Asian-Americans Make Their Powerful Presence Known on YouTube

It’s more than likely that Asian characters are not super abundant on your living room’s TV screen. Well, that’s only if your TV still doesn’t connect to the internet. The New York Times is reporting that a new generation of Asian Americans is finding its voice on YouTube.

Among the most popular channels on the YT (get it together people!) are three whose owners are Asian American. Broadcasting all the way from Sin City, Ryan Higa has so far accumulated twenty-one years and 4.1 million channel subscribers. Ryan is Japanese American. Just what is he putting out on the Tube? A sketch comedy show. He only just recently lost the top spot as the channel with the most subscribers.

Not too far behind Higa is Michelle Phan. She’s twenty-four, Vietnamese American, lives in L.A. and has 1.5 subscribers on her makeup tutorial channel. Some other benefits she’s reaped from her YouTube fame? She obtained a position as a Lancôme spokeswoman after making it big on YouTube; before her internet star shot up Lancôme had the audacity to refuse to take her on to work glassy makeup counters.

What’s to account for the popularity of Asian Americans online? Professor Kent A. Ono told the NYT that it might have something to do with the fact that the Pew Research Center is reporting that Asian Americans are the demographic group with the most pronounced use of the internet: in 2010, 87 percent went online.

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