Asian Americans in arts and entertainment

Asian Americans in arts and entertainment

Asian Americans have been involved in the entertainment industry since the first half of the 19th century, when Chang and Eng Bunker (the original "Siamese Twins") became naturalized citizens. [gb icon [ We Are Siamese Twins-Fai的分裂生活 ] ] Acting roles in television, film, and theater have been relatively few, and many available roles are for narrow, stereotypical characters. Early Asian American actors such as Sessue Hayakawa, Anna May Wong, and Bruce Lee encountered a movie-making culture that wanted to cast them as caricatures.

Lee abandoned Hollywood and achieved world-wide fame in Hong Kong. In 1965, frustrated with the limited opportunities given to them, actors Mako, James Hong, Beulah Quo, Pat Li, and June Kim, together with Guy Lee and Yet Lock, formed East West Players (EWP), an Asian American theater company in Los Angeles – the first of its kind. They produced their own shows to allow Asian American actors the opportunity to perform a wide range of leading roles. As the need still exists, EWP continues today. Dozens of other Asian American theater companies have since formed in major cities throughout the United States.


Through the 1960s and 1970s, there have been limited successes by some actors: George Takei and Pat Morita became well-known from secondary roles in Star Trek and Happy Days, two of the most well-known series of the period. Miyoshi Umeki won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1957 for "Sayonara" and Haing Ngor won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1985 for The Killing Fields. Margaret Cho won the American Comedy Award for Best Female Comedian in 1994.

Asians continue to be underrepresented in both film and televisionfact|date=March 2008. The 1957 novel "Flower Drum Song" is based on the San Francisco nightclub Forbidden City. Rodgers and Hammerstein adapted it into a musical that was produced on Broadway in 1958 and on film in 1961. Largely remembered for the hit song "I Enjoy Being A Girl", it would not be produced with an all-Asian cast until a 2002 Broadway revival.

The late Thuy Trang is probably a familiar face to many children and young adults for her role as Trini Kwan, the original yellow ranger, in the hit youth television show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

Disney's "Mulan", a 1998 animated film set in China, cast many non-Asians in prominent roles.

Hospital TV dramas tend to have very few Asian American characters, although Asian Americans work in numerous positions in U.S. medicinefact|date=March 2008. "ER" only has one East Asian character (Ming-Na). A contemporary major city hospital would likely have several Asian Americans on staff (but Chicago doesn't have a large Asian American population). Sandra Oh won several awards for her role in "Grey's Anatomy".

While Asian American men win few leading roles in movies or television, Asian American women have better opportunities in the entertainment industry. The casting of Asian men as stereotypical comic relief (in "nerd" or "star student" roles) has contributed to the popularity of William Hung as one of the most recognizable Asian American performers. He "starred" in his poor performance on an American Idol audition and Masi Oka did the same in "Heroes". Daniel Dae Kim has achieved some recognition as a sex symbol from his role on "Lost", openly gay theater and film actor B. D. Wong joined the "" cast after his role in the HBO prison series "Oz", and Kal Penn and John Cho starred in "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle", which became a popular teen comedy. Its lead characters defied the stereotype of studious, responsible, and repressed Asian American teenagers. In the past, the arrival of the new fall TV season usually meant another opportunity to gripe about the lack of Asian American representation on the air. But recently, with shows like Heroes and Lost (tv series), Asian faces are becoming more commonplace. Yet, there is much room for improvement. [ [ "Fall TV Season Peek"] . AsianWeek. Retrieved on 2008-09-30.]

Please note that the actors Naveen Andrews and Parminder Nagra, who star in "Lost" and "ER" respectively are actually Asians Britons.


(See Asian American films)


Notable works of architecture were designed by Asian Americans, such as the Louvre Pyramid (I.M. Pei), the World Trade Center (Minoru Yamasaki), and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial(Maya Lin). In commercial architecture, Gyo Obata is a founding partner of HOK.


In literature, Asia American writers have received numerous top awards. Women writers have been particularly prominent in being recognized for their work of telling a wide range of stories of immigrant experience, changing cultures and other aspects of Asian American imagination. They span continents, eras and points of view. Maxine Hong Kingston won the National Book Critics Circle award in 1976 for her memoir "The Woman Warrior". Bharati Mukherjee won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1988 for her short story collection "The Middleman and Other Stories". Chang-Rae Lee received the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for his novel "Native Speaker" (1995). Amy Tan has received popular acclaim for her work and had a novel produced as a film. Jhumpa Lahiri received a 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her short story collection "The Interpreter of Maladies". Kiran Desai won the Man Booker Prize (2006) and National Book Critics Circle Award (2006) for her second novel "The Inheritance of Loss". Her mother Anita Desai has been nominated for major awards for her novels. Naomi Hirahara won a 2007 Edgar Award for her novel "Snakeskin Shamisen".


Faris McReynolds is a Los Angeles-based artist and musician.

Graphic artists

Jim Lee is considered to be one of the most popular comic book artists and is one of the founders of Image Comics. Adrian Tomine's cartoons are featured in The New Yorker.


Asian-American success in the music world is disproportionate between genresfact|date=March 2008. In classical music, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and conductor Zubin Mehta are significant figures. In popular music, however, Asian-Americans are severely underrepresented.

Asian-Americans (or people with partial Asian descent) play in a handful of rock bands, including The Smashing Pumpkins's guitarist James Iha, Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda, and Joseph Hahn, Kim Thayil the lead guitarist of Soundgarden, Kirk Hammett of Metallica, O.A.R.'s Richard On and Hoobastank's lead singer Doug Robb and former member Derek Kwan. The famous surf rock guitarist and pioneer of the electric guitar Dick Dale is also Asian, he is of Lebanese decent. Mike Park is prominent in the independent music sphere as a member of Skankin' Pickle, The Bruce Lee Band, and The Chinkees, as well as being the founder of Asian Man Records.

In mainstream hip-hop and R&B, Asian-Americans are even more poorly representedfact|date=March 2008. A few notable examples are Amerie, a notable R&B singer, The Black Eyed Peas', and Jin, the first Asian-American to be signed to a major record label. There are many more Asian-Americans represented in local hip-hop scenes, including rising acts like the Blue Scholars.

Asian American jazz is a musical movement in the United States begun in the 20th century by Asian American jazz musicians that has produced a number of very prominent musicians.


ee also

*Asian American theatre
*Asian American Dance Theatre
*Asian American Arts Centre
*List of Asian Academy Award winners and nominees

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