As a lot of other people have written already, it’s going to be hard for Hollywood not to take notice of the fact that a big tent pole picture with a mostly non-white cast can be hugely successful. Will this lead to studios suddenly populating their films with brown, black and yellow people (yes, I’m looking at you Akira)? Maybe not right away. But in an industry that often “copies” what’s already been successful, it’s definitely not going to be business as usual. And we know there’s at least one Asian American director now who actually cares about the community and has a lot more clout now to do what he wants. And that’s significant.
Hollywood has always been behind the rest of the arts when it comes to reflecting the world in which we live. You look at other fields like music where out and proud Asian Americans like our friends Far East Movement and Bruno Mars are at the top of their game and it’s clear it’s only a matter of time before the movies have to start reflecting that reality too or it’ll go the way of fax machines, VHS and CDs. Hopefully, the success of something like Fast Five will give Hollywood a big push in the right direction.
But where this reality is truly reflected is online where the young and Asian American generation of YouTube stars like Wong Fu, KevJumba and Ryan Higa are already the rock stars and pioneers. I know there are people (usually “old” folks on the other side of 25) who dismiss these guys as passing fads who will be unable to cross over into the “mainstream.” But I think those people are going to be eating their words if history is any indication.
- Excerpted from “What Does the Success of ‘Fast Five’ Mean for Asian Americans?,” on You Offend Me, You Offend My Family