When the audio for “Waste It on Me” was released, no one would have thought that Steve Aoki would use his collaboration with BTS to make a powerful statement about Asian representation. Today, the artist revealed the music video for the single.
The audio debuted at No.1 in over 60 countries and as reported by the Billboard, “”Waste It On Me” debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 89 on the chart dated Nov. 10, after previously debuting on the Hot Electronic/Dance Songs chart, dated Nov. 3, at No. 11.”
The lip-sync video for the track features an all Asian-American cast including Ken Jeong, Devon Aoki, Jimmy O. Yang, Ross Butler, Jamie Chung, Leonardo Nam, Vincent Rodriguez III, among others. Instead of a fancy video or a mysterious concept, Aoki used his collaboration with BTS to showcase the aspects of a culture that are often ignored by mainstream media.
From the waiter to the DJ of the club (Aoki himself), the director has smartly placed the characters within the very same set up in which we usually find protagonists from the west. This seems to be a deliberate move on the part of the director as it makes a powerful point i.e, the space belongs to “everyone”.
While the video only features Asian-Americans, it is still a great move as it gives Asian people something to relate to. For a long time, ideals of Asian people, especially the teenagers, have been based on the characters placed in a culture they fail to relate to. By witnessing scenes comprising of people they can connect with on a “local” level, viewers get “visibility” that helps them validate their existence in the mainstream space.
Aoki’s video is an extension of what “Crazy Rich Asians” did and what Will Jay has been trying to emphasize on since his debut. Asian representation has been the hot topic of debate for several decades and artists from different Asian countries have worked hard to cement their place in the industry. By putting his characters in a “normal club scene”, Aoki has disrupted the idea of how people from Asia should be represented and in which roles.
The single that became ARMYs’ anthem and also a side topic of debate for BTS’ use of English has turned out to be the song that fans will remember for a long time. The song has already garnered 1 Million views on YouTube and the number seems to be increasing with every passing hour.
What do you think about the single? Share your thoughts via tweet @CelebMix.