Black/Asian Hybridities

Multiracial Asian/Americans on The Voice

Authored by: Myra Washington

The Routledge Companion to Asian American Media

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  February  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138846012
eBook ISBN: 9781315727745
Adobe ISBN: 9781317540847


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In 2013–2014, mixed race Asian/American 1 and Black (Blasian) contestants were prominently featured on the popular singing competition show The Voice. Judith Hill, who until the show had been known mainly as a back-up singer for Michael Jackson, made it to the top eight on Season 4. Tessanne Chin, already popular in her home country of Jamaica, went on to win Season 5. Rarely have two Blasian women occupied the eyes and ears of a television audience on a weekly basis. On the contrary, Blasians have often suffered from exclusion and disavowal, particularly at the hands of other Asian/Americans. But we are now beginning to see a shift toward recognition and a sense of belonging. This visibility has been helped by the popularity of the term “Blasian,” as well as the rise of Blasian celebrities in popular culture. Yet, the experiences of celebrities like Hill and Chin are also rife with contradiction; they are often faced with criticisms and questions about their claims to racial authenticity, even as their abilities to negotiate multiple spaces and productively leverage their mixed race identities are simultaneously construed as a benefit (Dagbovie 2007).

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