*Opening night* Seattle Asian American Film Festival 2017
*Official selection* SIFF 1 Reel Film Festival at Bumbershoot 2017
*Official selection* Oregon Short Film Festival 2017
*Official selection* Asian Film Festival of Dallas 2017
*Official selection* Tacoma Film Festival 2017
*Official selection* DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon 2017
*Winner* Music Video/Spoken Word: Asians on Film Festival, Fall 2016
*Official selection* Seattle College and University Film Festival 2017
As a martial arts movie star, Bruce Lee dismissed his enemies with ease. But his greatest nemesis was never shown on screen. Seattle poet Troy Osaki channels the spirit of Lee to reveal the racism the actor faced in Hollywood. For much of his career, Lee was typecast and marginalized by movie studios — deemed unfit for leading roles. He had to move back to Asia to star in films and write and direct his own work.
Northwest Asian Weekly: http://bit.ly/nwasianweeklydragon
Troy Osaki (poem): firstname.lastname@example.org, @troyosaki
Quinn Russell Brown (video): email@example.com, @quinnrussellbrown
"Year of the Dragon"
By Troy Osaki
“And then a gang of villains
attacked you with an arsenal of sticks,
unaware of how axe blade you disarm your enemies.
Remember the way you splintered their weapons
like a sawmill of timber,
burning their wood into a blazing inferno?
Man, Enter the Dragon
is the GREATEST MARTIAL ARTS FILM OF ALL TIME!”
tourists visit my grave every week
forgetting I have not always breathed fire.
I have been scorched by it too.
Incinerated from American cinema,
I had to go back to where I came from
if I ever wanted to ignite
a dead flame from ash.
I began bodybuilding my network.
Flexed my muscles
into a mass of featured roles -
The Big Boss,
Fist of Fury.
Low budget productions
breaking the box office
into a cardio sweat of millions.
When I started gaining strength in my following
major Hollywood studios finally offered
to manifest my movies..
didn't risk investing in a Chinaman
until they confirmed
he could do the heavy lifting.
I heard all their excuses.
But I knew the reason
why they side stepped my fight scenes
was to avoid staining their screens
with slanted eyes.
I had to finger jab their vision
for America to see me correctly.
I exploded you to fame for a single genre,
introduced Kung Fu to the western hemisphere.
My footwork alone
When I push kicked my way
into America’s past time
I proved outsourcing
could become domestic.
My products earned you more profit
than you could ignore.
I commanded white families
to bow from their couches for me,
back fisted the doubt
out of every non-believer.
How could you expect me to not hit back?
To be a standing target
too passive for confrontation?
I refuse to be the Asian punching bag
every country boy can have his shot at.
America only wants me when I am useful -
a disposable body.
My fists are still a pickaxe
chiseling miles of railroads
across desert mountains.
Only now my knuckles
are a calculation of math class,
a myth of model minority
conceived to position people of color
against one another.
Maintain our communities in opposition
too exhausted to question:
who is controlling our power
in the first place?
Where I come from is not your property
you can exploit for your benefit.
I am not a land of resources
you can conquer to bleed out.
when I returned
to burn this industry
into a blazing inferno
you shouldn’t have been surprised
I was born in the year of the dragon.