Sony Pictures Defends ‘Aloha’ After Several Claims Of White-Washing

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Not everyone from Hawaii is excited about the release of Cameron Crowe’s latest film, Aloha.

According to Cameron Crowe, his film Aloha is a love letter to the Hawaiian Islands, but some local voices are speaking out, suggesting that the film is a white-washed version of Hawaiian culture.

How exactly these people could glean such from a film they haven’t seen, or a script they haven’t read, Sony Pictures wants to know. The studio is still reeling from bad press following the alleged North Korean hack last winter, and the PR team is scrambling to spin the bad into the reasonable, and perhaps remind people, “The movies are still really good!”

According to Guy Aoki, former resident and present head of the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, “Caucasians only make up 30 percent of the population [of Hawaii], but from watching this film, you’d think they made up 99 percent.”

Logic would force everyone to side with Sony on this one. Has Guy Aoki seen the film? Not likely. It doesn’t stop people from making snap judgments based on trailers or something they’ve been told should be bad for their entire lives.

Walter Ritte, a well-known, and divisive Hawaiian activist suggested the following, “If you have a romantic comedy about the military in Hawaii … but a title that says Aloha, I can only guess that they’ll bastardize the word. They’re taking our sacred word … and they’re going to make a lot of money off of it.”

Can a word really be sacred? The actual sounds you make with your mouth and vocal chords? Or is it the intent of the sounds being spoken? Still, it’s the same word slapped on every Hawaiian postcard.

Aloha is set in Hawaii, and surrounded by American military culture, as well as the native Hawaiian culture starring Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone. Perhaps writer-director Cameron Crowe was attempting to suggest something with that dichotomy? Regardless, you can judge for yourself, but please, if you’re going to boast about the film or bash it, you might want to see it first.

For a little peek at what opens this Friday, check out the making-of featurette below.


James Sheldon