Ha ha you know those poor elderly Asian women and their hilarious habit of collecting bottles and cans to cash in for the deposit? "Wouldn't it be even funnier to make a music video parodying them?" asked no one with a scintilla of compassion, ever. But longtime Bensonhurst resident Maria Campanella decided to "go there" with her video "Yo Granny’s In My Garbage," which has offended some people who don't see the humor in a white woman putting on yellow makeup and a straw hat to mock people whose situation is so desperate that they're compelled to dig through trash to survive:
We asked Campanella if she had anything to say to those who might perceive her video as racist or insulting to homeless people, and she told us via email, "It's nothing to do with Asian or homeless—it's just what it is: a music video. All nationalities in all neighborhoods do it and they all are not homeless. There is nothing vicious in my video that is intended to offend homeless or Asian people—nothing is directed to them—it's about granny's. They shouldn't be in dirty unsafe garbage cans and all hours of the night."
It's worth noting that Bensonhurst has seen a demographic shift away from Italian-American and toward Asian-American in recent years. And as the neighborhood changes, Campanella says the can collectors have gone too far. “It’s an epidemic,” Campanella tells Brooklyn Paper. “I see them out at two, three, in the morning. And people don’t like it, because they’re coming onto people’s property.”
Steve Chung, president of the United Chinese Association of Brooklyn and a member of Bensonhurst’s Community Board 11, tells BP, "The way they present it is very disrespectful. I don’t think there’s any viciousness behind it, but I’m disappointed as a human being.” But Campanella insists the video isn't making fun of Asian-Americans, arguing, "A hat doesn’t distinguish a culture. If it’s a sunny day, anybody can wear a hat like that." And if it's Purim, anybody can be a "basketball player!"