Cruel Healing of Onani Master Kurosawa and Tasha Reid
September 16, 2009
Reality can be harsh. Sometimes we lie to ourselves and pretend everything is ok. By doing so we betray and hurt ourselves. Of course, it’s possible to find your way and heal the wounds. But I never liked how mainstream movies sugar-coat its portrayal of this healing.
Take a popular Korean romantic comedy 100 Pounds Beauty for example. A pop idol lies to the public about having a plastic surgery done, eventually distancing herself away from friends and becoming everything she once hated. When she finally confesses to lying about her plastic surgery, she is greeted with encouragement from her fans, followed by a typically happy and romantic ending with that comforting sense of “everything is perfect now”.
I’m glad that’s not the kind of warm reception Kurosawa first got when he finally confessed to the class. Because the truth is that healing a scar takes time and there is no avoiding the pain. Like Lebbeus Woods once said, “healing is not an illusory or cosmetic process”. You must endure the pain.
So there you have it my whole life with all its memories
I’m trying to figure out, how to set all of my pain free
Sometimes I wish that I can turn the hands of time back, so I could
Rewrite the wrong and put my life back on the right track
Wake up to reality, trying to accept the way it is
They say that life’s not what you take, it’s your willingness to give
That’s why I wrote this song in hopes to heal the pain within
Cause after that I know that’s when my life truly begins
– Tasha, memories
So, I guess I wanted Onani Master Kurosawa as a lead in to my post on one of my favourite musicians. Tasha Reid (aka 윤미래, Yoon Mi-rae, Baby T, T) is a female half Korean/Black hip hop artist who is accepted by both minor and mainstream fans as the best Korean rapper. She’s also received well by international fans due to her fluency in English. If I had to name one significant trait of her songs, it is how she’s trying to heal herself.
She was once tried for drugs usage, just like several other hip hop artists at that time. It is generally accepted now by people that she was framed by those up in music industry and politics, who didn’t want the conservative society and music industry to be affected by their messages and unconventional styles. When she released her second album Gemini (which I think is brilliant) one year later, her previous record label sued her for tarnishing their reptutation by blaming her drugs incident one year ago. Eventually she disappeared from the music scene for 4 years, until she came back with another brilliant album Yoonmirae. Included in this album is the song Black Happiness, where she confesses to having had to put heavy make up to hide her black skin, and now proud to sing as a half korean/black.
In many ways, her songs are about fighting to find yourself in reality, and no longer indulging in comforting memories of the past and lies. Her words are biting and real, not comforting lies. Images she evoke are visceral, not dreamy illusions. She’s a fighter who survived against the corrupt politicians and industry, as well as people’s conservative and stereotypical perceptions, and risen to the top as Korea’s best rapper. So in her own words,
Hands up put’em high don’t let your gun cry
Don’t you put’em down low don’t let your passion die
Black Happiness subbed in English.
Soul Flower subbed in English.
Tears flow at knowing the truth
That the love I believed was eternal
Has stolen my heart and deceived my eyes
Ima pour all my pain on to da microphone
Cause the real self is that much more beautiful
And I become as strong as it is painful
The original Korean version of Memories.