A New Era for Asian Americans in Starring Roles | Jimmy Nguyen

February 21, 2015 9:14 PM

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A New Era for Asian Americans in Starring Roles | Jimmy Nguyen

February 2015 will go down in history as a great month for Asian Americans in entertainment. For the first time in 20 years, U.S. network television has a sitcom led by an Asian American cast as ABC's Fresh Off The Boat premiered to strong ratings and good reviews. Days later, news came that George Takei's Allegiance musical about Japanese American interment during World War II is making it to Broadway; it will become the first Asian-led Broadway musical in over a decade. And for a proverbial cherry on top, ABC also greenlit a pilot for Dr. Ken - starring Ken Jeong from The Hangover movies and sitcom Community. After years of waiting for greater representation of Asian performers, I hope this wave launches a new era: when Asian Americans can step out of the supporting shadows and into the spotlight as stars.

Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, I rarely saw Asian faces on television or in movies - unless they were in Kung Fu Theater martial arts films or in the annual Miss Universe pageant telecasts. That reinforced my keen awareness - as part of a Vietnamese immigrant family in the United States - that I...

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