“how come white people are so pretty?", asks my 11 year old korean american daughter.
my initial reaction is a mix of shock and sadness.
shock, because i didn't think she thought herself as less than and sad because she pointed out a ugly reality. girls grow up being exposed to the causasian-centric media and something very dangerous happens- their reference and standard for beauty becomes very skewed. the traditionally asian features seem less desirable. they think they are less desirable.
there was a time i had similar sentiments.
but you grow into your own.
you embrace what's unique about yourself and less about what you see in the media.
at such an impressionable age, when all they want to do is blend in; how does one explain- you are just as pretty?
that's why movies like CRAZY RICH ASIANS are such an important step in asian americans having space in media. asians need to be represented and little girls everywhere can be proud of their uniqueness.
the sound track consists of various multilingual covers: from madonna's material girl to elvis presley's can't help falling in love with you.
however, it's coldplay's yellow that has drawn the most attention, when coldplay showed reluctance to license out the song due to racist connotations of the word. however, director jon m. chu explained that he wanted to reclaim the word. he told the hollywood reporter, "if we are going to be called yellow, we're going to make it beautiful."
it's all about context.
the same word can be a word of bigotry.
and at the same time, a word of love.
sung by katherine ho, a 19 year old sophomore at the university of southern california and a past voice contestant.
it was the perfect song for the ending scene when love conquers.
click to the link below for katherine ho's rendition of yellow: