We are still two months shy of the one year anniversary of the release of Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which means it hasn’t even been a year yet since Simu Liu became a star. And as we have seen, he hasn’t stopped. Simu’s on every list from SNL to the Oscars to the TIME 100 but what I appreciate about him, especially this weekend, is that he continues to rep Toronto.
Simu hooked up with Jeremy Lin this weekend to host the first Canadian Chinese Youth Athletic Association Celebrity Classic on Saturday bringing in Asian celebrities from around Canada and beyond including Hasan Minhaj, Ronnie Chieng, Charles Melton, Tesher, Leenda Dong, and more. Dominique Wilkins and Jamaal Magloire were the celebrity coaches and Meng’er Zhang, who co-starred with Simu in Shang-Chi as his sister, also flew in for the event as a spectator. There were a couple of cast members from Bling Empire there too. They showed up because Simu asked them to, and he asked them to in support of the CCYAA and the Jeremy Lin Foundation and also to big up the Asian cultural presence in his hometown. And the community responded.
When I got there and saw that the line was well around the block, I almost started crying. I was born and raised in Toronto, and these weren’t the experiences that were available when I was growing up. Now there’s a whole generation of people for whom this is or will be ordinary. Simu has talked a lot about being of two worlds, what being Canadian and Chinese is like, and how sometimes that feels like you don’t belong anywhere. Who is Simu now? As he was referred to on Saturday night during introductions before the game, he is now “the pride of Harbin and Toronto”.
Yours in gossip,