By Stacy Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
Man, I don’t have much snark for you in this column, and I am disappointed in myself too. Here’s a bunch of earnestness, sigh!
OMG, there are so many Asians at the Met Gala now! Mom, we’ve made it!
This year’s Met Gala theme was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” and it seems like something broad enough to either really shine in or be super lackluster and boring in. I’m sure if you follow the Met Gala, you already have a lot of your own opinions on which outfits slayed and which ones were like yawwwn, but you haven’t heard my hot take. So here we go.
Naomi Osaka — I love it when people go all out at the Met Gala and wear something super daring versus something brainlessly pretty. Naomi Osaka really went for it. There are layers and layers of stories and thought that went into her look, and I love that it takes time to analyze and pore over. Beautiful!
CL — I love how this South Korean music artist is not American but yet seems to really get America. I love the tighty whities. Love the buckets of denim. Love the styling.
Gemma Chan — At first I was seriously like, “WTF is this Dragon Lady dress?” and then I realized she did it on purpose and was like, whoa, the ovaries on Gemma Chan. Love the reclamation.
Mindy Kaling — Hello, purple-blue prom dress.
Sunisa Lee — A gymnast and gold medalist, who wore a gold-upon-gold-upon-gold dress. It’s too on the nose, man. And are YOU also getting some American imperialist vibes from how reverently and non-ironically gold this dress is? Just me? Okay.
Rosé Park — She’s a YSL brand ambassador and not-coincidentally wore a Saint Laurent dress. She wore it like she’s just aiight on her job. She wore it like she had to show up and work a customer service shift.
It’s official, Ke Huy Quan is back! Goonies never say die!
For those of you not born in the 80s, Ke Huy Quan played Richard “Data” Wang in the movie, “The Goonies,” the greatest treasure-hunt-slash-coming-of-age film of all time. (I haven’t seen it in like, 20 years, by the way, so it only lives on in my mind’s eye. I’m open to the possibility that I am wrong and it hasn’t aged well.) From what I remember though, Data had an adorable lisp and was a really talented inventor that leaned into semi-violent hijinks and was an inspiration to Asian kids of the time who never ever saw themselves on TV or in movies ever.
Quan, the actor, also starred in a little movie called “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” in the 80s before he stopped appearing on screen and transitioned to a career as a stunt choreographer. Americans didn’t see him for almost 30 years,until “Finding Ohana” earlier this year, where he took on the role of George Phan!
And just in case you thought it was a fluke, Quan has another movie coming out soonish, “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” a sci-fi movie also starring Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis.
I can’t wait!
‘Doogie Kameāloha, M.D’ is cool and all, but why is the lead not Hawaiian?
Guys, you know how in comedy, the general rule of thumb is that you can punch up but you probably shouldn’t punch down—that is, you can mock and joke about those with more privilege to get the laugh but you probably shouldn’t mock those who are more systematically vulnerable and disempowered than your demographics?
Well, I feel like this principle extends to Hollywood casting. Like, it’s cool to cast Idris Elba as Heimdall because he’s a Black man taking on a role that has been traditionally written as white—but it’s not cool to cast Emma Stone as a based-on-real-life character named Allison Ng because that is punching down (a white person taking away a job that should’ve been given to a person of color).
So I don’t quite understand why we’re still casting half-white people in so many of the POC roles when there are like, more POC-y POCs they could be casting.
Peyton Elizabeth Lee, who is half Chinese and half white, plays the lead role in ‘Doogie Kameāloha, M.D.’ Her character, Lahela “Lee” Kameāloha, is a medical prodigy and is also supposed to be Native Hawaiian. Lee, the actor, is not Hawaiian at all.
But maybe I’m splitting hairs here. What do you think? Is this not that big of a deal?
Here’s an inelegant segue to some people doing this stuff in better style:
Yo, ‘Reservation Dogs’ is sooo good!
“Reservation Dogs” is brilliant! And it is an FX on Hulu comedy series created by Sterlin Harjo, a member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, and Taika Waititi, who is Jewish and Maori and also the best Marvel superhero movie director of all time.
For their show, Harjo and Waititi pulled together an all Indigenous writing team, hiring only Indigenous directors.
The cast and production team of this show is also close to 100% Indigenous.
So I’m saying, I dunno why it’s so hard to find just one Native Hawaiian … (I’m shrugging sarcastically right now. Imagine it.)
Who dat Asian? JK, I know who it is. It’s Diana Bang!
Right now, a small screen adaptation of acclaimed comic series, “Y: The Last Man,” is rolling out new episodes every week and recently, we were lucky enough to be in the presence of Diana Bang, who plays Dr. Allsion Mann, a researcher who might be the only person in the world who might have some understanding about why all mammals on Earth with a Y chromosome spontaneously died at the same time—except for one cisgender man and his monkey! It’s a provocative concept and an interesting show to watch.
And Diana Bang is so fun to watch in this role! After seeing her play a North Korean propagandist in “The Interview” with no self-consciousness, I’ve been anticipating how her career continues to grow. I’m glad she’s doing really cool stuff.
Stacy can be reached at email@example.com.