by Henry Wong
Asian-Americans have called for a ban of the song “Meet the Flockers” by rapper and hip-hop artist, Keenon Daequan Ray Jackson, better known as YG. Asian-American protestors feel the song calls for violence against Chinese -Americans with lyrics like: “First, you find a house and scope it out. Find a Chinese neighborhood, cause they don’t believe in bank accounts . . . Meet the motherf—ing flockers . . . Make some noise if you’ve ever stole something in your life.”
YG claims the song is autobiographical and not a call for flocking, which is slang for robbing a home. Apparently, YG claims as a former gang member, he burglarized homes in Los Angeles and has done jail time for these crimes. His supporters say he is not inciting violence against Chinese-Americans at all but just portraying what gang culture is like.
“Meet the Flockers” was included in YG’s debut album My Crazy Life in 2014 and did not get much attention two years ago. It is the recent increases in robberies in Chinese communities in Philadelphia and Sacramento that have caused condemnation of this song by Asian watch groups. A particular robbery of a Chinese-American home in Atlanta, where a Chinese-American woman shot and killed one of the intruders, is seen as the spark that initiated widespread protesting and picketing against YG, especially during his current concert tour.
The controversy of censorship and questions of violating the First Amendment have certainly been raised. After YouTube was petitioned, the video for the song was removed. In addition, a petition, which has gotten more than 100,000 signatures and calls for the ban of the song from public media, has also been submitted to the White House, requiring the Obama administration to investigate and put out a response within 60 days.
A 2011 Pew Research Center study on social and demographic trends found that Asian-Americans make up 5.8% of the US population. Asian-Americans are now engaged in activism more than ever before as seen by protests of the manslaughter conviction of police officer Peter Liang, who was convicted of shooting an unarmed black man in 2014. The protests against YG have spurred Asian-Americans into action again causing the formation of groups like the New Civil Right Alliance.