The British band were previously called out for cultural appropriation with ‘Princess Of China’
Coldplay were reportedly reluctant for ‘Yellow’ to feature in Crazy Rich Asians in case it was perceived as racist.
In the film, Chinese American singer Katherine Ho sings a Mandarin cover of the Coldplay classic ‘Yellow’. However, it almost never came into fruition as the British band feared the potential backlash.
Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M Chu said that both Warner Bros and the band were concerned that ‘Yellow’ would be associated with the racial slur instead of cowardice.
Chu managed to convince the studio to keep the song in because he had the slur used against him in highsschool, but Coldplay were still reluctant.
“I wanted to take hit American songs and make them Chinese, to give audiences a sense of how we feel as Asian Americans,” Chu told Quartz. “That crazy blend of identities and cultures that makes up who we are. It felt to me like a critical part of what we were trying to do.”
Coldplay have previously been called out for cultural appropriation with their 2012 hit ‘Princess Of China’ which featured Rihanna dressed in oriental clothing. Their 2016 hit ‘Hymn For The Weekend’, which featured Beyonce in traditional Indian clothing, was also called out.
After being rejected by Coldplay, Chu wrote to them explaining his relationship with the song.
“For the first time in my life, it described the colour in the most beautiful, magical ways,” Chu wrote. “The colour of the stars, her skin, the love. It was an incredible image of attraction and aspiration that it made me rethink my own self image.”
He added that the cover would offer “a whole generation of Asian-Americans, and others, the same sense of pride I got when I heard your song.”
Coldplay reportedly gave him permission an hour after he sent the letter.
Crazy Rich Asians is out now in cinemas. Click here to read Resonate writer Joie Ha’s review of the film.
Last year, we interviewed Maki, who said “colorblind casting is a relatively new thing”.