“If you’re Channing Tatum there are five roles for you in every film, but for people of colour there are far less"

Kim’s Convenience star Simu Liu has talked about race in Hollywood.

In an interview for The Star, Kim’s Convenience star Simu Liu discussed race and being Asian in Hollywood.

The Canadian actor expressed his frustration that Asians are not cast as leads or desirable characters. “Asian men specifically have not been portrayed as the leading man or as the sex symbol, and that’s absurd,” Liu said.

However, Liu recognizes the changes happening for Asians in Hollywood, especially after the success of Crazy Rich Asians.

“It’s easy to internalize all this and say, ‘Well, I’m s–t,’” said Liu. “But I think it’s OK to embrace your inner greatness. None of that should affect your self-worth. But I think this is the year things change. You have Henry Golding on the cover of GQ or playing Blake Lively’s husband in A Simple Favor. Race in this day and age shouldn’t be a detriment.”

For Liu, the changes are important for the Asian community as well as him as an actor. “I would call this revolutionary,” he said. “It’s certainly a personal revolution for me.”

As an actor in Hollywood, Liu said there are simply not enough roles for Asians.

“If you’re Channing Tatum there are five roles for you in every film,” he said. “But for people of colour there are far less. You have to make those roles … this is the first time I’ve been given a part by a Taiwanese American writer for a Taiwanese American actor” — series co-creator Alan Yang, who picked up an Emmy for Outstanding Writing along with Ansari.

Culturally, Liu said that whilst a career as an actor was not acceptable, he did not necessarily feel burdened by his race.

“We come from a generation where it wasn’t acceptable to pursue a career in arts,” Liu said “It took getting laid off to even dare to dream. Growing up I never saw my race as a detriment.

“It’s such a weird place to be in right now. When I go to the mall, you might get this flash of recognition or a giggle or two. And that’s refreshing, especially happening to someone who looks like me. So I know things are changing. I feel it personally. Media is changing. The world is changing.”

Kim’s Convenience Season 3 is currently airing on CBC at 8pm on Tuesdays.

Kim’s Convenience Season 3 is currently airing on CBC at 8pm on Tuesdays.

 

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