2018 promotes Asian empowerment

December 10, 2018 — by Eileen Bui

Chloe Kim lands gold

Feb. 13: At the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea, 17-year-old Chloe Kim made history by being the youngest woman to win an Olympic gold medal in snowboarding. Before the 2018 Winter Olympics, Kim was a four-time X Games gold medalist and the first woman to win two gold medals in snowboarding at the Youth Olympic Games. Kim is a Korean-American with parents who immigrated to the U.S. from South Korea. Kim’s win was a step forward in increasing Asian representation in sports.       

 

“Crazy Rich Asians” hits it big

Aug. 15: The movie “Crazy Rich Asians” was released, earning $235 million and becoming the highest grossing romantic comedy in a decade as well as the sixth-highest grossing movie ever. Rarely are Asian romantic comedies a success in mainstream Western media; however, according to The Hollywood Reporter, about 60 percent of the movie’s audience was of non-Asian. 

The movie contains an all-Asian cast as well as an Asian director, Jon Chu. The characters are not portrayed as the stereotypical brainy, quiet Asian that many other films depict, inspiring the public to move away from stereotypes. Multiple producers had approached the novel’s author, Kevin Kwan, to make the main character, Rachel Chu, white; he spurned these choices and made a statement with the movie’s success.

 

“To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” succeeds with an Asian female lead 

Aug. 17: The movie “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” was released on Netflix, representing another step forward in Asian representation in the entertainment industry with its Asian main character Lara Jean Covey, played by Vietnamese actress Lana Condor. “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” is one of Netflix’s most streamed original films and is seen as one of very few successful Asian romantic comedies. Numerous producers attempted to whitewash the film by making Lara Jean white; however, Jennifer Han, author of the book “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” declined those offers, insisting that the character be Asian. 

Naomi Osaka wins U.S. Open in tennis

Sept. 8: At the 2018 tennis U.S. Open, Naomi Osaka represented Japan and defeated Serena Williams for the title of champion in the women’s singles. Osaka is now ranked fifth in the world. Previously, Osaka won the Indian Wells Open and made it to the third round in both Wimbledon and the French Open. 

On her way to the top Osaka has faced numerous hardships, specifically racism. After her win at the U.S. Open, a cartoonist depicted her as white, completely disregarding her Haitian and Japanese heritage. Despite the difficulties, Osaka’s win at the U.S. Open was another success for Asian women representation in sports.       

BTS Burns the Stage with new documentary

Nov. 15: Korean boy band BTS released a documentary, “Burn The Stage: The Movie,” which follows their lives on tour. The movie sold nearly 1 million pre-sale tickets and has reportedly grossed about $14 million. Additionally, it can be seen across 17 territories and had reached No. 10 in the U.S. box office. Throughout 2018, BTS has become more and more prominent, gaining an abundance of followers and raising Asian representation in both the media and the music industry.     

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