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Hollywood's New Asian Actress: Emma Stone

Hollywood's New Asian Actress: Emma Stone

Hollywood's New Asian Actress: Emma Stone

This past May, Cameron Crowe’s anticipated film, Aloha, hit theaters. Of course it’s easy to be blinded by the star-studded cast, with Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, John Krasinski, Alec Baldwin, Bill Murray, and Danny McBride - what’s there not to like!? Except there’s one problem... Emma Stone plays a character named “Allison Ng” , who’s supposed to be quarter Hawaiian and a quarter Chinese. Yeah, I definitely see it.

Hollywood has been known for being a predominantly white-male industry ever since its conception at the beginning of the 20th century. But in 2015, one would expect some sort of shift away from this exclusive framework, right? Wrong. This past March The Academy Awards show was declared as “The Whitest Oscars since 1998”, in regards to the demographic of the Oscar nominees!

So, it really should come to no surprise that Crowe chose to cast the girl-next-door actress, Emma Stone, over any just-as-qualified Asian actress (Kelly Hu comes to mind). In fact, the film itself takes place in Hawaii, yet Crowe still manages to whitewash the entire movie: his exclusion of Native Hawaiians in the casting is merely the tip of the iceberg. According to Fusion, Asian characters comprise a stereotypical 6.6 percent of characters on Network TV, despite how many of these shows are set in New York City, which in reality is 12 percent Asian, and California, whose percentage is 15.

Asian erasure has become so normalized in American entertainment that any complaints over it have sort of faded into the background. This should not be. In an interview with Fusion, Fresh Off the Boat actress Gwendoline Yeo stated: “We need more DPs, more directors, more writers . . .  more people of color can write their stories, they’re going to attract an authentic cast.”

We must encourage and uplift our Asian brothers and sisters, and people of color, in general, if we want to see the change we wish for.


Alethia is a sophomore student at New York University, majoring in Social and Cultural Analysis as well as minoring in Astronomy and Spanish. She's grown up in both California and North Carolina, born to a Black American mother and Nigerian father. Alethia is passionate about social justice and equality in all its branches (gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.), immigration reform, the environment, and space stuff (because that's always cool). She enjoys listening to Kpop, watching action films, online shopping, and reading. Although she is not quite sure about what she wants to do with her life just yet, Alethia would love to spend it traveling the world and helping the global community in any way she can.


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