"I was kind of in denial about it"
BD Wong has discussed his experience coming out in Hollywood.
Wong revealed that the lack of Asian and gay people on television proved to be quite a deterrent for him growing up.
“I was watching television and I was going to movies, and there were no Asian people, and the gay people that were characterized weren’t really particularly positive,” Wong said. “So there was a kind of a double insult to me. It made me not want to be those things.”
“I was kind of in denial about it. And this is a kind of denial that a lot of ethnic kids, specifically I think Asian American kids and some gay kids, have where they avoid the issue of the truth of them,” he added. “And when you avoid that, it causes only problems for you and it takes you a long time to kind of untangle.”
He then went on to discuss how Crazy Rich Asians has impacted Hollywood.
“I think feeling positive about something that sometimes feels very despairing is a really good thing, like to take a break from the despair for a second,” the 58-year-old said. “Let’s just celebrate this thing for a minute.”
Wong went on to say that The Joy Luck Club could not rally enough Asian Americans because of the lack of social media.
“I was around when The Joy Luck Club came out, and there was no social media; people were less kind of rah-rah passionate about it. But Asian American people, to their credit, got really into this movie and that was really heartwarming and empowering because I’ve always said, in my career, to Asian American audiences, ‘You’ve got to spend your money on Asian American content. I really want you to do that. Put your money where your mouth is.'”
He said that Crazy Rich Asians has succeeded in reshaping the Hollywood landscape.
“You know, [Crazy Rich Asians] is not erasing any kind of anti-Asian sentiment or anything that keeps Asian people down in the media, but it has shifted the needle in a noticeable way. I was invited to be a member of the Motion Picture Academy right before Crazy Rich Asians came out, and it’s because there’s a trend of wanting to be inclusive and diverse, particularly in these bodies which purport to be representing everyone. Now they do represent more people.”