The American culture dominates American society. The media we consume consists mostly of hetero-normative content. As time goes by, more and more inclusivity has been achieved in terms of culture, music, television, fashion, sports, and lifestyle.
Let us begin by acknowledging some prominent figures who played a significant role in representation. The first being Bruce Lee. He is an icon for many reasons, such as his wicked martial arts skills and acting. Although his roles were somewhat stereotypical, they allowed viewers to see him and Asian culture differently
Yao Ming was the first foreign athlete to become a number 1 draft pick back in 2002. The former Houston Rockets player was known for his lengthy stature, measuring up to 7’6 inches in height. Ming’s English wasn’t the best, but as he began to do more press conferences, his language became better. People took notice and were eager to hear him speak.
Movies, Music, and Television
When it comes to movies, Asians are often marginalized and presented with unfair stereotypes. Some of the more specific tropes that become evident over time are Asians knowing martial arts, being a store owner, or the typical Asian nerd. There are many more, but these are the most common. As we fast forward in time, the representation of this community is more apparent. Crazy Rich Asians became one of the biggest movies in the world with an all-Asian cast. The movie was nominated for many awards and even nominated for a Golden Globe. The parasite is another movie that embodied the culture of South Korea with a predominantly Asian cast and consisted of a unique plot calling out the parasitic working class and how the system continues to put you under. The 2010 Census Bureau reported well over 17 million people who identify as Asian, yet the lack of representation throughout history speaks for itself.
Japanese Anime is something that has been a growing force over the past decade. Pokemon, Naruto, and Dragon Ball Z have large fan bases that only continue to grow. I can see the influence of Anime amongst celebrities such as Megan the Stallion or Michael B. Jordan who’s favorite Anime just so happens to be Naruto. Netflix and Hulu now have specific categories and a much wider variety.
Korean rapper, PSY, single-handedly dominated the music industry in 2012 with his hit song Gangnam Style. His influence in music was so powerful that the music video has a whopping 4 billion views. Yes… 4 billion. It also has 21 million likes and only 2.7 million dislikes. Besides PSY, musical groups such as 88 Rising, BTS, and BlackPink consist of all Asian individuals with large fan bases. Especially BTS, who is known for having one of the biggest fan bases there is. More musical groups of Asian descent are being formed because of the rise in popularity.
What does this mean for the future of Asian Culture?
It’s simple. Diversity. With a large influx of influence from East Asia and South Korea, its place in the media is a powerful force. We can expect to see more Anime, representation in film and television as lead roles, along with the rise in Kpop in the United States.