Over the weekend, The New York Times highlighted the growing trend of Asian Americans in the arts and other non-“Model Minority” vocations to find their audience via non-traditional means – primarily through the Internet and YouTube:
Of the 20 most-subscribed-to channels on YouTube, which include series like College Humor Originals and Annoying Orange, three belong to Asian-Americans. Ryan Higa, 21, a Japanese-American comic who lives in Las Vegas, has 4.1 million subscribers to his channel, in which he melds sketch comedy and personal musings. … Michelle Phan, 24, a Vietnamese-American in Los Angeles, has 1.5 million followers, the most-subscribed channel of any woman, Asian or not, on YouTube. … Mr. [Kevin] Wu [KevJumba] has 1.8 million followers, making his YouTube channel the 12th most subscribed in history. “I’ll talk about things that Asians don’t like to talk about,” Mr. Wu said. “We’re a new breed of Asian-American, and I’m a representative of that.
This trend is highlighted in a new independent documentary, “Uploaded: The Asian American Movement,” which examines the rise of Asian Americans in nontraditional media, which is self-funded as well as funded through donations through Kickstarter.
Of course, if you’ve been a avid follower of 8Asians, you already know about Higa making tons of money via YouTube, Phan’s phenomenal success as a beauty guru, and funny man KevJumba and his and his father’s adventure on The Amazing Race. It’s no surprise that the Internet has been a democratizing force for Asian Americans who, according to Pew Research, are the most Internet connected demographic in the United States.