Represent! | Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Asian American YouTube stars promote voter registration

The musical group Far East Movement appears in a promotional video urging fans to vote.
The musical group Far East Movement appears in a promotional video urging fans to vote.
ISAtv/Jubilee Project/YouTube

Thirteen Asian American YouTube stars have joined for the "#TakeActionCampaign" online video in an effort to promote voter registration among young voters for the upcoming November elections.  

Musical group Far East Movement, local YouTube sensation Wong Fu Productions and YouTube comedian KevJumba are just a few of those featured in the video. Each has proven themself an internet star; Wong Fu Productions alone has collected over 194 million YouTube views. KevJumba has a total of more than 300 million.

Dan Matthews, a production director at ISAtv and one of the producers of the video, said its purpose is to reach out to the young Asian Americans who are devoted fans of the online celebrities and encourage them to vote.  

"I feel that it is our responsibility to show the Asian American audience and put something out there that shows that voting and getting educated is important," Matthews said. "Whoever they vote for, they need to be familiar with what is going on. We support the idea of voting ... the idea that they can take action." 

recent study by the National Asian American Survey found that Asian-Americans are among the most nonpartisan voters, and are largely undecided in this election. It also found they receive little attention from political parties and the media. 

"We have to set a good example by encouraging our community to vote and be counted in the elections," Philip Wang, Co-founder of Wong Fu Productions, said by email. "It'd be a shame to be overlooked by the government as well because we don't vote, which is something we as individuals do have control over."

"Asian Americans are becoming a wanted voting block, especially in the swing states, they could make a difference," Matthews said. "If politicians aren't paying attention now, it is going to happen and it's going to happen soon."

Matthews said social media has changed politics for good, though it's only just begun to reveal its potential influence. 

"Four years ago, social media was at play," he said. "But now people are truly harnessing its power during the election cycle. We know that young Asian Americans are online and consuming online video and social media. We know that that is a particular place we can make an impact."  

The effort is non-partisan, Matthews said. "We have a very diverse audience with people with many different backgrounds," he said. "What's most important is they inform themselves and get themselves educated." 

Asian American entertainment group ISAtv (International Secret Agents), Asian political action organizers at and filmmakers at The Jubilee Project produced the video. It's part of a larger campaign aimed at engaging and educating young voters called #TakeAction.  

"I think the #TakeAction Campaign will help to begin a dialogue for many young Asian Americans about voting and the political process," Jason Y. Lee, Co-founder of The Jubilee Project, said by email. "Unfortunately, in the Asian American community, political engagement is not something that is commonly taught or discussed. We hope that we can slowly change this mentality and get Asian Americans more engaged in the discussion."

This story has been updated


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