Asian-Americans and persons of Asian descent make up an estimated five percent of the total U.S. population. But it’s estimated that Asian actors make up only about one percent of Hollywood’s leading roles. Now a social media movement called #StarringJohnCho is pushing to open the creative industry to actors of all backgrounds.
CCTV’s Patrice Howard reports.
#StarringJohnCho brings awareness to Hollywood diversity issuesAsian-Americans and persons of Asian descent make up an estimated five percent of the total U.S. population. But it’s estimated that Asian actors make up only about one percent of Hollywood's leading roles. Now a social media movement called #StarringJohnCho is pushing to open the creative industry to actors of all backgrounds. CCTV's Patrice Howard reports.
John Cho as James Bond, Captain America and The Martian. These edited film posters offer a “sneak peek” of a more inclusive Hollywood: swapping out Tinseltown’s typical leading men, to give one Asian American actor his shot at a starring role.
The images are lighthearted, but William Yu, the 25-year-old digital whiz doctoring the designs said challenging Hollywood’s lack of diversity is no laughing matter.
Yu launched #StarringJohnCho, a now viral social media campaign raising awareness about the lack of leading roles available to non-white actors. He featured one of the industry’s few leading Asian actors in the Photoshop generated posters to pull the race card on Hollywood at a turning point.
Hollywood has a long track record of casting white actors in a roles originally written for minority talent, but recent incidents of this so-called “whitewashing” – like casting Scarlett Johansson as Major Kusanagi in the upcoming “Ghost in the Shell” movie- is attracting new backlash.
Some studios argue that movie-goers prefer predominantly white casts.
But recent studies show films with diverse casts result in higher box office numbers, and from 2013 to 2014 minorities bought the majority of tickets for the highest grossing film that year.
Yu says he hopes movie makers take note of his campaign, because if they couldn’t imagine an Asian actor in a leading role before, they no longer have to.
Keith Chow on Asian whitewashing in Hollywood
For more on stereotyping and whitewashing in Hollywood, we were joined by Keith Chow. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of ‘The Nerds of Color,’ a website which focuses on pop culture and diversity in Hollywood.