Crazy Rich Asians: A Step Forward for Asian-American Communities
In light of the upcoming romantic comedy movie, Crazy Rich Asians, based on Kevin Kwan's best selling novel by the same name, it is important to recognize the significance of this major studio film especially for Asian American communities.
Crazy Rich Asians follows the over-the-top lives of several elite families living in Singapore, all set to attend wealthy starlets Colin Khoo and Araminta Lee’s “wedding of the year.” We also follow the relationship of Rachel Chu, a Chinese-American economics professor from California and Nicholas Young, a Singaporean-British history professor who comes from a lineage of incredibly rich Singaporeans.
In this narrative, Asian and Asian-American characters don't occupy the supporting character roles that typically accompany a white cast’s agenda—they are the very center of the storyline. Moreover, we see Crazy Rich Asians deconstruct common stereotypes about Asians-Americans by critiquing Western society's misconceptions about Asians and Asian culture through the lens of unique and multi-faceted characters.
With the novel’s fun, hilarious storyline set to translate onto the big screen, the movie has great potential in finally representing Asian-American communities in respectable and authentic ways. Here is movie that presents Asian men as attractive and desirable, that doesn’t over-sexualize Asian women and that validates Asian-American identities.
The fight for Asian-American representation in the movie industry has been going on for too long. Huffington Post reported that, “research on diversity in Hollywood found that barely more than 3 percent of film roles in 2016 went to Asian actors. In contrast, more than 78 percent went to white actors.” In this movie, the majority of the cast is Asian—many of whom represent various East Asian identities and cultures.
This movie is a step forward in finally showing just how beautiful and unique the many facets of Asian cultures are. To portray complex backgrounds that actually resonate with various East Asian groups is not only empowering, but revolutionary especially in light of conversations about race and identity and how we reconcile the two in a world that prioritizes white stories and agendas. Needless to say, this movie is important.
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