In the concentrated pool of LGBT media, there’s an even more concentrated chunk for people of color. It might not be surprising, but it can be potentially more hurtful when you’re ignored by a smaller community.
Representation can seem so little yet mean so much in many different ways. Nichelle Nicols was one of the first leading black women on tv. She inspired Mae Jemison, the first black woman who traveled into actual space!
As much as I would love to see more Filipino stories and receive that validation, I can’t not cheer for the representation for fellow members of the race. I imagine that it’s incredibly hard to get not just queer or not just Asian films produced but BOTH?!? People of color as three-dimensional characters!? So I really appreciate B.D. Wong and George Takei, perhaps lending some of their name and starpower to these stories that I just happen to find at my local library.
I saw an ad for Eat With Me before another film and saw Takei in it. Perhaps a studio would prefer I not say, but he is barely in it. Eat With Me is literally that awkward moment. A mom is having problems with her husband, she’s crashing with her son who is gay, not that she has a problem with that, but…
Honestly, I think this portrayal of Asian-America with the lack of accents, their relationship issues and not to mention money problems for the son, as well as the non-extremist, homophobic parent is a breath of fresh air. However, it feels very much like a first movie not only with the acting but the script. “Mom, I know how much this restaurant I’ve been working at for years means to you because it was your brother’s.” “What? Naw.”
White Frog is not without awkwardness, but it’s 100 times better probably just because of experience. There are quite a few recognizable faces in the cast. Not only is there a popular, gay Asian character, there is an Asian character with Asperger’s which I don’t think I’ve ever even seen before.
The parents of these characters (Wong and Joan Chen) are also very interesting. They don’t seem to have accents, seem to be rich and have anglicized or American names. And to this namesake is their demeanor. They want everything to be incredibly normal, average, but perfect.
It’s a very classic American conflict (It’s not my dream, Dad!), but it reminds me of what Kerry Washington said about her role in Django Unchained: “I felt like the black woman, as the princess in the tower who is rescued, is an archetype we haven’t been able to enjoy.” It’s become common enough to be an archetype or pattern, but apparently only for whites. And that kind of bananery perpetuates a cycle of media owners and therefore media consumers not being able to see POC beyond stereotypes.
Anyway how great was it to see B.D. Wong play a dad? I think these movies are important, so see them and share them. They can mean something completely different to someone else. Additionally, not only did they star Asian folk, but they were also heavily made by them, so credit and such would go back to the community which can be used to evolve these stories!!!
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