i refuse to even call the app by the name that Bastani is trying to misappropriate, but anyhoo … here’s a copy of the letter i’m trying to get to all of the current advisers of The App That Will Not Be Named!
I see that you’re listed as an adviser to Ramin Bastani’s offensively named “Hula” app. Though I know and respect the purposes of the app itself, the fact that he’s named it after a sacred and vital part of my people’s culture is far more damaging that he is admitting. I spent nearly an hour on the phone with him a couple days ago trying to explain exactly how damaging his actions are to the culture of the Native Hawaiian. The real hula is the most integral and vibrant tool for the continuance and dissemination of our history and ideals. Yet despite my making this absolutely clear to Ramin, he still refuses to change the name.
Appropriating this name continues the worst attack on my culture in several decades. I know that might sound like hyperbole, but because the names of successful apps become verbs (“let me Google that”, “I’m going to Shazam this song”, “we’re gonna Uber over to the bar tonight”, etc), if Mr. Bastani is successful, to “hula” somebody will no longer mean what it means to my people.
The fact that Native Hawaiians even exist is lost on more of the population than you might realize. The real hula has the primary purpose of keeping alive our knowledge, history, myths and language. So to redefine this word for much of the population, as Mr. Bastani is trying to do, would cause irreparable damage to awareness of our culture – and would forever after make the word do exactly the opposite of it’s current purpose.
The most cursory study of Hawaiian history will show how much we have suffered at the hands of the western world. Do you really want to help continue that oppression? This is not the kind of thing that should be happening in modern times, so I beg you to please step down as an adviser until Mr. Bastani changes the name of the app. Please help protect the culture of my people from a most egregious attack.
If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them. In the meantime, here are a couple of links that explain our situation even more.
and here are my own personal thoughts and feelings in an excerpt from my weekly “Film Geeks” podcast:
Mahalo nui loa,
as always, sign the petition, spread the word, get your friends & family to sign & spread. imua!