ABC's Fresh Off the Boat has been a refreshing change in the family-comedy sphere on television and has been praised for it's representation of an Asian-American family. Actor Constance Wu has often talked about how important diversity in media is and has taken issue with Matt Damon's new starring role.
While Damon's Jason Bourne may have just hit theaters, it's his next film, The Great Wall, that had audiences talking yesterday. Myself included.
The film is the first part of Legendary's deal with China for film production and was directed by Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers) and written by written by Tony Gilroy (screenwriter on all the Bourne movies except this latest installment).
“Let me tell you about the biggest movie ever made in China, directed by China”s greatest living auteur, about one of China”s most famous historical achievements,” The Daily Beast's Jen Yamato writes. “It took 1,700 years to build, the trailer and poster for Universal”s 2017 blockbuster declare, and a few hundred more for Hollywood to teach us who really saved one of the oldest civilizations in human history: Matt Damon.”
Are you kidding me pic.twitter.com/S4ZPA5xppx
– jen yamato (@jenyamato) July 28, 2016
No, it's not a good look. Especially in a climate where Damon has already been the focus of a diversity controversy and where others are trying very hard to make Hollywood more reflective of real life.
After hearing news of The Great Wall, Wu took to Twitter to share a powerful message with Hollywood:
On The Great Wall: We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that only a white man can save the world. It's not based on actual fact. Our heroes don't look like Matt Damon. They look like Malala. Ghandi. Mandela. Your big sister when she stood up for you to those bullies that one time. Money is the lamest excuse in the history of being human. So is blaming Chinese investors. (POC's choices can be based on unconscious bias too) Remember it's not about blaming individuals, which will only lead to soothing their lame “b-but I had good intentions! but…money!” microaggressive excuses. Rather, it's about pointing out the repeatedly implied racist notion that white people are superior to POC and that POC need salvation from our own color via white strength. When you consistently make movies like this, you ARE saying that. YOU ARE. Yes, YOU ARE. YES YOU ARE. Yes dude, you fu–ing ARE. Whether you intend to or not. We don't need salvation. We like our color and our culture and our own strengths and our own stories. (if we don't, we should) We don't need you to save us from anything. And we're rrrreally starting to get sick of you telling us, explicitly or implicitly, that we do. Think only a huge movie star can sell a movie? That that has NEVER been a total guarantee. Why not TRY to be better? If white actors are forgiven for having a box office failure once in a while, why can't a POC sometimes have one? And how COOL would it be if you were the movie that took the “risk” to make a POC as your hero, and you sold the s–t out of it?! The whole community would be celebrating!! If nothing else, you'd get some mad respect (which is WAY more valuable than money) So MAKE that choice. I know that overcoming your own bias and doing something differently takes balls….Well don't you WANT balls? Look. I know there are lotsa POC who honestly don't care. Who think I'M being crazy. Well excuse me for caring about the images that little girls see, and what that implies to them about their limitations or possibilities. If you know a kid, you should care too. Because we WERE those kids. Why do you think it was so nice to see a nerdy white kid have a girl fall in love with him? Because you WERE that nerdy white kid who felt unloved. And seeing pictures of it in Hollywood's stories made it feel possible. That's why it moved you, that's why it was a great story. Hollywood is supposed to be about making great stories. So make them.
Y'all sayin that im blaming ppl didnt read. It's NOT abt blame, it's abt awareness. That way we dont get in tired fights abt good intentions
– Constance Wu (@ConstanceWu) July 29, 2016
Hollywood is making progress, but it's slow, and that's why people need to keep talking about this.