Constance Wu plays Rachel Chu, the Chinese-American girlfriend of the charming Nick Young (Henry Golding), in Jon M. Chu’s Crazy Rich Asians, a romantic comedy based on Kevin Kwan’s 2013 best seller.Sanja Bucko/Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Asians are among the smallest minority groups in the Magic City. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Asians in Miami-Dade County was 1.6 percent in 2010. The national percentage of Asians is approximately 5 percent. So representation of Asians in Miami is lacking, to say the least.
The film Crazy Rich Asiansopens today nationwide, including Miami. Based on Kevin Kwan’s novel of the same name, the film marks a historical moment as the first contemporary-set studio production since 1993's The Joy Luck Club to feature a majority Asian-American cast. It’s been 25 years, so Asian-Americans are excited about this long-overdue representation.
Asians in Miami, such as myself, might be feeling that excitement even more intensely. We're hoping for the film’s box office success to show Hollywood that our stories matter. This isn’t to say the film is perfect. There are issues with stereotyping that perpetuate the myth of the model minority. But what’s at stake here is representation in Hollywood and popular media. Nuanced characterization and innovative story can come later.
And, really, who can resist an escapist guilty-pleasure rom-com about the lifestyles of the crazy rich? That's just one of the many reasons Miamians should show up to see Crazy Rich Asians this weekend. 1. The Miami connection. To promote the film, Crazy Rich Asians stars Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, and Jimmy Yang visited the Wynwood food hall 1-800-Lucky this past July 31. The location was chosen presumably because Miami lacks an Asian neighborhood such as a Chinatown, Koreatown, or Japantown. So if you’d like to have another Asian experience in Miami outside of dining at 1-800-Lucky, Tropical Chinese, and sushi restaurants, go see the film on the silver screen.
2. We'll be there.Because of the sparse 1 percent population, it’s rare to encounter Asians in Miami (unless they’re tourists). But you know we'll pack the theaters for opening weekend. In addition to seeing the Asians onscreen, you'll have the chance to mingle — respectfully, please — with people of diverse backgrounds and traditions who probably aren't usually part of your social circle.
3. Get lit(erary).Kevin Kwan, the author of the book Crazy Rich Asians, will stop at the Books & Books in Coral Gables Friday, September 21, as part of his book tour. Get hyped for his appearance and prep for a Q&A by watching the film and reading the book.
4. Star power. See amazing Asian actors such as Constance Wu, Awkwafina, and Ken Jeong crush it in lead roles that shatter Asian stereotypes. They’ll play complex characters other than the token Asian mathlete, computer programmer, prostitute, vapid love interest, foreigner, or best friend who serves only to support a usually white lead. You’ll get the opportunity to see Asian actors not subject to tokenism, parody, or bland character acting.
5. Be an ally.Support your Asian friends and colleagues. No, buying a movie ticket won't end racism. But watching Crazy Rich Asians and talking about it with us means you care about seeing Asian faces and hearing Asian voices in popular media. And that matters.
6. End #HollywoodSoWhite. Send a message to Hollywood that you care about diversity in popular media. Combat whitewashing and systemic bias against Asians by giving your time and money to see this film with a nearly all-Asian cast. Support the film by watching it and participating in sustaining a dialogue about it beyond its release.
7. You might learn something.Expand your knowledge of Asian culture beyond the reduced representation seen in some TV shows, films, and American news media. Because the film is based in Singapore, seeing Crazy Rich Asians also will also give you the opportunity to familiarize yourself with Asian countries other than China, Korea, and Japan.
8. Awkwafina! Have you seen the trailer? You need to see how rapper and actress Awkwafina pulls off that hairdo and character.
9. Witness the bling.The film’s budget was a whopping $20 million, a high price for a romantic comedy. A hefty portion of that money went toward the film’s opulent look — the movie is about crazy rich people, after all. See the film to witness the lavish set design and costuming.
10. Help make history. All races and ethnicities deserve a voice in the United States and throughout the world. We’d appreciate if you’d support Asians being heard in a country where we’re often made to feel like perpetual foreigners. Let’s get Crazy Rich Asians to break box office records this weekend.
Crazy Rich Asiansopens Wednesday, August 15, in theaters nationwide.
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