Sophia Chang Behind The Woo Tang Clan

Photo: Sophia Chang

Hip-hop music originated as a cultural phenomenon and became a popular music genre. As hip hop evolved, there were figures commonly accepted into American society. There were people in the background that influenced the delivery of the lyrics with their contributions. One of these individuals is Sophia Chang. She is from Vancouver, Canada, 52 years of age and a woman. Her client list is extensive and includes the Wu Tang Clan’s celebrated Old Dirty Bastard, GZA and RZA from hip hop’s Golden Era. She was already influencing the genre while attending graduate school and this is when she became immersed in the music scene in New York.


Hip-hop had a profound impact on Sophia Chang. She spent her childhood in a white world as a Korean immigrant and was dealing with a lot of anger. She perceived the music as beautiful, urgent and poetic. She met RZA while working for Jive Records and was stunned by his brilliance. She believed he was one of the most intelligent people she had ever encountered. This led to professional bonds with the members and she became a part of an industry generally unaccepting of businesswomen.


Sophia Chang was studying to be a French Professor in Vancouver. Her life changed when she heard Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five perform The Message. She admits she has a mean temper and this was impacted by the poetry and storytelling. The terms gook, jap and chink were partially responsible for her anger and she could not hide she was different from everyone else. The music made her feel powerful and indignant to the racial slurs. That one song caught her attention. She loved the music scene, the concerts, bands and venues. She was drawn to creativity and musicians.


Sophia Chang moved to New York and chose not to graduate from the university. She had met Joey Ramone on a previous visit to New York and stayed with one of his friends who was a music journalist along with his girlfriend. His girlfriend got her the first formal job she had in the music sector. She began spending her evenings at hip-hop clubs. Hip-hop began small and evolved into a cultural phenomenon across the globe. Sophia Chang believes hip-hop had a deeper impact on the world than any other music genre including rock. She believes the most recognizable music logo in history is the W in Wu Tang. This logo has become a universal brand.


Originally, Sophia Chang just wanted to fit in and had not yet embraced her Korean heritage. Her rejection of her heritage meant she had never watched a Kung Fu movie or dated an Asian man when she met Wu Tang. Wu Tang helped her embrace her roots and see the beauty of her culture. Wu Tang was drawn to the Kung Fu movies because of the loyalty, brotherhood and odds. Sophia Change became immersed in the culture of New York. She was simultaneously immersed in a male milieu as a petite Asian woman. Hip-hop is dominated by men and centers around masculinity, machismo and bravado. She learned the power of being female and had no desire to be white or male.


The character of Sophia Chang is based on her identity issues and struggle. She will never be a part of patriarchy or white supremacy. Despite the fact she knows the playing field is not level, she always manages to find a seat at the proverbial table. She realizes her beauty and sex appeal are formidable weapons. She backs up these qualities with skill. She has never changed her demeanor or appearance to placate insecure men but is confident in using what she possesses.


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