Kamehameha Film

Great Hawaiian story should instill pride

Ms. M. Healani Sonoda-Pale: About your report on an “uproar” over news that Kamehameha I’s story will be brought to the movies by a non-Hawaiian actor and a “white crew” (“Hollywood’s King Kamehameha Concoction,” Sept. 5).

This news should create a sense of pride, that award-winning filmmakers think this great Hawaiian story would be of interest to audiences in Hawaii and the world. They want to tell it.

There’s resentment over this film’s potential blockbuster profits, as there seems to be resentment that “Moana” grossed its hundred millions. I would think, like “Moana,” upon viewing “The King” project, more interest in Hawaii, its history and culture would be roused. Isn’t that a good thing for Hawaii?

Skepticism about the motives behind the making of “The King” and concerns of abuse are only natural given Hawaii’s more than two centuries of exploitation, oppression and abuse by foreigners, the haole. But your opinions do not indicate garnered information about these award-winning filmmakers, their established sensitivities to the historic and its implications. Did you know that Dwayne Johnson (attended high school in Honolulu) had wished to portray Kamehameha since he started his film career in 2001?

Kamehameha died in 1819. Must we wait until a Hawaiian-born actor and Hawaiian-born filmmakers tell his story?

— Helen Dano, born in Hawaii, now resides in the Bronx

The tragedy of cultural manipulation

As a mainland haole who returned to the islands 41 years ago after being here as a boy when my father was stationed at Schofield, I have long felt that it was my responsibility to learn as much as possible about the Hawaiian people and culture. And also to show respect to those people and that culture.

I believe that M. Healani Sonoda-Pale was correct in her analysis of the harm done to Hawaiians when Hollywood, and the tourist industry for that matter, uses a mainland, white, Samoan, local or any other lens to tell the story that does not belong to them. In this case, it is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson doing a film about King Kamehameha. 

The tragedy of cultural exploitation is many-fold. It warps the minds of the people and culture being appropriated along with misrepresenting and stereotyping them with others.

Can the film be stopped? Probably not. But can we at least recognize the damage that projects like this do? I hope so.

Stuart Allan, Honolulu

Brett Kavanaugh

Important writings obscured by Hirono’s diatribe

On Wednesday Nick Grube leaked Sen. Mazie Hirono’s plans for her 30-minute diatribe against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during the confirmation hearing (“Brett Kavanaugh No Friend Of Special Rights For Native Hawaiians,” Sept. 5).

Hirono attacked two very important writings by Judge Kavanaugh, which I hope every person in Hawaii will take the time to read. The purpose of this letter is to make those materials easily available, because they provide good medicine against very bad policies which Hirono and most Hawaii politicians have long pushed.  

I wrote a blog providing historical background about Kavanaugh’s two 1999 publications which Hirono attacked, a link to a YouTube video of Hirono’s 31-minute diatribe, a link to Kavanaugh’s article in the Wall Street Journal, a link to Kavanaugh’s very lengthy, detailed amicus brief in the Supreme Court’s hearing of Rice v. Cayetano, and a link to my own compilation of all major published opposition to the Akaka bill from 2000 to 2014.

— Ken Conklin, Kaneohe

Aloha Shirts

Hey, how about a story on muumuus?

I greatly enjoyed reading your piece on aloha shirts (“Chad Blair: Do Aloha Shirts Win Campaigns In Hawaii?” Aug. 31)! 

Please do an article on what happened to muumuus. I used to have a closet full from Liberty House and wore them every Aloha Friday, when working. I miss my muumuus, would love to see them make a comeback!

— Penny Nakamura, Haleiwa

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