What TF Hollywood?

What TF Hollywood?

We live in a diverse world, shouldn't the big screen reflect that?

What TF Hollywood?
Ahmet Yalcinkaya

One of the best parts growing up for me, was going to the movies. But one thing has always discouraged me when I look at the silver screen: there is rarely anyone that looks like me.

It was rare that I saw a Hispanic woman in a positive, lead role. And the ones I did see I admired whole heartedly. I never realized my desire to see a Hispanic woman on the big screen until I realized how little so many minorities are represented.

So slowly I removed myself from seeing the abundance of movies as I did when I was younger. Instead, I took to enjoying and admiring young entrepreneurs in my every-day life and online.

When one of my favorite Youtubers, Anna Akana, won the 2016 ISA Impact Award for APA Heritage Month I was ecstatic. This woman has accomplished so much and overcome even more. I was eager to watch her speech and was brought almost to tears.

You see, even though Anna and I are not the same race, we share the same issue. We did not grow up with heroines that looked like us. In her acceptance speech she highlighted Asians in entertainment and the discrimination they, and she, faces.

As she beings, Anna recollects the day she saw someone that looked just like her. “…the person on my TV was Margaret Cho,” she said. “…It was the very first time I had ever seen an Asian woman do stand up and before that, the only Asian female face I had ever seen on TV was, of course, Lucy Liu.”

It hit hard because it is true. It is so hard to see true representatives in Hollywood entertainment when you have high profile actors being made to fit ethnic roles or for lines to be inserted to explain a white actor or actress playing a role that should have been given to a native.

I will not bash these actors and actresses. They did their job. But ultimately, it is a shame that producers, casting directors, and writers would seek out an actor that ethnically, does not fit the role. Or worse, as Anna explains:

“…last year I booked the lead role in a feature film with a major studio,” Anna started, moving on to her own experience. “I auditioned, I did callbacks with producers, and I met with the executives of the studio at the company. We shook hands...”

She described the utter excitement she felt at this new prospect, this new challenge, this dream of hers finally coming true. As a pretty big fan of Anna, I felt excited for her. I have watched her for years as she practiced and honed her talent in front of millions of subscribers and viewers.

Then she shared the heartbreak: “A few days later my manger called me while I was on set, directing a short film and he was very confused,” her tone became much more somber to the joy she was just showing a split second ago. “He was like: ‘when you met with those executives, are you sure that you booked the lead role?’ and I was like: ‘Well yeah, we were talking about the lead character; we mentioned it by name; I had auditioned with that dialogues. Why?”

Then her manager told her the terrible news. The official paper work dictated she was now going to play the best friend and “The lead was going instead to a white woman… I asked him very quietly, I said: ‘Is it because I’m Asian?’… That was the very first time in my career that I realized that the color of my skin, might actually stand in the way of me and my dream.”

It is such a sad realization. It is heart breaking. With a world that is spewing hate against different skin colors, religions, and economic status, you would think we could look the beauty of Hollywood to take our minds away into a work of art. But unfortunately, it hasn’t quite caught up yet.

So my question isn’t just to all of us who sit idly by as roles that should go to a diverse cast, but to the directors and producers that allow our screens to be whitewashed. Again: I have no hate for the amazing white actors and actresses, but maybe it is time to step aside and allow our younger generations the privileged of seeing faces and skins that match their own.

To watch Anna’s full speech, click here.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Dear Closeted Latina,

You were never alone.

Remember how the Latin world got rocked when Ricky Martin came out?

Keep Reading... Show less

It wasn't until I hit 23 years old that I started getting hangovers. It could've been from two glasses of wine or even a margarita at happy hour, the next day, consider me bed-bound until further notice.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Feel A Lil' Better: Because Air Travel Looks Different Now

If you have to travel, you can — you just have to take a few extra steps.

No matter how good (or bad) you'd describe your health, one thing is for sure: a little boost is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether that's reading a new, motivating book, or listening to a song that speaks to your soul, there are plenty of resources to help your health thrive on any given day.

As we are learning how to live our lives in the midst of a pandemic, one big question being travel. States that were initially labeled coronavirus (COVID-19) epicenters, like New York and New Jersey, are extra cautious in how freely residents can travel and then come home. Other states may not have the same travel restrictions as the epicenters, but one thing is for sure — no matter where you fly within the United States, that trip will look different than your usual summer vacation. Sure, it can still happen, you just need to take a few more steps to make sure your trip will go smoothly.

Keep Reading... Show less

Top 10 Santana Lopez Performances On 'Glee' That MADE The Show

In honor of Naya Rivera's passing, I compiled a list of her best performances as Santana Lopez as "Glee".


Hearing about the tragic passing of the beloved actress, singer, and model Naya Rivera was tragic to say the least. "Glee" was a huge part of my life, Santana being one of my favorite characters, so it was shocking to hear the news.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Caribbean is a place where people go for vacation, but if you set out from a cruise ship you miss out on all the beautiful culture. Their exotic beaches are nothing without their zinging food and hospitality. Locals in the Caribbean are warmhearted with a zest to live life to the fullest.

This is exactly where most of their words and phrases come from, having a good time. I definitely enjoyed myself living in the Caribbean, but it's not always about lounging. They get work done too and I've learned proper phrases for accomplishments.

Keep Reading... Show less

What's Coming To And Leaving Netflix In August For Your Summer Viewing Pleasure

Just in time for another your end of summer binge-watch list.

Flower Films, Warner Bros, New Line Cinema

August is here, which means we will be losing some of our Netflix favorites but gaining some new ones. Here is a list of TV shows and movies we will be losing and gaining on Netflix during August.

Keep Reading... Show less

According to Urban Dictionary, a "simp" is defined as "a man that puts himself in a subservient/submissive position under women in the hopes of winning them over, without the female bringing anything to the table." There are many other definitions for a "simp," but basically it's shaming men who are kind to women without getting anything in return.

Let's just stop attacking nice men. Work out your own issues, don't project your shortcomings onto another man. What happened to the brotherhood? Y'all can lie for each other, but can't raise each other up? You guys can encourage murder, gang rape, and violence against women — or at least stay silent about it — but can't let your brother know it ain't cool when they bring you down for being nice to women with no expectation?

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Living With Bipolar Disorder Is An Everyday Battle, But I'm Fighting It

I went from depression, to anxiety, to bipolar disorder.

I've thought about how to write this since my diagnosis. I've thought about what kind of feelings it might bring up from my mom, former friends, and even myself. I've rewritten it a thousand times in my head, but never could quite get the words onto my notepad, but tonight I'm going to sit down and write it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Self-Love Is The Best Love, That's Just How It Is

Do you ever feel like you can't please everyone? Self-love will do the trick.

I've been feeling a little down lately, with the understanding that friends don't last forever and that I can't always please my parents. Life has been rough for everyone lately and it's not easy to stay happy and optimistic during these times. But I promise you, you are on this earth for a reason. You are here because God formed you, to love, and to be loved.

When things are tough, realize that you have yourself always. No one can take that away from you. You will always be you. No matter who you are, what you believe, or where you've been in life, at the end of the day, you are you. You can love you, therefore giving you one reason to stay here on this Earth.

Keep Reading... Show less

Ranking 'The Umbrella Academy' Cast By Their Powers

I'm ranking the characters of Netflix's show "The Umbrella Academy" by how cool their powers are.

With the new season of "The Umbrella Academy" coming out tomorrow, I took the time to revisit the first season to refamiliarize myself with the characters.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments