Eminent Person – Jimmy Wong

For the Eminent Person project, I have chosen YouTube musician and actor James Wong, better known as Jimmy Wong. Initially, I was considering doing other musicians, such as Thomas Bangalter (One half of the French techno-house group Daft Punk), or even his brother Freddie Wong, a filmmaker, actor, and special effects technician who also operates primarily on YouTube. But in the end, I decided on Jimmy.

YouTube musician and actor, Jimmy Wong

On his main account, Wong does covers of popular music, as well as some original songs. He plays guitar, bass, drums, piano, and can sing acapella, allowing him to record tracks separately and then layer them together, effectively becoming a one man band for his solo covers. A good example of his skill is this video of an acapella performance of the Super Mario theme.

I picked Jimmy Wong not only because of his talent, but also because of his fundamentals and morals. Last year, he responded to a racist UCLA student complaining about Aisans in an ironic, sarcastic love song going out to the all-American girl. Where many would have surged into self-righteous anger, Jimmy simply made a joke of it, not stooping to her level. In 2011, Wong addressed the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. At the end of several of his music  videos (most having several hundred thousand views), he encouraged anyone to donate money on the Mario Bros. video seen above, a song which he performed solely to raise awareness, and funds.  He is a supporter of the LGBT community, accepting of all races, and, unlike many YouTube stars, is accessible. Despite having over two hundred thousand subscribers, Wong responds to many, if not all comments on his videos. Having actually spoken to him online, I have selected partially because I am confident that I can secure an interview with him.

I feel that choosing Jimmy as my eminent person relates to my word, sonder, because often, when an indivual is famous enough, they seem to be almost another species, like some sort of super-human so high above you that they seem completely unaccessible. Jimmy Wong remains humble despite his online following, and responds to most comments. It can be hard to remember that celebrities are still human (even if some are more plastic than flesh), that they have their own lives, obstacles. With Jimmy, however, I feel sonder, because his real life is so visible, and his videos are a window into his life, which is shockingly more like mine, than I ever would have thought.

Over the course of the next month or so, I’m looking forward to the project, no matter what the grade 10’s say!