People jokingly mistake Naomi Osaka for Crystal Kay, and Crystal is TIRED

People jokingly mistake Naomi Osaka for Crystal Kay, and Crystal is TIRED | Random J Pop

I was going to mention this on my post of Coca-Cola's Coronalympics song "Colorful" where I did mention two of the ladies that this post is about, but I didn't want it to get lost in the shuffle and felt this was more than deserving of its own post.

So, the COVIDlympics have finally kicked off in Tokyo (much to the dismay of many in the land of the rising sun and COVID cases) and surprisingly, but not surprisingly, Naomi Osaka was given with the monumental honour of lighting the Olympic torch during the opening ceremony.

Naomi Osaka has shown herself to be an incredible sportsperson on and off court, and an all round inspirational person since she was thrust into the limelight following her win against Serena Williams at the US Open in 2018, which was a controversy in and of itself. But Naomi has navigated everything since with such grace and humility. Being a public figure is one thing, but to be somebody who is at an intersection which puts them on multiple front lines of scrutiny and attack is something different that Naomi has had to deal with. As a woman. As a Black woman. As a Japanese woman. As a Blasian. And as a Blasian woman.

There aren't many Blasian celebrities in Japan. Naomi Osaka is probabaly one of the most famous. And before her another well known Blasian in Japan was singer Crystal Kay. And because we live in a world that likes to generalise as much as it does label and categorise, many people online made jokes that Crystal Kay was the one lighting the Olympic torch - in a bid to be funny, seem like they were being cute or just being pieces of shit. Either way, it's all a form of racism no matter which way you cut it. And Crystal had this to say.

Which may have seemed a little cryptic to some. So Crystal moved over to Instagram to clarify her tweet and laid it all out.

Crystal Kay's Insta story (@crystalkayofficial) | Random J Pop

First of all, props to Crystal Kay for being open and candid about this. I wish she'd tweeted this or made this an Instagram post as opposed to an Insta story, so that more people could see it and stew on it. 

I've always openly spoken out about how I feel that Crystal's career never reached the heights I felt it deserved to, and that it's partly because of her being Black. And I've had people tell me that I'm talking shit, that I'm myopic and that Crystal has probabaly never experienced racism. But this post from her highlights that she clearly has. It's completely plausible that Crystal Kay may have never confronted blatant racism before, or that she's chalked certain microaggressions down to either people being ignorant, or non black Japanese people just doing how they do because its so ingrained into Japanese culture. But racism is racism folks. And the notion that racism is only somebody calling you a slur in your face has got the game real fucked up, and is one of countless reasons why racism stays thriving.

Seeing what Naomi Osaka has had to deal with in Japan is a sign that many people there (or anywhere for that matter) aren't well clued up on nationality versus race, and that people in Japan do be racist. Racism is another thing that Japan downplays to a point where it likes to give the impression that it doesn't exist - which is not a Japanese specific thing by any means, because the US and the UK both do the exact same thing. Some countries love to claim they aren't racist, whilst being racist all the day long. And what doesn't help is how those who aren't Black want to use their voice to tell us that we're just blowing things out of proportion, feign ignorance and support the racism because to them it's no big deal - even though this thing that isn't a big deal is getting us killed.

Some fans have replied and quote tweeted Crystal with 'lol' and laughing emoji's, with very few actually seeing the issue that Crystal is addressing and calling it out. Joking that you thought Crystal Kay was lighting the Olympic torch isn't cute. It's racism sweetie. It falls under the whole ideology that people of a specific race all look the same. And you'd think that more Japanese people would be sensitive to that, given the long standing rhetoric of 'They all look the same' when it comes to discussions of the differences between folk from countries in East Asia, as perceived from the West - which is systemic to a point that it bleeds into how Hollywood casts 'Asians' in films and on TV, and conflates traditions and cultures.

Of course I cannot speak for what Crystal has and hasn't experienced. But I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that Crystal Kay has experienced racism in her life and throughout her career - in whatever of the many forms that racism takes. And I think that seeing what her fellow Blasian Naomi Osaka has had to deal with at scale, in conjunction with seeing the varied forms racism has taken over the course of the past couple of years alone has probably awoken something in Crystal that is making her see things differently - that perhaps she has been in a bubble and not always seen things for what they are. Following Crystal during the pandemic, during which she's been the most active and open she's ever been, there's a real sense that she's been on a journey of discovery; becoming increasingly aware of how far the Black Lives Matter rabbit hole goes and the reach that racism has - which led her to say what she said in her Insta story, which is the most direct thing Crystal has ever said in regards to racism that she's experienced. It might just be the ONLY thing she's ever said in regards to it.

I've always felt that it's been a shame that Crystal Kay never had the huge career she deserved and still deserves. Not just because I think she's a great artist, but because of how many more ceilings she would have shattered as a result. Think of how many more Blasian kids would be given hope of seeing that they can realise their dreams and become a megastar in the country they call home, in the face of people who microaggressively make them feel othered. 

I'm not even going to get into how folk wanna side-line Blasians and be racist towards them, but then have Misia standing on a stage singing the national anthem with her hair in makeshift dreadlocks tied back into braids and it's 100% fine.

It's all a mess. And one lesson here is how somebody can be confronted with racism, but perhaps not even really feel that it's racism because of what racism has always been defined as to them. But racism is slick y'all. It comes in all shapes, sizes and guises. And sometimes it's easy to read something which is racist as something else depending on the culture you grew up in. Even with this statement from Crystal Kay, she may still not even see the 'Every Blasian is Crystal Kay' gag  as racism and it's understandable as to why she probabaly wouldn't.


I hope Crystal's next single is R&B as fuck, with a music video which has her rocking an afro, box braids and kente dresses, with a guest feature from Naomi Osaka whipping her hair on a tennis court.

🎧 CK Playlist: This is Crystal Kay | Crystal Kay: Ballads
📀 Special Edition: Euphoria, a Crystal Kay dance album
💿 Crystal Kay album reviews: I SingFor You | Shine | Vivid | Spin the Music | Color Change! | ShiningAll Yours | Call Me Miss... | 637 -Always & Forever-