Earlier this week, the trailer for Crazy Rich Asians dropped and Twitter went insane. I mean, it's to be expected because so much is riding on this movie. It's the first all-Asian cast movie in 25 YEARS. The last time this happened was back when The Joy Luck Club came out. Most people were really excited but there were some detractors that were criticizing the book and the film very heavily.
They were criticizing the book and the film for perpetuating the Asian model minority myth and for ignoring the very real labor that Southeast Asians have to do in order for wealthy Singaporeans to live the comfortable lives that they live. I think those criticisms are valid, generally speaking, but this just isn't that kind of story.
As I pointed out in a previous blog post about Crazy Rich Asians, no one movie should be expected to cover every single hot button topic at once. I think movies do much better when they tackle one thing only. In this case, it's normalizing Asians by casting them in every single role. This movie is a big deal for Asian Americans and I wish I had something just like it when I was a teenager. I really hope it leads to more Asian-centered movies and more movies written and directed by Asians as well. Of course it's not perfect but I think it should be seen as a stepping stone for broader Asian representation in western entertainment and that's why it's important for Asian Americans to support it and go see it. Buy the tickets pre-sale, show up at the theaters opening weekend, and encourage others to see it too. If you want more Asian stories to be told and you want Asian actors to be cast, then it's really money that's the deciding factor there.
Instead of joining in all the criticism of the book and film, I decided to post a Twitter thread highlighting a bunch of other Asian-centered books written by Asian authors as alternatives to Crazy Rich Asians. The thread went viral and got picked up by Buzzfeed News and they invited me onto their show this morning to talk more about the movie and that thread.
Here is the Twitter thread that started it all. Click on the image to see the entire 23-part thread