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The pop culture you grew up with?

A Tumblr I follow posted this excerpt of an article by UK singer Emma-Lee Moss (aka Emmy the Great) and I found it pretty interesting:

...while living in the UK and the US, I have never shaken the part of me that resonates with Chinese-language music. Late at night, I find myself trawling YouTube for videos that I remember from my Hong Kong school days, like this Leon Lai hit. In karaoke, I will confound my friends by hacking the system and locating Dream Lover (a Cranberries cover by my particular favourite C-pop star, Faye Wong, from the soundtrack to Wong Kar Wai’s Chungking Express.

To me, C-pop brings up a mix of homesickness and pride, on which this Buzzfeed listicle is surprisingly spot on.

Record sales in mainland China are blighted by a deeply ingrained culture of piracy, so C-pop artists take pains to foster their public image for extra income, working as brand ambassadors, and in the globally successful Chinese film industry. As a result, loyalty to C-pop stars is usually slavish in nature. My own devotion for Faye Wong has roots from music, film and television specials from my childhood. To have nobody to share it with feels like keeping a part of myself locked up. Once, when I watched a Lily Allen interview filmed at the Anita Mui statue in Hong Kong, I cried, thinking that the two worlds I knew so well had finally collided.


That last sentence about two worlds really resonates with me. As a child, I grew up watching American television after school before my parents came home (we weren’t allowed to watch TV with them), and then would sneak downstairs to my grandparents (they lived in our finished basement) at night to be fed junk food (also not allowed) and watch Hong Kong TVB dramas with them. I had crushes on Lenoard DiCaprio AND Leon Lai of the “Four Heavenly Kings.” As I entered my teenaged years, I would be aware of Top 40 songs on the radio, but would go to Chinatown to buy my Faye Wong cds (yes, like Emmy, she is also my “idol”). To this day I still read English translated HK gossip sites along with Dirt Bag on the MP.

I liked feeling connected to this other world, one where the stars looked like me. And I was lucky enough to have family and Chinese friends who understood these things. In fact one of my best friends and I have been Faye fans together since I was 13. But I do find it interesting that I have this whole other formative popular landscape that I grew up with that a lot of (non Chinese) people just don’t know about.


One of the things I like about Jane the Virgin is that it also presents a different pop culture world of telenovelas, Latin music stars, etc. So it got me wondering, what pop culture did you grow up? Who else here has this feeling of “two worlds” in regards to your pop cultural landscape?

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