5 Asian Americans in Media You Ought to Google
When I was younger, I remember watching Zack and Cody only because I liked seeing another Asian American on the screen, Brenda Song. Then (whether I knew it or not at the time) when I was in middle school I started steering away from regular cable and turned to YouTube to find, “someone who looked like me.” On YouTube, I was surrounded by comedians, beauty gurus, and storytellers who all became my new form of entertainment. There was something familiar and so comforting to see those who had an equally hard last name to pronounce, who had gone through similar experiences as I had, and weren’t portraying the stereotypical Asian American figure, in media.
Fast forward to last weekend, Crazy Rich Asians becoming the #1 movie in US and Canada, I now feel even more supported by the number of media representation we have gained since the days of Zack and Cody. But, the numbers are telling. We need more representation, especially of other Asian ethnicities, in media.
Meanwhile, here’s some less commonly-talked-about and upcoming entertainment created by Asian Americans that I’ve enjoyed, and I think you’ve ought to Google.
Celeste Ng, author
After taking a short break off from reading, I wanted to dive back into reading novels more intentionally. I started thinking,
Who are my favorite books written by? Why aren’t any of them Asian American?
After intensely searching the internet, I ended up reading one of my favorite books and felt like I met another favorite author — Celeste Ng. Celeste Ng has written Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere. Coming from a predominately white place, this background is seen through her characters struggles. The father in Everything I Never Told You is faced with a self-identity issue as he tries to decide what’s better 1) to tell his children his struggles of being an immigrant or 2) work to erase his past. Spoiler alert: he takes the 1st path.
Asian Boss Girl, podcast
Growing up without an older sister, I subconsciously found myself searching for others to give advice. Re-owning the name acronym ABG often known as Asian Baby Girl, these three Asian American women in their twenties, ranging in career background and Asian identity, share their experiences as Asian American women. They make Asian American women feel proud to be ABGs (Asian Boss Girls).
Wong Fu Productions, production company
If you’re a YouTube fanatic like myself, I’m sure you’ve already heard of WongFu Productions. A production company which began by focusing on romantic sketches, recently produced something which seemed, well, different for them. WongFu Productions recently produced Yappie, a term which means, Young Asian Professional. This film covered many topics from segregation within the Asian American community to the intricacies of understanding the struggles between the Asian American community and other minorities. On a free platform like YouTube, there’s really no excuse why you shouldn’t watch this film.
Based off the New York Times bestseller novel, written by Jenny Han, this Netflix rom-com features another inspiring Asian American lead, Lana Condor. This story takes its viewers through Lara Jean’s journey of first love. While there’s hints of her Asian culture, some things felt off like saying Yakult is a Korean yogurt drink, when it’s actually Japanese. Although, the movie didn’t actually dig into her Asian American background, it felt great to see another young female face on the screen, especially in a role that’s rarely given to people in the Asian American community.
Master of None, tv show
Created by Comedian Aziz Ansari and staring in his own show, Master of None, Aziz Ansari brings light to some difficult-to-talk-about topics. Ansari isn’t afraid to bring his race into every aspect of the show. From depicting scenes like Dev, the main character Ansari plays, talking to his father about his immigrant experience, to calling out the current film industry, to bringing up issues like sexual assault, this show is a must watch.
I want to take some time to note:
- I recognize that there are still voices missing within the Asian American community.
- A majority of these examples display only East Asian voices.
- These are merely examples of media I’ve been watching, reading, and listening to.
- Yes, some progression has been made.
- But, there’s still so much work that needs to be done.