Cover Girl: A Gift from God
Dalena is a blond-haired, blue-eyed, all-American white woman who is also a Vietnamese American pop star. A gift from God, she possesses the uncanny ability to sing in perfect Vietnamese. She mimics its beautiful cadences and difficult tones and imbues the songs with her unique melancholy style. Using clips from music videos, concert performances, and actual interviews, Hoang’s video resists a simple dismissal of Dalena as yet another instance of cultural appropriation. He rather suggests that within the context of Vietnamese American musical production and consumption, a context marked by a recycling of pre-1975 repertoires, the novelty and innovation of the star-text ‘Dalena’ allow overseas Vietnamese music fans to negotiate the pressures of assimilation and reflect their desire to preserve a memory of what it means to be Vietnamese while living in America.
US 2000, Video, 18 min, OF