Jikejunyi sings “Song of the heart”

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Is the use of her Yi-background a sign of increasing acceptance or exotification?

The Voice of China’s Jikejunyi released another pretty MV,  A (new) song of the heart,  although there’s still no news of an album.   Apparently she signed under Tian Hao Entertainment (HIT-5, S.P.Y., Kym Jin Sha, Hou Xian), which means we should expect a duet when the album does come out.

Watch the MV below from fountainpark723@YouTube

When I saw this MV, my gut reaction was that it’s exotifying her.  But on the other hand, if it’s the way that she wants to be presented.  We often find it problematic when people sell themselves with their culture.  Yet in Asia and elsewhere, many minorities try to use themselves to sell their culture in Asia. For example, I always feel kind of uneasy when people dress up as another ethnicity, but when that action is often prompted by people of that ethnicity who are trying to publicize their culture,  how  can you draw the line?  Anyways, I don’t really have conclusive answers and I’m curious about your thoughts.

14 thoughts on “Jikejunyi sings “Song of the heart”

  1. Don’t we as individuals get to celebrate our own backgrounds as part of the human race? Please keep in mind that enforced linguistic conformity is/has been actively practiced in China. Only time will tell whether these expressions are exoticism or political statements.

    • Well, she “is” an ethnic minority (Yi, from Sichuan). I don’t know if she tans or not, but there has been a recent, albeit not very mainstream, trend of tanning among younger women.

  2. …”vioce of china” -____-
    is there a non-acceptance of minorities in China? feels like exotification to me…:S

    • Minorities tend to be exotified somewhat in China, but it depends on the ethnicity. Southern groups (e.g., Miao) tend to be portrayed as very feminine, almost sexualised, whereas Northern groups (e.g., Mongols) typically get the more rugged, masculine treatment. And some ethnicities, like the Manchu, often aren’t seen as being much different from the Han majority at all.
      Jike Junyi’s image certainly plays to the Southern stereotype in this case. In the Voice of China, she wore the silver earrings and began her audition singing in her local dialect, so I kind of get the feeling that she’s not adverse to playing it up. At the same time, I can’t tell if that’s her own decision or if it comes from the producers…

      • I personally don’t like the exotifying of chinese ethnic minorities. It brings in tension, separatism, and other stuff. The Foreign nations that bear China no good will use this to split up China to weaken it. We need to stop exotifying Chinese minorities and start treating them like any other Han Chinese. In America, no ethnic minority goes on TV and go all like “Hi, I’m paraguayan-American or I’m German-American.” People just don’t even care or ask. Until China can reach to that point with its most far fetched minorities like the tibetans, uyghurs, mongols, etc., the country will always be unstable and carry a lot of ethnic tensions and independence movements.

        • While ethnicity is obviously a big issue, there’s a thin line between not exotifying a group and repressing culture. A lot of people say where they’re from not because they’re required to, but because they want people to know. Minority culture, and traditional Han Chinese culture, are both constantly facing cultural assimilation that erodes what many may consider important. And to a lot of people, they wear traditional elements or introduce themselves as a certain culture because they want others to be reminded. (ex. Buren Baya’er’s campaign to promote Ewenki culture)
          It’s also hard for China because there’s a need to allow these cultures to thrive and to educate people more about them, but it’s very easy to stereotype minority cultures in the process. Yet if the government stops promoting stuff like this (minority dances and songs), they run the risk of them dying out/being accused of killing minority culture.
          P.S. People ask me where I’m from all the time in America … or worse, they just assume a random Asian race for me and make inappropriate comments like, “you must like XXX because you’re XXX.”

          • That’s one of China’s biggest weakness. Countries with more homogeneous populations face much less ethnic tensions and less of a threat of separatism and national security. Too bad China is such a needle in the eye to some foreign countries and this ethnic diversity which should be a blessing to China becomes a curse too as other countries use these minorities to separate China.

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