The Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE) celebrated its 25th anniversary with a star-studded gala in Los Angeles Saturday night.
“The Walking Dead’s” Steven Yeun, “Hawaii Five-0’s” Grace Park, and Daniel Dae Kim, as well as the casts of “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Dr. Ken” were just some of the celebrities in attendance at the Belasco Theater.
CAPE co-founder Wenda Fong says the organization’s mission has grown to “educate, connect, and empower people already in the industry but more importantly, the next generation.”
Despite increased visibility of Asians and Pacific Islanders on the small and big screen, Asians are still underrepresented. Whitewashing — having Caucasian actors playing Asian roles — is still practiced, something the upcoming “Doctor Strange” found itself in controversy for. Several of the attendees cited the progress African-Americans have made through outspoken talent and box office spending.
“African-Americans have come into their own, but I still think Asian-Americans are underserved in film and television,” actress Tia Carrere explained on the red carpet. “Whether you’re Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, we have to come together as a united front and show Hollywood we are a solid demographic. We are monied, educated, and we spend.”
“The black community is very vocal. So maybe noise helps,” added “Arrow” star Byron Mann. “[Emmy Award-winning writer] Alan Yang, we need people like him — writers, producers, originating content.”
Director Jon M. Chu, whose adaptation of “Crazy Rich Asians” was just picked up by Warner Bros., agreed. “The studios need to get their head out of their ass. There is a plethora of content and actors and audience that want to see this material, and not just Asian people. 90% of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ readers were Caucasian.”
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