I live for Sundays again, at least for the next few weeks. The Last Dance is on Sundays. Killing Eve is on Sundays. And Insecure is on Sundays. Here’s the promo for next week’s episode, “Lowkey Thankful”. Wait for the joke that comes at the end about Molly’s boyfriend, “Asian Bae”:
“Asian Bae”, aka Andrew, is played by Alexander Hodge and E Alex Jung, one of the best, just interviewed Alexander for Vulture. There’s always so much INFORMATION in E Alex Jung’s pieces. His interviews flow in such a way that is at once intentional about where he’s taking the conversation but also allows space for the subject to tell us what we need to know.
In this case, Alexander tells E Alex Jung that the character, “Asian Bae”, was written before Alexander was cast. They specifically wanted him to be Asian because Insecure takes place in LA and there are Asian communities in LA that Issa Rae and her writing team wanted to represent. To get even more specific, the writing team itself is representative to the actual characters. Alexander explains:
“When a show is being led by a minority community — in this case, this show is created and produced by a team of black women — it inspires a level of thoughtfulness. I understand that somebody who has had similar experiences to me would not take my experiences for granted, and would also not diminish my experiences.
I’m half-Asian, half-white. I had long hair. I wear Vans. I’m dating a black woman. They hired a half-white, half-Asian guy with long hair who wears Dickies and Vans in the writers’ room who’s engaged to a black woman. That’s how specific they were. They got him to write for me.”
You know all those excuses we’ve been hearing about how “hard” it is to hire inclusively in Hollywood? That chicken and egg scenario? Like, oh we can’t write for people from this background because there are no people from this background in the industry which is why we can’t show people from this background in the story? Sure. But it doesn’t seem like it’s hard for Insecure.
And yet, Andrew isn’t part of the Insecure story just to serve Molly’s story – this is a half hour comedy that also manages to spotlight nuanced social and racial differences, while giving us great outfits and hair and makeup moments (on women and men) and a lot of f-cking. Towards the end of the interview, Alexander reveals that these tensions will come up in the second half of the season between “Asian Bae” and Molly. Because people of colour who’ve been marginalised themselves can internalise the prejudice they’ve endured and inflict it upon others. This is how white supremacy works. Alexander expands on this idea later and he’s so articulate in his response here that I don’t want to excerpt it – you should read it as part of the larger discussion that these two Asian men are having about how minority communities can themselves demonstrate racial bias, even while being victims of it, a reality playing out in China right now.
For more from Alexander Hodge and E Alex Jung, read their conversation at Vulture. Also, I know everyone misses his hair but OMG he’s so f-cking hot with short hair too.
Yours in gossip,