By Stacy Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
I know we’ve all had a really terrible week, and it feels a bit discordant to read frivolous pop culture news. But I hope this column gives you a break from the heaviness.
White people get pissed about term “bamboo ceiling,” which sounds like something they’d do
Asian reporter Rebecca Sun wrote a headline in the Hollywood Reporter that said “Diverse Oscars field sees Asian actors shatter the bamboo ceiling” and a whole lotta white people got really uppity about it because they didn’t realize that bamboo ceiling is legit a term coined by author (and Asian person) Jane Hyun, who used the term to describe how hard it is for Asian Americans to get into leadership positions in big companies.
Instead, these woke white people who don’t know that much about Asian stuff and aren’t great at checking bylines were like, “Bamboo ceiling! Oh, because they are Asian? How dare you! Racist!”
To her credit, Sun responded in a super chill and super classy way. She tweeted, “Hi! I wrote that headline (and the story). My editor, who is not Asian, was worried about it, but it’s a conscious choice I made to reference the phrase’s usage in the corporate world (the difficulty Asian executives have in breaking through to upper management).”
Anyway, the Hollywood Reporter has since changed that headline to something white people won’t get mad about on behalf of people of color because we must always, always, always center white ignorance and white comfort and do workarounds for white #fakefacts.
OMG watch “Young Rock” right now
Man, the most charismatic former pro-wrestler on Earth and my fave “Fast & Furious” franchise cast member, Dwayne Johnson, has a new sitcom out called “Young Rock.” It’s nostalgic—like “Wonder Years” or “Everybody Hates Chris”—but featuring Pacific Islanders like we’ve never seen before (which is easy because we don’t see enough Pacific Islanders on TV!).
“Young Rock” stars Adrian Groulx, Bradley Constant, Uli Latukefu (in a star-making performance, I hope!), Stacey Leilua, Joseph Lee Anderson, Ana Tuisila, and a fave, Randall Park.
Whenever I watch this show, I marvel at how Johnson is aging so gracefully and how he keeps so fit, and I sheepishly pick up so many new things about Samoan American culture and identity that I really should already know.
Jon M. Chu bringing “Wicked” to the silver screen
You may know Jon M. Chu for “Crazy Rich Asians,” but I fondly know him for his work on two Justin Bieber biopics. And he is bringing his talent for putting music on the big screen toward adapting one of Broadway’s biggest musical hits, “Wicked.”
For those of you who don’t know (how can you not know!), “Wicked” is a show based on “The Wizard of Oz” tales, but subverted, told from the point of view of the “wicked” witch (get it?). Its songs are some headbangers, it’s won about a gazillion awards, and I know Chu’s version is going to be luxurious and beautiful and colorful. Can’t wait!
Keanu’s “BRZRKR” coming to Netflix—though not soon enough
Um, outside of being “the One” and peddling really cool custom motorcycles, Keanu Reeves (who is of Chinese and Native Hawaiian descent) is apparently also a comic book writer. Dude, I love this guy’s depth.
His series from Boom Studios, “BRZRKR,” is about an immortal human weapon deployed by the U.S. military—with a bleeding conscience. The 12-issue series is ultra-violent—and Netflix is going to bring that feast for our eyes to its streaming platform.
Reeves will play the titular character (yay), and while I’m not sure when we can expect it, I know that what we can expect is some more dope John Wick-esque shit—hopefully without a sad dog storyline though.
Two ‘store’ shows I’m sad to say goodbye to: “Kim’s Convenience” and “Superstore”
In a landscape that doesn’t see an enormous amount of TV shows that prominently feature Asian cast members, it’s really bittersweet (and also very funny) that we have to say goodbye to two shows that are set in stores.
“Kim’s Convenience” will say bye after its fifth season, which finishes airing on April 13. “Kim’s Convenience” is about a Korean Canadian family living in Toronto, who run a convenience store. The show stars Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Jean Yoon, Andrea Bang, Simu Liu, Andrew Phung, and Nicole Power.
“Superstore” ends tonight! (If you are reading this on Thursday, that is!). After six seasons, the NBC sitcom is closing its doors. The show is about a rag-tag multicultural group of employees who work at a soulless big box store that is a lot like Walmart. Its API cast members include Nico Santos, Nichole Sakura, Kaliko Kauahi, and Jon Miyahara.
Ken Jeong donates $50,000 to families of Atlanta-area shooting victims
Ken Jeong donated $10,000 each to the GoFundMe campaigns for the families of Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Xiaojie Tan, and Yong Yue. He also shared the campaigns on his social media and a video of himself and other Asian American actors calling for an end to anti-Asian hate. He has also addressed the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes on a recent appearance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”
“Enough is enough,” said Jeong on the show. “We’re just fed up.”
Stacy Nguyen can be reached at email@example.com.