Growing up, I didn’t identify with actors I saw in films and television. It wasn’t until adolescence that I started to question why.
From kung fu masters to terrorists and mathematicians, Asian actors, I began to notice, were routinely typecast.
Not to mention, their narratives were carried by Caucasian protagonists.
But it wasn’t until Crazy Rich Asians that I believed my ethnic group could be represented in media without resorting to stereotypes and clichés.
In its opening weekend, the movie brought in $26 million in North America and has since surpassed its $30 million budget by five times.
In support of the film, numerous industry creatives bought out movie theatres across North America with the hope of a #GoldOpen, a movement made popular by social media.
Based on a novel by Kevin Kwan, the film is a modern take on Cinderella and follows the love story between a Chinese-American professor, Rachel Chu, and her boyfriend, Nick Young, one of Singapore’s most eligible bachelors.
But unlike other rom-coms, the film features a predominantly Asian cast. It is a pivotal moment in Hollywood cinema.
Beyond that it shows Asians as dynamic and successful, while staying grounded in the cultural differences that make us unique.
Still, a Hollywood Reporter article detailing a report by the University of Southern California on diversity in media found, “Roughly 50 per cent of the examined content didn’t feature one Asian or Asian-American character.”
At least the cultural conversation is beginning.
In the same manner, Netflix recently released an original film titled To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. It has garnered the attention of audiences worldwide and been recognized as the first teen film to feature a female Asian lead.
For people like me, Crazy Rich Asians is more than a film. It is a reminder that Asian stories are worthy and deserve to be told.