Constance Wu recently shared her views on acting with an Asian accent during an appearance on “The Kelly Clarkson Show.”
In response, Wu explains that while it has improved over the years, there is still a need to provide more authentic representations of Asian Americans in pop culture.
“I still think the conversation is too focused on positive representation of Asian Americans, and I think that’s another trap,” Wu says. “I don’t think we need positive representation; I think we need whole human representation, which includes our faults, which includes talking about things that are difficult in the community, such as the internalized misogyny that happens.”
Wu further emphasizes the need for “holding each other accountable out of love, you know? Because to just to have an Asian love interest with six-pack abs? Why can’t we have one that doesn’t have six-pack abs? … I mean the point should be that you are loved and worthy as you are with all your flaws, even if you don’t have a six-pack.”
Character with accents: According to Wu, the history of Asian Americans being mocked in popular culture has led to an over-correction in seeking acceptance and coolness.
When I did “Fresh Off the Boat,” people were very mad that my character had an accent. So much so that some actors would say, “I refuse to play any character that has an Asian accent.” And I almost feel like that refusal almost strengthens the antiquated idea that there’s something inherently shameful or buffoonish about an accent.
Drawing from her personal experience being bilingual, Wu points out that accents can actually be a source of pride, signifying the ability to speak multiple languages, which she describes as “friggin cool.”
Creativity over reactivism: Wu then urges fellow artists in the Asian community to make choices that genuinely reflect their identities and experiences.
“Let’s be creative, not reactive,” Wu points out. “Let’s make our own system, and if somebody doesn’t get it, if somebody laughs at the wrong thing… you don’t create art to cater to ignorant people, you create art because it’s out of your soul. So we need the six-packs, but we also need the kegs.”
Wu, who recently welcomed the arrival of her second child
with partner Ryan Kattner, similarly explored the complexities of Asian-American representation in a book she released last year
titled “Making a Scene.”