2018 has been a year filled with amazing breakthrough for Asians stars. From artists like BTS and Jay Park who are gaining popularity outside of Asia to the immense success of Crazy Rich Asians has had,we are finally seeing some progress in representation for Asians in the Western media. Here are six times Asian entertainers have grabbed the spotlight in both music and television/movies.
CL earns her first role in an American film
Lee Cha-rin, also known as CL, was once the leader of one of South Korea’s biggest girl groups, 2NE1. After their disbandment in 2016, she has actively been working with Scooter Braun to release new music . GZBs, CL’s name for her fandom, were excited to see that CL would have her first role ever in an American movie. Despite the role being a minor one, the K-pop community definitely applauds CL for scoring such a role on her own. Keep a look out for CL’s solo album, and check out her songs “Lifted” and “Hello Bit***s”!
Sandra Oh becomes the first Asian woman to be nominated for an Emmy
Previously, Sandra Oh had been nominated for her role as Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy five times for best supporting actress. In 2018, Oh becomes the first Asian to be nominated for lead actress in a drama series for her role as Eve Polastri on the show Killing Eve. It’s a bit alarming that this is the first time in the award ceremony’s 69 years of existence that an Asian female is being nominated for best lead actress, but what else would you have expected from an entertainment industry that would rather whitewash Asian characters and limit Asian actors from playing major roles.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before shares the love story of an Asian (Korean American) teenage girl
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before received major support for its depiction of an Asian American female as the main character of a teen film. When talking about her role as Lara Jean in TATBILB, Lana Condor told The Cut that “I’ve never been given the opportunity to be the lead in a rom com- for loads of reasons but including the way I look. People in Hollywood defer to what they know, which is a white lead, particularly in romantic comedies.” With the immense love To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before has received, the cast has excitedly announced the possibility of a sequel in the future.
Crazy Rich Asians has a full Asian cast
The Crazy Rich Asians movie garnered much deserved love and respect for being the first Hollywood studio film centered on an Asian-American character’s story in over 25 years, the last one being The Joy Luck Club. This film has made its mark as being a movie that celebrates and embraces Asian culture. It is definitely in the forefront of influential movies that shares such a beautiful concept while showcasing representation.
Jay Park becomes Roc Nation’s first Asian Artist
Park Jaebeom, or better known as Jay Park, is a Korean American singer, songwriter, producer, dancer, rapper and CEO of AOMG and H1GHR Music. In July he signed with Roc Nation, becoming the label’s first Asian Artist. When asked about being the first Asian artist under Jay-Z’s label, Jay Park told Style,”I’m representing Asians and hip hop.” Jay Park released his first song under Roc Nation titled “Soju” featuring 2 Chainz on Jun. 14, 2018.
BTS continues to set records in the Western market
BTS, also known as Beyond The Scene as of 2017, have become one of the leading K-pop groups in South Korea known for their meaningful concepts and lyrics. At the 2018 Billboard Music Awards, BTS won the Social Artist Award and performed their title track “Fake Love” from their album Love Yourself: Tear, making them the first Korean artist to do so. They also became the first K-pop group to debut at number one on Billboard 200 with their album Love Yourself: Tear, making the album the first foreign-language album in more than 12 years to accomplish this.