Portrayals of Asian Male & White Female Relationships
There has been relatively few daring attempts in dealing
with interracial romantic relationships with Asian/Asian
Pacific American males in films throughout history.
Listed below are some prominent and rare examples.
In the early 1900's, isolated films such as Cecil B.
Cheat brought to the screen the feelings of forbidden
love between a White woman and an Asian man.
In the 1950's, Hiroshima
Mon Amour and Crimson
Kimono (in which, James Shigeta won the gorgeous
White female - Victoria Shaw - from his White male co-star)
featured an Asian Male and a White Female in starring
romantic roles in major films!
Pacific, the song "You Have to be Carefully Taught"
highlighted in the film one of the main reason why people
fear interracial romantic situations.
to the Sun, James Shigeta was married to the pretty
Carroll Baker in a daring story during WWII!
In the 1990's, Disney's Johnny
Tsunami was one of the last example of romantic
featured roles featuring an Asian/Asian American male
and a White female.
Is the Asian/Asian Pacific American male and a non-Asian
(White, Black & Hispanic) female romantic relationships
taboo in American
What is your analysis of the
state of Asian Pacific Americans in the entertainment industry?
of the camera, the grade is a “D.” There are very few
Asian Pacific American actors on television and that is something
that has got to change. There has to be a change in the "mind
shift" of executives at networks and studios to really try to
get more Asian Americans in front of the cameras. I believe that is
starting to slowly improve. I think that one is seeing more Asians
appearing in commercials and in television programs, but we’ve
got a long long way to go.
What is your analysis of the state of Asian Pacific Americans in the
entertainment industry “behind the camera?”
I do think
that it is starting to happen, but there is still very few of us.
At NBC, I was
the first Asian American male to be a network executive within my
position. Now there are more Asian americans in similar positions
at other networks, such as Quan Phung at FOX’s Comedy Development,
but there obviously needs more. When you start having more Asian American
executives, you’ll see more changes.
In the film industry,
it is happening at a quicker pace. You see a lot of directors such
as Justin Lin, John Woo and others who are directing movies. You are
also see more actors in the movies such as Jet Li, Chou Yan Fat, Jackie
Chan and others.
I do think that
this is an exciting century for Asian Americans because their culture
is starting to take root in Western Society, especially in America.
This is evident by Asian culture starting to be a stronger influence
within the general public. I’m very excited about the prospects
of Asian Americans in this industry.
the music industry help open the doors for Asian Pacific Americans
in the television/film industry?
I have seen
groups with Asian American musicians and/or singers such as Linkin
Park and Smashing Pumpkins, but I haven’t seen an Asian American
performer. I would love to see an Asian American pop singer who has
a smash hit. I’ve heard of a hot and upcoming rapper name Jin
who is making some noise.
I think that music
and performing (in music) is the next frontier for Asian/Asian Americans
to get into. It would be a real breakthrough to have an Asian male
or female make it as a solo performer, as oppose to being part of
a group. I think that this is the next major breakthrough to happen.
you think that the Asian American winners of recent television talent
shows (i.e. Dat Phan from NBC’s Last Comic Standing and Harlemm
Lee from NBC’s “Fame) have a chance to succeed?
to be seen how these two artists fare and if the networks will put
their money where their mouth is. Dat Phan
presently has a split development deal with NBC that might turn into
his own sitcom or placing him in an upcoming sitcom. I would be very
interested in seeing how they use him in the program because it would
be a shame to use him in a stereotypical way - that would be very
However, one of
the networks, maybe ABC, has picked up a sitcom starring Henry Cho
(Editor’s Note: He just completed the Vince Gill/Amy Grant’s
2003 tour). I believe that they will be doing the pilot with
him – which is great.
CHO - FULL-BLOODED KOREAN COMIC WITH A DEEP EAST TENNESSEE DRAWL
Henry Cho w/Amy &
Cho is a full blooded Korean with a deep East Tennessee drawl.
He was was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and went into stand-up
comedy in 1986 with the goal of getting into films. He moved
to southern California in 1989 to pursue his career, but always
with the intent of returning to his roots in Tennessee. In 1994,
after he moved to a farm in Tennessee, Cho got the call from
NBC to host NBC's "Friday Night Videos" which he did
by commuting to L.A. weekly for two years.
While in L.A., he became a
regular guest/comedian on such shows as "The Tonight Show"
and "The Arsenio Hall Show." His other TV credits
include guest roles on various sitcoms such as CBS' "Designing
Women," "Lenny," "The New WKRP in Cincinnati"
and a starring role in FOX's TV movie, "Revenge of The
Nerd II: The Next Generation." Cho's many other comedy
credits include NBC's "Bob Hope's Young Comedians Special,"
MTV's "1/2 Hour Comedy Hour" and VH-1's "Stand-up
Spotlight." He starred opposite Tom Arnold and David Allen
Grier in Universal's "McHale's Navy" and Farrelly
brothers' movie "Say It Isn't So" with Sally Field,
Heather Graham and Chris Klein
He states that "I'd love
to do a sit-com, had a couple chances a few years ago but couldn't
agree on the content. I'm not doing a stereotype Asian guy,
you feel that you are one (among others) role model for the Asian/Asian
Pacific American communities within the entertainment industry?
so and I’m very proud of being a role model. Asian Americans,
when they discover that I am a successful executive and television
producer, are very surprised. If that can influence other Asian Americans
to get into the business and to produce, I will be very happy. I think
that it does because it shows to Asian Americans that they can make
an inroad into the entertainment industry and be a producer of successful
shows. We need more Asian Americans to come into the industry to make
their stand and their mark in show business because there is room
for a lot of people.
Dat Tien Phan was born in Saigon, Vietnam in 1975. He and his
mother emigrated to the United States and suffered through financial
hardships for most of his childhood. He grew up in San Diego,
California and attended West Hills High School in Santee, California.
the September 11th attack, in which the World Trade Centers
were destroyed in New York City, Dat truely realized that life
was short and began to seriously focus on his stand-up career.
Phan moved to Los Angeles, and for a time, lived out of his
car. One tragic night, Dat was robbed at gunpoint while working
at the Hollywood Improv. Dat had nothing to lose as he auditioned
for the NBC reality show Last Comic Standing, with few dollars
in his pocket and surviving off of very little food such as
bread and water and top ramen.
found himself one of the final 5 contestants on the reality
show and on August 5th, 2003, Dat became NBC's Last Comic Standing,
beating out great comedians such as Ralphie May, Rich Vos, Cory
Kahaney, and Tess Draket.
Asian/Asian Pacific American communities have honored you in the past?
from the Asian/Asian Pacific American communities have honored me
in the past. There is a group (CAPE) that I have been sporadically
been involved with, but I haven’t been involved with substantially.
CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) is an organization
that have ties to all Asian Americans in the entertainment industry.
There is a good number of Asian Americans who are really making inroads
behind the scene in the television industry, just like I have.
Hopefully, I will
keep on growing in the television business, making hit television
shows, grow in this business and continue to be a good presence/role
example for other Asian Americans. I am very proud of that and I continue
to try to make sure, in the shows that I do, have a diverse cast.
In talking to
the press regarding “Top Model,” Tyra Banks and myself
are the only minority “Executive Producer Team” in the
television industry. This situation is a rarity, but hopefully we
are setting an example for other minorities to get in there to establish
themselves. It also says to the entertainment industry – “Hey
look, you don’t have to be a White Male to be do a successful
you feel that it is time for Hollywood to recognize/celebrate prominent
talents with the Asian/Asian Pacific American communities?
I don’t think that the Asian Pacific Americans communities are
at that stage. I would love to see that day come where Asian Pacific
Americans have enough impact, clout and influence to have their own
awards show. Hopefully this will happen within the next ten years.
I know that CAPE has its own annual show, but it is not on the same
size as the Vibe Awards or the NAACP Awards. I hope within the next
ten years we will have an award show of some significance.
you feel that Asian American network executives get eaten up by the
process/politics within the entertainment industry?
other Asian American network executives in the industry that are doing
well, but I haven’t kept in contact with the other networks
because I am very focused on my own productions.
light of the unique positions that Asian American network executives
are at, what are your thoughts on the situation that surrounded Fox’s
broadcasting their summer replacement show “Banzai” –
especially since the executives in charge and protesters are both
Asian Pacific American executive, it is a difficult role because one
has to work within the entertainment industry. I respect Wenda Fong
and Qung Phung tremendously because they have been in the forefront
of promoting Asian Americans within the entertainment industry. Wenda
is very active in the world of CAPE. (Editor’s Note: At
the time of this article, she is currently the president of CAPE)
I applaud their efforts in addressing the Charlie Chan situation.
They did a good job.