Lucy Liu is sharing why her “Charlie’s Angels” role is “so important” to her and Asian Americans.
In the wake of a surge of anti-Asian violence and racism, the actress opened up about the importance of normalizingAsian American characters in the film industry in a Washington Post op-ed published Thursday. In March, eight people were killed in a deadly spree shooting at three Atlanta-area spas, the majority of them women and of Asian descent.
Liu said she didn’t want to be cast “only in ‘typically Asian’ roles because they reinforce stereotypes,” which is why “Charlie’s Angels” was “so important to me.”
“As part of something so iconic, my character Alex Munday normalized Asian identity for a mainstream audience and made a piece of Americana a little more inclusive,” she wrote.
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In her piece, Liu revealed she felt “fortunate to have ‘moved the needle’ a little with some mainstream success,” but cautioned that “there is still much further to go” in terms of representation in Hollywood.
“Progress in advancing perceptions on race in this country is not linear; it’s not easy to shake off nearly 200 years of reductive images and condescension,” she said.
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These depictions included harmful stereotypes about her 2003 “Kill Bill” character, O Ren Ishii, who was described as a “dragon lady” who “uses her sexuality as a powerful tool of manipulation” by a March Teen Vogue op-ed.
“‘Kill Bill’ features three other female professional killers in addition to Ishii. Why not call Uma Thurman, Vivica A. Fox or Daryl Hannah a dragon lady? I can only conclude that it’s because they are not Asian,” Liu wrote.
“I could have been wearing a tuxedo and a blond wig, but I still would have been labeled a dragon lady because of my ethnicity.”
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The actress urged others to abandon the “deadly” stereotypes that Asian Americans are foreign or exotic.
“Asians in America have made incredible contributions, yet we’re still thought of as Other. We are still categorized and viewed as dragon ladies or new iterations of delicate, domestic geishas — modern toile,” Liu wrote.
“How can we grow as a society unless we take a brutal and honest look at our collective history of discrimination in America? It’s time to Exit the Dragon.”
‘I’m proud to be Asian’:Sandra Oh makes surprise appearance at ‘Stop Asian Hate’ protest
Other Asian American celebrities, including Sandra Oh, have spoken out about the rise in anti-Asian racism.
The “Killing Eve” star said she’s “proud to be Asian” during a “Stop Asian Hate” protest in March. Speaking to a crowd of masked people in Pittsburgh, Oh gave a powerful speech about the importance of supporting the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
“We must understand as Asian Americans, we need to reach out our hand to our sisters and brothers and say, ‘Help me’ and ‘I’m here.’ I’m proud to be Asian. I want to hear you say, ‘I am proud to be Asian. I belong here,'” she told the crowd, which was captured by CBS Pittsburgh.
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Contributing: Pamela Avila