Embellished in rhinestones and absolutely dripping in swag, this troupe of vivacious 60-plus-year-old Asian grandmothers has gone viral for their anti-Asian hate rap song, "Gai Mou Sou Rap," that's now been performed IRL across the Bay Area — including today at San Francisco's Chinatown at Portsmouth Square.
The pandemic has unrooted deep-seated racism against Asian Americans, with both local and national reports showing hate crimes AAPI communities have increased as much as 150%. San Francisco, specifically, has over the past fourteen months seen elderly Asian Americans targeted — robbed, stabbed, shoved, and pushed to the ground. In an effort to further spotlight the issue, a group of San Francisco grandmothers is touring Chinatowns across the Bay Area, dishing out diss tracks denouncing the recent hate crimes against their communities.
As reported by ABC7, the gaggle of San Francisco grannies who make up the Capella/rap group The Grant Avenue Follies (a.k.a. the "Follies") can trace their friendships back to the 1950s, having started and evolved over time in the city's Chinatown. In addition to performing at the Rossmoor Senior Community in Walnut Creek, they've frequented other parts of the South Bay and East Bay; Saturday afternoon, the group again performed in San Francisco's Chinatown to close out AAPI Month.
The Follies' now widely viral music video — which was recorded at 25th Street Recording in Oakland, which was later featured on MTV's Facebook page — did, however, present a learning curve for the group. But the experience from performing in front of actual human beings and the feedback they’ve gotten from their pre-recorded video has been well received.
"They're responding and tuning in and loving it," says one of the members of the Follies. "Our message is don't mess with grandma and treat your elders with respect. It's a warning to the community, don't hurt grandma!"
So, where are they hoping to recite lyrics like "you degenerate, go to hell" next? The White House, of course.
The Grant Avenue Follies have also started a GoFundMe campaign to benefit San Francisco Chinatown's Clarion Performing Arts Center, the nonprofit that's been a home of the Follies to perform and rehearse; all donations will go toward supporting the art center's doings, as well as support the Follies' future endeavors.
Related: Asian Americans In SF and Elsewhere See New Wave Of Racist Attacks Stemming From Pandemic
Image: Screenshot via YouTube