Photo courtesy of SookYeong at wordpress
More “T” music – as she is also known in the global R&B world, and her former name “TASHA.”
Her name is YOON MI RAE.
She’s not just a rapper. She encompasses R&B and balladry. She’s one of the best anywhere. She is the undisputed queen of Korean Black music.
There have been others like her in the past, in East Asia and Southeast Asia, who have been shunned and their lights never shone to the world. Now that the world seems readier, in many ways, while in some nations, including in Japan and other countries it is still slow and the repressed expressions of life and creativity live side-by-side. The empowering of “T” into the limelight is a path of empowerment. At the same time, it continues the sequestering of difference into entertainment and sports, which seems to now be the globally accepted places/spaces where multi-racial and bi-racial persons of Asian and/or black descent, can shine more. Even as there is a ‘shining,’ I have found in my own life and in talking to other blasians, the road is still steep. Endurance and commitment have to be nurtured, as many of the sub-cultures of identity and color and difference, do not completely accept, if at all. The glittering lights should not be seen a totally happy place, a place where we can say “oh now they’re fine, those poor people who have endured so much–now they can be somebody…” We can think that people have ‘found their paths’ but how much of that ‘path’ is a cornering, an act of survival? It is most certainly a freedom. But is freedom only freedom? What I point to is that freedom is small in relation to the spaces that are closed and which that ‘path’ is really a space that the oppressions don’t cover. It is a small escape hatch, if you will, while most of the dominant spaces still remain closed. It LETS DOMINANT SOCIETY off, disguising itself as: ‘see….we’re a ‘free and democratic society–we let EVERYONE find their path.” Is it THAT INDIVIDUAL’s path? In some ways, it was chosen by the structure of society FOR THEM/ for US. Freedom is most often, and increasingly and globally, an un-freedom created by dominant society.
How? What restrictions do the open spaces cover? How does this, then, assuage those who feel powerless or ignorant, to do much to intervene into the racist structures of our society. Music is an outlet and a place for survival, for many. But other spaces may close. And perhaps others may open.
At the same time…….as I have hinted at in my earlier post on ‘MULTI-RACIAL….Transnational Elitisms??” — it can also become a cover for assimilation into the middle class and the globalization of sameness and comfort and safety. It is a razor’s edge. Difference will then be subsumed under ‘YOU need to make it into the middle class–LOOK! I’ve done it. You have NOT arrived until you do it like I do….”
This is so often what it looks like. It’s painful. It is still a way of condescending against different lives and also classism. We must alleviate the fissures of class and domination, yet at the same time, not wish other communities and cultures to assimilate.
As one may become more visible, perhaps through openings in entertainment or sports, one then enters a whole other set of multiple oppressions to work on. It can become a choice. It is — SAD, enRAGING, and also a space for us to become privileged in our knowledge and resource-amassing– to struggle for empowerment and justice in the world. Having ARRIVED into middle-class positions, who want and have some access to higher elite resources and comforts, what do we do with it? Do we then, point to the lower again and become that which assimilates, condescends, wanting everything to be homogenized, the same, constricted, small, superior?
“T” or Tasha, invites us to enter into the boardroom of a mass society of marginalized and brutalized underclasses who are formed by those who have been born into their ‘natural’ class and use it to wield the power of assimilation and superiority –mostly through being unaware. It is not entirely only about RACE. It is also about gender. As a female and as bi-racial, and as dark-skinned, she has endured the lines through which dominance is activated in mainstream lives across the world. “T” invites us, first, to be conscious of that life.
If we hear the words, we can hear YOUR voice, no matter how wealthy or privileged. The whole world has internalized oppression. Even as we move up in socio-economic class, we can perhaps remember that there is so much within our lives and selves we GIVE UP and destroy in ORDER TO ARRIVE at that position. YES, we are all under the system. Those, like myself and T, have struggled in the racially-constructed oppressions. Perhaps even as socio-economically determined, adding another slew of intensities. Being sensitive in listening……we hope that this music does what it wants to do—–to NOT JUST understand an individual’s pain, but that individual pain most often comes from SOCIALLY-CONSTRUCTED and AGREED UPON and often INVISIBLE forms of oppression. And often not so invisible but invisible when we are too busy with our own individual concerns and not with policies, institutions and perceptions that hold it in place, even as individuals may become aware of how their own lives have been affected. How about an understanding of how most of us need to fight against, and transform all the myriad oppressions that make us slaves to them while we try to gain access to privileges.
Racism and sexism, heterosexism and classism, anti-semitism, able-ism and other isms are alive everywhere. “T” is asking for us to listen and FEEL something that we must fight together.
Blorean, Blasian, Korean, Black-American, African-American– sings of the vicissitudes of being biracial/multiracial in societies that shun and legitimate the shunning, through the silence of the majority–thus legitimizing and upholding the racist violence–including exclusion and physical and emotional abuse and brutality of the direct perpetrators. The loneliness and the will to survive go hand-in-hand– tremendous obstacles not understood by most. This torture applies to the various exclusions and the brutality of majorities and minorities within our own and against the ‘other’ in our world. The effects come to song.
I absolutely love this song “Memories” with lyrics below the video. It is mixed English and Korean. You can get an idea of her vocal abilities and style. T’s got it going on!
I also include more video songs and an INTERVIEW in ENGLISH below.
WONDER WOMAN – Here ‘T’ sings/raps about female empowerment !! She says: “Dem wonder, Dem wonderin’ but I’m nappy-headed illegal Rasta. YEAH!!
AS TIME GOES BY – a love-song ballad sung in English
TO MY LOVE – R&B ballad sung in Korean
INTERVIEW IN ENGLISH from 2002
EXCERPT from ‘MONSTER’ in English: