The American music industry has traditionally ostracized Asian-American artists and left them out of the mainstream scene, making it hard for them to find success in the West. For example, ‘Like a G6’ by Far East Movement took over the charts in 2010, earning them the title of first Asian-American group to hit the No.1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100. Despite all the members being of Asian descent but born and raised in LA, they encountered racism not only on social media but also by music executives who told them they were too difficult to market as they seemed to be a one-hit wonder. On the verge of quitting the music industry, they ventured into Asia and discovered the potential for artists there. Asian music artists may not be known around the world, but they are very popular within the continent and can garner hundreds of millions of views without needing to appeal to the Western market. As a result, many Asian-American artists are shifting their focus to the Asian market.

The lack of visibility for Asian-American artists is evident as many prominent artists tend to hide their Asian heritage. Bruno Mars, Tyga, Nicole Scherzinger and Hailee Steinfeld are all mixed-race Asians, but these are not widely known facts. Nevertheless, the success of Asian music collectively rising in recent years – clearly reflected as Rich Brian, NIKI, Joji, etc. gained popularity – may be changing the scene in the US as they are now entering the mainstream music industry. Their productions have reached Western audiences and they are bridging the gap between the East and West through music.

K-pop is also making a difference in how racism against Asians in the industry has played out and arguably decreased. The rising popularity of K-pop over the past decade has allowed it to now emerge as a mainstream genre, with groups like BTS and Blackpink playing on the radio and holding sold-out concerts in major venues. However, racism they face in the West is not eliminated, including cases in music award nominations. Even though Canadian, British and Australian artists have been nominated for main awards, awards for artists of color have been separated into different categories like “urban,” “Latin,” “K-pop.” This marginalizes these genres and prevents them from becoming mainstream, thereby demonstrating that racism against Asians is still prevalent.