapper take them up on their offer? It's, of course, too soon to tell: But we can only assume that YG is pleased with the recent controversy, as views on "Meet The Flockers" have as of publication exceeded a quarter million.