Diversity Sells!

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Sabrina Liu

More stories from Sabrina Liu

The Devil’s Lettuce
December 12, 2018
Movie co-stars Henry Golding and Constance Wu
(Google Common License)

Movie co-stars Henry Golding and Constance Wu (Google Common License)

In August 2018, “Crazy Rich Asians” come out in theaters nationwide. Since its release, the movie has made over $110 million in the United States alone. The movie’s all Asian cast was a source of doubt that the movie would be successful but the numbers and reviews have defied any and all uncertainties.

 

Since Hollywood’s inception, Asian actors have been cast exclusively as stereotyped roles; the quiet nerd, the stranger with broken english, characters who merely aided storylines. For many directors, Asian actors are not “expressive” enough to cast as actually developed characters. “Crazy Rich Asians” puts Asian actors in the spotlight sans stereotypes with problems many Asian Americans can relate to. It emphasizes struggles that are present in many Asian American lives today. For example, Rachel Chu, the movie’s main character, struggles with a tug of war between two cultures. When shopping for a dress to meet her boyfriend’s parents, she leans towards a Western style dress while her mom urges her to buy a red dress for the event seeing as red is a significant color in Chinese culture.

 

Representation in big media has been sought after for quite a long time, why start only now? Many companies do not want to put money into things that they don’t think will sell and real diversity didn’t seem like it would bring in money. However, almost 20 million Americans are Asian Americans and those numbers most definitely showed through box office numbers. The novelty of seeing an all Asian cast for the time in an American film may have drawn many, but the all Asian cast was much more than a passing entertainment. For many, Asian representation in big media is a step towards true equal opportunity. An all Asian cast normalizes existence in a way that cannot be done in another manner. It has the ability to empower future generations of Asian Americans by seeing such successful characters played by people who look like them. No longer someone’s best friend or nerdy sidekick to cheat off of tests, “Crazy Rich Asians” has put Asians at the center of the big screen and it is paying off. The movie has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 93% and is loved by audiences of all ethnicities. “Crazy Rich Asians” is sure to pave the way for a new and more diverse Hollywood.

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Diversity Sells!