Why People Are Praising "Crazy Rich Asians" For Bringing Diversity to Hollywood

The trailer for upcoming romantic comedy "Crazy Rich Asians" dropped this month and the internet exploded with praise for a movie with an all-Asian cast. After a history of exclusion, misrepresentation, and whitewashing of minority characters in Hollywood, this news was a big deal for many Asian Americans. Crazy Rich Asians is based on a book of the same name by Kevin Kwan, a Singaporean novelist. The story follows Asian American Rachel as she grapples with the fact of her boyfriend's family's enormous wealth when they attend a wedding in Singapore. The plot comes with some of the typical rom-com tropes, a disapproving mother, a loveable protagonist dealing with a new environment, and a quirky friend for comic relief. The importance of this movie is not to be overlooked however since it is the first big Hollywood movie in 25 years, since The Joy Luck Club, with a majority-Asian cast.

Image via Google Images

With names like Constance Wu as Rachel, Henry Golding as the love interest, Michelle Yeoh, Ken Jeong, Awkwafina, among other talented actors, there is no doubt this movie will live up to the hype fans have cultivated around it. The film is also being directed by Asian American filmmaker Jon M. Chu who has notably been involved in projects such as Now You See Me 2, Step Up 2: The Streets, and G.I. Joe Retaliation. Constance Wu, who you may know from TV show Fresh Off the Boat, has been outspoken about the inclusion of more diverse casts and stories in entertainment. On Hollywood's tendency to stray away from stories about minorities she has commented, "Specificity is what makes good storytelling, and good storytelling is what makes money, and making money is then what encourages new producers to invest in different stories about Asians."

Image via Google Images

Social media's reaction (see below) to the trailer and new of this movie was huge, many praising the fact that the film strays away from stereotypical depictions of Asian characters that the industry has used as a crutch for many years. Tokenism of Asian characters has been a huge problem for movies as they are usually shown as either nerds, doctors, kung-fu fighters, or secondary characters. Asians getting lead roles is a rare occurrence and if there are roles with Asian actors in mind, Hollywood has the unfortunate tendency to whitewash the role with white actors deemed a more bankable, safe option. 

"an all-asian cast with no martial arts or stereotypes but just asians being bougie and rude and the epitome of style and class. i have waited my whole life for this!" https://t.co/UCuYCEW4c1

— ᴊᴜᴅɢᴍᴇɴᴛᴀʟ ɢᴀʏ 🌙 (@jdgmntlgay) April 24, 2018

"I hope you all will support Crazy Rich Asians like how you supported Love Simon for being the first lgbt story produced by a major studio, or like how you supported Black Panther for being the first black superhero movie. Don’t leave behind Asians in ur praise for representation."

— still crying from infinity war (@tkalovell) April 23, 2018

 

The movie comes to theaters this year on August 17 and I can't wait to watch.