While reading about this week’s material, I wanted to pick a cultural resource that I could really relate to, or something that had really inspired me in a sense. Now the movie that I have decided to pick, which may not make sense when you first read it… Crazy Rich Asians

Now I know what you might be thinking after reading that, did it inspire her to get rich? I did not need a movie to inspire me to want to be rich, but what that movie did do, as someone who is Asian was change the perspective on how the media was originally viewing and portraying Asians before. In a recent blog post, I talked about how Asians were usually stereotyped as either being very smart; like a genius-level smart, or knowing some type of fighting skill; karate, martial arts, jujutsu, etc. But how did the movie Crazy Rich Asians change this?

To my knowledge at the time, when I first heard about this movie, I had never read the books and I didn’t know what to expect with a title such as that, but after watching this movie, I was not just thoroughly entertained, but ecstatic to see a popular movie with an all Asian cast on a big movie theater screen. The last time an all-Asian cast was seen on the big screen was in 1993 when the movie The Joy Luck Club came out with four Chinese-American women as the main cast. It took nearly 3 decades for Hollywood to put out another movie that had an all-Asian cast.

For more of this inclusivity to happen, there does need to be more systematic change, and I think this could go for many races. “It’s not that The Joy Luck Club failed to inspire Asian-American writers and directors to try to sell their stories, what it failed to produce was more financing opportunity,” Son told InStyle. “That just comes down to, were the people who were making decisions about what TV shows and movies get made, were they interested in our stories? And I think the answer was no.” I think that what producers and directors especially in Hollywood forget to realize is that what the “societal norm” is at the time is not the only viewpoint and story to be looked into.

Before the roles for Asians were stereotyped across the nation, the roles that were even offered before Crazy Rich Asians were rarely ever leads, or second leads, but more of a comedic relief side character or “blip” in the movie/show. Growing up, I would never say that I was disappointed with the fact that I was Asian, but it was hard to be proud of it when everyone you saw on screen was white, and when going to mostly all-white school, and being maybe one of the 5 Asians, it was really hard to be proud and confident in how I looked, and Crazy Rich Asians changed that for me. 

I would say this reimagined alternative is completely possible and is showing today. The reality that I take away from this movie at least, is that there are more stories, and people, to focus on that aren’t just white. That, yes there are people out there, and yes a lot of them aren’t just white. There are storylines and history to be explored from many other races not even just Asians. However, I do think that Crazy Rich Asians did also help make being Asian “trendy” in a way. There are even more films and shows with Asian male and female leads whose characters are more thought out and not so much as a blip for the screen. Movies such as Oscar-winning Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, and the Netflix show Beef (Which I am now finding out is nominated for an Emmy). I am even seeing more Asian American influencers pop onto my feed. (This could just be the algorithm as well, but with that many followers the popularity is indeed there.) With shows like this, I have full hope that the inclusivity with continue, and eventually one day I’ll see a Filipino on the screen as the main character.

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