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Lucy Liu Reflects On Her Career As An Asian-American Actress


Actress, director, and visual artist Lucy Liu wrote a piece for the Washington Post reflecting on the highlights of her career as an Asian-American actress, the characters she played, and discusses some of the struggles that Asian-Americans have faced historically. In summary:

- Growing up the only Asian faces she saw on TV were Jack Soo from “Barney Miller,” George Takei in “Star Trek”, and actress Anne Miyamoto from the Calgon fabric softener commercial

- Says when she was a kid she and her friends would play and pretend they were Charlie's Angels and that she never dreamed she'd eventually be an Angel in a film

- Regarding her role as Alex Munday in Charlie's Angels, she says, “I feel fortunate to have “moved the needle” a little with some mainstream success, but it is circumscribed, and there is still much further to go. Progress in advancing perceptions on race in this country is not linear; it’s not easy to shake off nearly 200 years of reductive images and condescension.”

- Talks about how the first Chinese woman to have immigrated to the United States, Afong Moy, was a one-person traveling sideshow, showing off her traditional Chinese dress and tiny feet the size of an infant's (because they had been bound), and would sing traditional Chinese songs for American audiences. In France, chinoiserie and toile fabrics “literally turned Chinese people into decorative objects,” and Liu says that today the AAPI community are constrained by a more figurative box than the one Moy performed in but that our box is every bit as real and confining

- Expresses unhappiness at the way her character O-Ren Ishii was labelled a “dragon lady” by a recent Teen Vogue article on Hollywood's perpetuation of Asian-American stereotypes. “Why not call Uma Thurman, Vivica A. Fox or Daryl Hannah a dragon lady?” Liu asks, further stating that she believes the only reason the other three female protagonists, who are also assassins, are not deemed “dragon ladies” is because they aren't Asian and therefore seen as Other.

- Talks about how Anna May Wong lost roles to white actors in yellowface and was also banned from performing with white actors because of anti-miscengenation laws

- “Hollywood frequently imagines a more progressive world than our reality; it’s one of the reasons “Charlie’s Angels” was so important to me. As part of something so iconic, my character Alex Munday normalized Asian identity for a mainstream audience and made a piece of Americana a little more inclusive.”

- States that Asian-Americans and Asians face stereotypes that are not only constraining but also deadly, as “The man who killed eight spa workers in Atlanta, six of them Asian, claimed he is not racist. Yet he targeted venues staffed predominantly by Asian workers and said he wanted to eliminate a source of sexual temptation he felt he could not control. This warped justification both relies on and perpetuates tropes of Asian women as sexual objects.”

- Ends with “How can we grow as a society unless we take a brutal and honest look at our collective history of discrimination in America? It’s time to Exit the Dragon.”



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from Oh No They Didn't! https://ift.tt/3eCKmac

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