'Crazy Rich Asians' is this summer’s movie bravado, it has the green light to end the stereotypes of Asian Americans allowing full range performances, and it has now been proven that Asian actors of color in an American produced film can turn a profit. See how Justin Lin has created a multi-cultural movie template (not just Asian) actors with great success. Our fav figure Awkwafina, a NYC educated sassy upbeat Streetwise Rich gal in the movie that adds a funky great comedic point that helps relieve the tension of the filthy rich but is pretty stinkin’ rich herself as the film unravels into many musical scenes full of nostalgia and dreamy costumes for lavish hedonistic Asians to drool over, but as we covet the lifestyles of the rich we blame the media for underrepresenting us all at the same time…how ironic we just aim to be wannabes= super successful =rich.
For me, this zany predictable film appeals to the fun-loving Asian American crowd asking why Asian Chinese need a national shtick – or pride for our identity as Chinese in the US as we are growing bolder in all economic groups…even as there are many assimilated there is still part of the stigma of being perceived as foreign-born Chinese when they are many generational citizens of us in the US.
The Diaspora of Chinese are being analyzed in the media such as the New York Times, August 17, 2018 article referring to Asian Americans being the most economically and racially divided group compared to other ethnic groups. Also, many Singaporean writers and critics debate how misrepresentation of their area and culture can be a huge problem but mostly Asian Americans want a mass media success story going into the future and want a feel-good movie with Hollywood-style fantasies.
Chris Kwok AABANY who is the Issues Committee co-chair stated :
“Chinese American cultural fluency, shaped by Asian American
Political ideals, finally got an all Asian and Asian American cast with
an Asian American Movie made in a Hollywood studio after 25 years.
The rapturous press coverage cannot forget all the Asian American directors
Actors and independent artists that have been filling in the blanks in the interim.
Don’t forget the Meg. That was a Chinese movie too, co-produced
and co-financed with Chinese money. Ironic they were #1 and # 2 movies in the same
Just this week, Chris Kwok of Asian American Bar Association of New York, made a call to his colleagues, questioning the popularity of this film and discussing its impact on our community. He brought together ideas and comments from professionals, journalists, artists in the media of all ages and Asian backgrounds stating that Asian Americans are not usually represented in film audience polls which means we have a silent voice in what shapes America’s attitude toward film attendance and media psychology. He loves seeing Asians in films and urges us to go see Asian films to compare our Asian American culture with super popular directors from all over Asia to gain insights and continue expanding our cultural experiences.
During this meet-up with AABANY, it is evident that Asian Americans don’t get enough representation in the media or how they must fight for more producers, scripts or roles due us. These immediate goals affect all of us. Director Justin Lin and his “Better Luck Tomorrow” film had a huge impact on Asian American audiences and launched many Asian American actors. Today there is a new playing field as the mainland Chinese funds give way to possibly hiring Asian American actors and stories we are eagerly awaiting for as a new frontier for this genre is to be born.
As a visual artist I created a page called @crazykitschAsians on Instagram which makes us look at the fun yet commonplace cultural mores of our arts - high and low art that influence Asian taste that question middle-class point of views whether from the many Chinese nationals, Hong Kong, China’s Southeast Asians and Taiwan too. We travel to Asia, become confused by the Chinese diaspora and they look back at us bewildered too and now we can mirror whatever we want since we are enriched by the “craziness”. Asian Americans can rock …the boat that is.