Y’all We Asian: When We First Saw Ourselves Represented On-Screen

Y’all, We Asian” is back with a new hour-long show that refocuses the narrative of Hollywood whitewashing. We’re empowering diverse voices and re-imagining films by inserting Asian leads. “Starring Y’all We Asian”, which pays homage to the #StarringJohnCho movement, will feature snappy, character-driven improv comedy inspired by movie trailers. Catch the show every Saturday night at 8:30pm from February 16 to April 6 at ColdTowne Theater!

Before Crazy Rich Asians was released, the last major Asian-American film was The Joy Luck Club, 25 years prior. 2018’s “Asian August” brought a lot of progress for Asian-American representation on the big screen – we’re finally getting more multi-faceted portrayals! We’re not just the goofy best friends! We’re #notsidekicks! “Starring Y’all We Asian” is a celebration of how far Asians have come in Hollywood and a reminder of how many more diverse stories there are to be told. We asked some members of “Y’all We Asian” about the first time they felt represented on-screen.

https://www.theroot.com/in-living-color-cast-then-and-now-1790867994

Steve Park was a standup and performer on the hit television show “In Living Color” during the 1991 season. Having loved comedy and watching performances from a young age, seeing someone that represented me on that big stage allowed me to have the dream that it WAS possible for an Asian to be on TV anywhere.” – G-Su Paek

https://maxlinkinfo.blogspot.com/2018/08/awkwafina-single-woman-seeking-manwich.html

“I remember Googling ‘asian female rapper’ when I was college. That’s how I found out about Awkwafina. This was in 2015, before Crazy Rich Asians, before she hosted SNL, back when she was just a scrappy rapper-comedian in Brooklyn making her own web-series called “Tawk”, which I remember binge-watching and screaming about for days. Awkwafina was loud, messy, and relentlessly funny. In her, I saw the weird parts of myself that didn’t fit into any mould that I grew up with. She is boldly herself at all times, and it has been so exciting to watch her rise.” – Minda Wei

“My first Jet Li movie was Hero. I quickly became obsessed with the talented, stone-faced, eagle eyed martial artist, and tore through as many movies as I could. He became my favorite actor and kung fu movies became one of my top favorites. I even started taking Tang Soo Do lessons and had an embarrassing trist as collector of swords and other martial weapons. Jet Li had it all! Strength, skill, cool as a cucumber, and looked dope as hell whether he’s rocking the long queue hair or the tac gear and black shades. Li was the pinnacle of my early concepts of “manliness”, a strong lead who could go toe to toe with the Stathams and Stalones. Even though I would later come out as a Non-Binary individual and re-evaluate all of my concepts of masculinity, Jet Li was no less important a figure in the grand tapestry of influences on my life and ultimately on my identity.” – Virgil Shelby

https://www.inverse.com/article/19390-fast-and-the-furious-tokyo-drift-is-on-netflix-instant-streaming

“I’ve seen other Fast and Furious movies, but there was no F&F that my friends and I were more excited about than Tokyo Drift. Despite the fact that the movie is set in Tokyo and stars a white guy, we watched it over and over again because we felt like “omg, Asians are on the map!” We looked cool, raced cars, and were tough and handsome and hot. It was exciting, even if we were mostly the background characters in the movie. But who cares! The title has Tokyo in it!” – Yola Lu

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0132yz7

“The first time I saw somebody in a lead role that represented me was when Bend It Like Beckham came out. There were a bunch of movies dealing with kids and sports like The Mighty Ducks, The Sandlot, Like Mike, and Rookie of the Year that were so popular at my school. Parminder Nagra as the central character of a sports comedy movie that blew up in popularity really helped me feel represented, especially with growing up in the only Indian family in my city for a majority of my life up to then. Back then, I definitely didn’t understand all of the social commentary in the movie, but I am proud they added depth to make it more than another typical sports comedy film.” – Faraaz Ismail

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/05/hasan-minhaj-homecoming-king-interview

While I had seen various Asian Americans on screen before, the first stand-out moment where I was like “wow, yeah I strongly feel and relate to this in a way that really plugs into my identity” was just a little over a year ago when I watched Hasan Minhaj’s “Homecoming King”. He captured part of the “Asian child of immigrant parents” experience in a way that I had never experienced and made me feel seen and laugh and cry. It was so truthful and heartfelt and funny and he never sacrificed any pain for a laugh.” – Kim Tran