When the releases of Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther posed together for a photo at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in January, the shot went viral immediately. The image, which includes Constance Wu and Harry Shum Jr. of Crazy Rich Asians, as well as Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman and Lupita Nyong, illuminated the Internet with delight.
It turns out that the moment was possible thanks to Shum Jr., who just wanted to show his appreciation for the whole of the Black Panthers, which won the award for Best Cast in a Movie at the award ceremony.
"I remember going to some [Crazy Rich Asians] cast members and saying: "Me, let's congratulate the cast of Black Panther & # 39; "Shum Jr. said in an interview." And then that happened. "
"It was precisely this that started, people saw us mixed, and it was like, this is a perfect example of how Hollywood should be, what should be done," he continued. "It's not just about your own community, how do you approach the community in mind, and collaborate or just support?"
Crazy Rich Asia and Black Panther were two of the cultural milestones of last year. The two films represented an impulse in Hollywood to tell more diverse stories and get more people of color on the screen and behind the camera. Both films were critical and commercial successes, and showed that predominantly non-white cast films could succeed at the box office.
For Shum Jr., the joint photo was an encapsulation of that representation impulse.
"It's just a celebration of being there in this awards ceremony when so many faces have been erased or have been invisible," he said. "And just to be there and see [the Black Panther cast] Holding those trophies is special. "
Shum Jr. spoke at a reception in Los Angeles on Thursday for the Gold House A100, a list that honors Asian and Asian Americans in technology, entertainment and business. The list, announced earlier this month, includes several stars from Crazy Rich Asians, including Shum Jr., Wu, Henry Golding, Awkwafina and director Jon M. Chu. On Friday, Gold House also gave Chu his first A1 award for "the most shocking Asian of the year".
Outside the entertainment, other major hitters honored on the list include Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Momofuku's chef David Chang and Toronto Raptors point guard Jeremy Lin.
Gold House also tries to guarantee the success of projects driven by Asian people. A group campaign called #GoldOpen aims to boost opening weekends by urging donors to buy movie theaters and get tickets in bulk. The group made a big push around Crazy Rich Asians last year, which has grossed nearly $ 240 million at the box office to date, and is the highest-grossing romantic comedy in 10 years.