|Birth name||Lou Jing (Uses "Vicky" Lou as her English name)|
|Occupations||Student, reality TV show contestant|
|Years active||2009 – present|
Lou Jing (simplified Chinese: 娄婧; traditional Chinese: 婁婧; pinyin: Lóu Jìng) is a Chinese talent show contestant from Shanghai. She was born to a Chinese mother and an African American father, who left China before she was born and has lost contact ever since. Lou Jing's mother raised her as a single mother. She is currently enrolled at the Shanghai Theater Academy. She entered the Shanghai-based Dragon TV's Go Oriental Angel talent quest in August 2009, where she became one of the five finalists from Shanghai.
Dubbed the "Black Pearl", and "Chocolate Girl" on the show, her rise to fame culminated in heated discussions on the Chinese blogosphere. While some comments on internet forums expressed support, some comments insulted Lou and her mother with racist remarks. Her attention in the media opened serious debates about racism in China and racial prejudice.
Fame and racist uproar
Lou entered Shanghai's ""Go Oriental Angel"" program in August 2009, and reached the top-five in the Shanghai region. Initially hosts of the show were baffled by her skin colour and questioned her background, and the origins of her father. Through the exposure she received on the show, she gained attention as a human interest story and granted several interviews to television stations. The media attention resulted in mass discussions on the Chinese-language internet, but soon spreading to the English-language internet and media. On November 1, British newspaper The Guardian reported that Lou had emerged as the most famous talent show contestant in China and has become the subject of intense debate because of her skin colour.
She ranked as one of the top 30 contestants before being eliminated from the competition. Rumours flared on cyberspace, allegedly citing a press report, that Lou's mother engaged in an extra-marital affair with an African American, resulting in the birth of Lou Jing. Subsequently, a blog entitled "Could Lou Jing's dad be Obama?", where the author of the blog used many sarcastic remarks to ridicule Lou Jing, received particular notoriety. Another blog, titled Lou Jing's American black father and Shanghai mother, appeared on Tianya, a popular Chinese internet forum, and garnered over 40,000 hits, with many sarcastic and angry racist attacks on Lou Jing based on her dark skin. Racial slurs such as xiaoheigui (小黑鬼 xiǎohēiguǐ; lit. Little black devil) were used on her. Other bloggers wrote comments such as "Numb! This bitch still has the audacity to appear on television! I don't know what to say! One cannot be shameless to this kind of level!" Lou Jing initially did not discover these comments on the internet until her friends contacted her with messages of support. She also remarked that it was the first time she has experienced such racial hatred in her life.
China Daily columnist Raymond Zhou remarked that the backlash on the internet was caused by numerous factors, including China's homogeneity, her "non-Chinese" appearance and her mother's associations with a foreigner, but more relevantly, that her father is black, giving her dark skin. Zhou opined that China's intolerance is color-based, where people may admire paler skin, they discriminate against darker skin. He further commented that this trend is "not totally race based," as the Chinese are biased against other Chinese who have dark skin, especially dark-skinned women, and that he believes this to be an "offshoot of class discrimination" because historically, the lower class laborers who worked outdoor had darker skin due to being constantly exposed to the sun's radiation. Zhou was one of several media commentators in China who responded to these blasts on the blogosphere, and came to Lou Jing's defense and criticized negative comments on internet. Zhou wrote that it was "high time [we] introduced some sensitivity training on races and ethnicities if we are going to latch on to the orbit of globalization." Author Hung Huang wrote on her blog, "In the same year that Americans welcome Barack Obama to the White House, we can't even accept this girl with a different skin colour." In the mainstream Chinese media, Lou Jing also had many supporters.
In an interview with Chinese internet portal Netease, Lou discussed her background and how her skin colour has affected her since childhood. She responded to a hoax declaration widely circulated on the internet that proclaimed in her name that her father is "American, and not African". She replied, "Isn't it kind of stupid to say it now since China is America's biggest creditor?" When asked whether she agrees about being "a native of Shanghai", she remarked "I'm a Chinese person born and raised in China," adding that her best friends are from Anhui and Henan. She also remarked that she was grateful that her parents gave birth to her, and played down racial discrimination, saying it has been overblown by false press reports.
Lou received an internship offer from Shanghai television station Dragon TV after the show. She has since became a co-host of the show News Surfing Intelligence, a local Shanghai program. In an interview with the BBC's Matthew Bannister, she remarked that racial discrimination is present in all countries of the world, but in China it seems particularly focused towards people of an African background due to the assumption that Africa is less developed. She said that she found it interesting children of mixed Chinese-white parents do not receive nearly as much negative attention.
Lou Jing is not the first Chinese person of African descent to have received widespread media attention in recent years. In June 2009, the entrance of Ding Hui (Chinese: 丁慧), a black man from Hangzhou, to the China men's national volleyball team also gained significant coverage on Chinese media.
Lou Jing has a very close relationship with her mother, a native Shanghai woman. Her mother appeared at all of her shows to support her. Lou had a timid personality before appearing as a TV contestant, and is sensitive towards outside criticism, though she maintains an air of optimism. Lou Jing speaks fluent Shanghainese and Mandarin.
- "Shanghai ‘Black Girl’ Lou Jing Abused By Racist Netizens". chinaSMACK. 2009-09-01. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
- Louisa Lim (November 11, 2009). "Mixed-Race TV Contestant Ignites Debate In China". National Public Radio. Retrieved November 12, 2009.
- Stephen Vines (2009-11-01). "China's black pop idol exposes her nation's racism". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
- "TV talent show exposes China's race issue - CNN.com". CNN. 2009-12-22. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
- Elaine Chow (2009-09-03). "Videos: "Chocolate Girl" Lou Jing on Oriental Angel". The Shanghaiist. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
- Simon Elegant and Chengcheng Jiang (2009-09-23). "Can a Mixed-Race Contestant Become a Chinese Idol?". Time. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
- Peter Sharp (2009-11-02). "Black 'Oriental Angel' Sparks China Race Row". Sky News. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
- Bannister, Matthew (2009-11-09). "Oriental Angel". Shanghai: BBC World Service (Radio). Retrieved 11 December 2009.
- Raymond Zhou (2009-09-18). "Seeing red over black Angel". China Daily. Retrieved 2009-11-04.
- "娄婧：我是土生土长的中国人 (Lou Jing: I am born and raised Chinese)". Netease via Youku. 2009-10.
- Ding Hui Documentary
- "东方天使娄静17畅谈心路历程 (Oriental Angel's Lou Jing discusses her journey)". Shanghai Oriental TV.