Growing up as an Asian-American woman, I didn’t have many role models that looked like me.
Sure, there was Mulan from Disney and Jubilee from the “X-Men” franchise, but that was about it.
I lived with the notion that there wasn’t a place for me in the media — on or off screen.
Did you know that in the 91 years of the Academy Awards, only three Asians have taken home the award for Best Actor?
For the Emmys, the first win by an Asian actor was Archie Panjabi in 2010. This is in part because the Academy has been predominantly white for decades and also due to the lack of Asian roles to begin with.
If you put your mind to it, the possibilities should be endless. For me, there was this unspoken limit. No matter how passionate I am about film and television, I never thought that it was even worth trying to get into professionally.
I didn’t see myself being represented and it made me feel powerless to society’s system.
Today, we’re making better strides with the global hit “Crazy Rich Asians,” Marvel’s first Asian centered movie, “Shang-Chi,” and “Star Wars” first Asian character, Rose Tico.
For the first time in my life, I feel seen with these characters.
On the other hand, we’re still not giving Asian creators their due.
The Malaysian co-writer of “Crazy Rich Asians,” Adele Lim, has recently stopped working on the sequel due to not receiving equal pay with her white male co-writer, Peter Chiarelli.
Without her, there would be no “Crazy Rich Asians,” because in order to tell authentic ethnic storylines, there must be ethnic people behind the camera to tell their truths.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Lim compared writers of color to soy sauce — “hired to sprinkle culturally specific details on a screenplay, rather than credited with the substantive work of crafting the story,” Lim said.
While it may seem like there’s not much we can do as an audience, there is.
Try being more aware of the media you consume, make it a point to watch at least one movie or show directed or created by a person of color a month. Make it a point to watch movies with a diverse cast.
Money talks and supporting POC projects can make a much needed big difference.