Constance Wu: ‘Diversity…doesn’t mean we want the white people to write Asian stories’

Constance Wu made a shocking revelation on this week’s episode of Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: She had never heard of N.W.A. before seeing Straight Outta Compton a couple of weeks ago.

But give the Fresh off the Boat star a break! She said that her pop-cultural landscape was basically all show tunes growing up. Besides, she made way more interesting points during her appearance on the podcast.

Speaking to guest host Guy Branum about the kind of roles she’d like to pursue, given how limiting mainstream entertainment can be for Asian-American actresses, Wu said:

I want to support uniquely Asian-American stories. I don’t want to just play the hostage in some big studio movie. If I get that, that’s great. But if it coincides with an opportunity about the Asian-American experience that pays me, like, a quarter of the salary, I’d rather do that.

As for what kind of changes she hopes the industry will make as far as diversity and representation are concerned, Wu told Branum:

[Diversity] doesn’t mean we want the white people to write Asian stories. What I want is to foster the Asian-American writers and directors and producers and actors…foster their stories to come into the spotlight a little bit.

Last April, Fusion’s own Molly Fitzpatrick found that (surprise) Asian-Americans are severely underrepresented on TV. Out of 100 network TV shows, only 37.9% had at least one cast member of Asian descent, and only 7.8% of those shows had multiple main cast members of Asian descent. And out of 800 main cast members on 100 network TV shows, only 52 (6.5%) were of Asian descent.

*Full disclosure: Fresh off the Boat airs on ABC, which is a parent company of Fusion.

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