‘Everything Everywhere’ actor's SAG speech goes viral for making Hollywood contend with racist past
Julie Su, advocate for immigrant workers, is Biden's pick for Labor Secretary
“Asian Americans recorded the fastest population growth rate among all racial and ethnic groups in the United States, study finds.”
While this statistic may seem optimistic, there’s more to the story. The growth of the Asian American population in the U.S. has occurred in tandem with increased reports of discrimination and violence since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
As our community grows, we are getting louder, we are telling our authentic stories…and we are making news headlines.
Welcome to Crushing the Myth, a weekly newsletter that breaks down the latest AAPI news & newsmakers.
🏆 The Headlines
‘Everything Everywhere’ actor's SAG speech goes viral for making Hollywood contend with racist past — "The producer said the Asians were not good enough and they are not box office-[worthy],” said James Hong. “But look at us now.”
James Hong, an actor in the acclaimed film “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” went viral on Sunday for his acceptance speech at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, in which he called out Hollywood for its lack of Asian representation in the past.
Hong, who plays main character Evelyn Wang’s disapproving father, Gong Gong, was given the spotlight after the film won best cast in a motion picture. Surrounded by his “Everything Everywhere” castmates, Hong called out the industry for its historical practice of "yellowface," which involved mimicking the appearance and speech of an Asian person, and celebrated the triumph of Asian artists in achieving a growing presence in Hollywood.
Hong, 94, recalled the racist environment Asians dealt with in Hollywood not long before he began his career in a Clark Gable film. Hong cited “The Good Earth,” a film about a farmer in China during the early 20th century, in which the main characters were played by white actors.
“The leading role was played by these guys with an eyes tape up like this and they talk like this because the producer said the Asians were not good enough and they are not box office-[worthy],” said Hong, pulling his eyes back and imitating the old-school yellowface. “But look at us now.”
The moment received a standing ovation and was shared widely online.Catching up on this and truly it is one of the most special moments of mainstream AAPI representation I’ve seen. James Hong (🐐!) has seen it all and his resilience through all the erasure and belittling put up with in his career is inspiring.FOUND IT. Here is #JamesHong's full #SAGAwards speech. he was all LET ME DO MY TIGHT 5! this guy knows! part 1... @allatoncemovie https://t.co/rs6xgws7eBJenny Yang @jennyyangtv
Julie Su, advocate for immigrant workers, is Biden's pick for Labor Secretary — Julie Su, a daughter of Chinese immigrants who spent years representing low-wage workers as a civil rights lawyer, is poised to take over the most powerful U.S. agency for labor issues.
Julie Su, a daughter of Chinese immigrants who spent years representing low-wage workers as a civil rights lawyer, is poised to take over the most powerful U.S. agency for labor issues.
"Julie is the American dream," said President Joe Biden at a White House event on Wednesday where he officially announced her nomination to be the next Labor Secretary.
The room, packed with members of Congress, cabinet officials, union leaders and reporters, burst into a chorus of cheers and loud applause when Biden and Su entered.
"I think they like you," Biden quipped. "If, in fact, you were not picked to be Secretary of Labor, I would be run out of town."
Asian American Democratic lawmakers and advocates had pushed Biden to nominate Su after she spent years promoting the rights of Asian American and immigrant workers. She also headed California's labor department during the pandemic, when millions were filing for unemployment.
If confirmed, she will be the first Asian American member of Biden's cabinet at the secretary level.
‘I Don’t Take a Single Second for Granted’: Asian and Asian American Nominees on the Oscars — It was a record year for actors, but directors, musicians and other artists of Asian descent are also up for statuettes. The New York Times asked many of the contenders to reflect on their work.
For the first time in Oscar history, a record-setting four Asian actors received nominations in a single year, including Michelle Yeoh, who is up for best actress for the gorgeous and wonderfully trippy “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” That film, which received 11 nods, the most in 2022, features a largely Asian and Asian American cast.
In fact, a bumper crop of filmmakers, performers and artists of Asian descent were nominated for Academy Awards this year. The honorees run the gamut: There are actors, of course, but also directors, screenwriters and musicians, as well as artists skilled in animation, costume design and makeup.
Among the contenders are the Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro and Domee Shi, the first woman to direct a short film for Pixar (2018’s “Bao,” which won an Oscar). The films themselves range from a critically acclaimed animated feature that’s metaphorically about menstruation (Shi’s “Turning Red”) to a visually haunting documentary about a bird hospital in India (“All That Breathes”) and a tune-filled anti-colonialist action extravaganza (“RRR”).
For much of the academy’s 95-year run, this sort of article would have been impossible. Only a relatively small number of Asians and Asian Americans have ever been nominated for Oscars, and rarely have there been enough in one year to justify a congratulatory roundup.
The possibility of seeing this many Asians honored on Oscar night has been a long time coming, and is a reason to rejoice for moviegoers who have clamored for greater representation in films — and in the awards shows that celebrate them. I spoke to several nominees about being an artist in an Asian family, how and where they get their creative ideas, and what Oscar means to them. Here are edited excerpts from our conversations.
🔥 What’s hot
Tteokbokki — Demand for the Korean street-food staple has spiked in the U.S., with online sales increasing and new restaurants now offering varieties of the spicy dish.
‘Physical 100’ destroying misconceptions around Asian bodies — A reality show that centers around superhuman physique and strength could have the power to, in part, challenge long-standing perceptions of Asian bodies, experts say.
“Physical 100,” Netflix’s Korean reality gauntlet, invited 100 predominantly Asian athletes to compete for the title of the ultimate human physique. With competitors who encompass a vast range of body types and athletic expertise, experts say the show bucks negative stereotypes around Asian physical ability while powerfully expanding the often narrow definitions of what strong, fit and masculine bodies look like — particularly to Western audiences.
Donnie Yen on decreasing stereotypical roles — Donnie Yen, who is starring in “John Wick: Chapter 4,” said he helped make the case to overhaul his character, which was initially conceived as a very stereotypical Asian man. The actor, action director and martial artist told GQ Magazine in an interview this week he pushed back on his character’s initial identity, including his generic name and traditional wardrobe.
🥶 What’s not
Rep. Dan Bishop not knowing ‘AAPI’ — During a House Judiciary markup on Tuesday, Rep. Dan Bishop (R, NC-8) said he did not know what the acronym for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) stood for.
Elon Musk on U.S. media & schools — Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, Tesla and Twitter, accused “the media” and “elite colleges and high schools” of being “racist” against white and Asian people, espousing his views without providing evidence on Sunday.
Musk posted his comments on Twitter, where he has nearly 130 million followers, in response to news that media organizations around the country decided to cut the comic strip “Dilbert” from syndication after its creator, Scott Adams, delivered a racist tirade in a video on his YouTube channel last week.
Texas Republicans questioning Rep. Judy Chu’s loyalty — Rep. Judy Chu, the chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, blasted GOP Rep. Lance Gooden of Texas on Thursday over his comments this week questioning her loyalty to the U.S.
🌎 In the communities
Texas — Texas bill will no longer aim to ban Chinese citizens from buying homes, state senator says
San Francisco — Anti-Asian racism still haunts San Francisco community. Stop AAPI Hate has tracked nearly 11,500 hate incidents since March 2020.
California — California Names First Asian American Poet Laureate
🏆 Awards Season Spotlight
✍️, Lea @ Crushing the Myth