Gabrielle steps back  

Kathleen Posted by Kathleen at August 9, 2018 18:04:25 August 9, 2018 18:04:25

Gabrielle Union is one of our favourites here at LG. She is one of our faves because she is unfiltered but thoughtful and candid but careful. Gabrielle Union was at the Blogher Creators Summit and she proved once again why she’s a fave. 

Gabrielle revealed that she turned down the chance to host a screening of Crazy Rich Asians.

“Me and my husband saw ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ the book at the airport, we put it on social media and the company that’s putting out ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ was like, ‘Will you guys do a screening?... I said, ‘Well, I guess we can but I don’t want to center us — that would be a mistake.”

A response like this requires a level of awareness and empathy that many of Gabrielle’s peers do not possess. At the same event, Page Six reports that Amy Schumer said that Gabrielle Union taught her to be “woke.” If Amy Schumer was given the chance to hold a screening for Crazy Rich Asians, do you think she’d pass that up because she knows that some things aren’t about her? Do you think she’d be thinking about the Asian actors with less exposure than her who should be given the opportunity instead? Maybe I’m being unfair to Amy Schumer and since she’s “woke” now thanks to Gabrielle Union, she’d have done the same thing. But others would not. I know firsthand of others who did not. 

This isn’t about passing on supporting a film because the stars don’t look like you. Gabrielle Union shouldn’t have been asked to host this screening over an Asian celebrity in the first place (fun game: let’s guess the ethnicity of the people who asked her) but she was. In response, Gabrielle still supported Crazy Rich Asians in the best and most respectful way she could have. 

“We will pay for a screening, we will support it, we will amplify it, but it should be an Asian celebrity or influencer or business person that you’re looking to and the rest of us should be amplifying that message.” 

What Gabrielle says here is SO KEY. It’s the Asian celebrities and influencers who have been waiting their whole lives to see themselves represented on screen in this way who should be centered. They should be the focus. They should be at the forefront because they don’t usually get to be and this is finally a moment and a movement that is for them. Everyone else can be rallying around them and their message. Support, amplify and step back. Gabrielle Union has faced her own share of discrimination and erasure as a black woman in Hollywood which is why she knows how important this moment is. She knows that it is lot about her. 

 

I HATE the comparisons people are making between Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther but the questions coming up around their release dates have been similar. A big question I got from readers leading up to Black Panther was whether or not white people should go see the film. My answer was OF COURSE you should go see the film. I saw the same question come up on Twitter about Crazy Rich Asians the other day. For how long have all of us people of colour supported films with all-white casts? We didn’t exactly have a choice but we found ourselves in those characters anyway. 

Crazy Rich Asians is a SPECTACULAR rom-com, my favourite of the year. Its specificity is relatable. It’s universal. This movie is not for everyone while at the same time being for everyone. Does that make sense? As Lainey said after the film, it is “SO CHINESE” meaning that her culture is accurately represented, specifically and correctly. I’m not Chinese but I still saw myself in Rachel and fell in love with Nick. I still cried and cheered and LIVED throughout the film. This is the point of representation - to show our similarities while also magnifying different voices. 

Don’t deprive yourself of the joy of Crazy Rich Asians. Don’t take away from the box office of the film. Go see it opening weekend. Be a Gabrielle Union and support, amplify and step back. For a good example of how do to this, I want to call out anyone in this industry who reviews or speaks about films. Scream at the top of your lungs that everyone should go see this movie but if you’re asked to review or speak about this movie on camera and you are not Asian and you know your outlet is not going to give someone a chance who is, demand that they do. Amplify their voices with yours.  
 

Photos:
Astrid Stawiarz/ Angela Weiss/ Getty Images

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