As someone who’s proud of their Asian heritage, Hollywood’s straight up refusal to cast Asian men as romantic leads has always baffled me. They can be the geeky friend, the weird foreigner, or anything in the background, but the knight in shining armour who gets to sweep the female lead off her feet? “Hell to the no” it would seem.
But thanks to the internet, the landscape of film and television is changing, with more options and certainly more diversity on screen than ever before. So it fills me with glee that the ridiculously handsome and talented Harry Shum Jr has teamed up with Wong Fu Productions and Todd Waldman to star in their new YouTube Red series, Single by 30.
This is a huge deal.
Where mainstream media has failed time and time again to recognise that people of colour can lead a romantic comedy, Single by 30 is picking up the slack (although I’ll never forget John Cho’s incredible turn in the short lived series Selfie). What I love most about this project is that Wong Fu Productions and Todd Waldman recognised that there IS an audience out there who want to see themselves represented on screen, and went out and made something that delivers on that desire.
Seeing diversity on screen shouldn’t be this rare, considering people of colour do in fact go to the movies and watch TV, but the unfortunate truth is that you’re more likely to see a 50 year old white guy chasing someone 30 years his junior than an Asian romantic lead. However, with a little luck Hollywood will soon start catching on to the fact that if they don’t start catering for all, we will happily go elsewhere…to YouTube Red to be precise.
Frankly you’re tripping if you don’t instantly fall in love with Shum Jr and Grannis. They’re the real deal.
Singe by 30 just premiered on YouTube Red last week, but you can watch the first episode free here. Do it now.