"Crazy Rich Asians" star Constance Wu was the belle of the Oscars ball Sunday night. Draped in a tulle marigold custom Versace gown, the Asian-American actress fluttered around the red carpet with style and grace to spare. And her ensemble was more than just a sight to behold — the "Fresh Off the Boat" actress choose her dress for a poignant meaning.
In an Instagram post late Monday night, Wu revealed that her fashion choice was inspired by a letter "Crazy Rich Asians" director Jon M. Chu wrote to Coldplay, requesting to use the British band's song "Yellow" in the film.
💛 @jonmchu's letter to @coldplay (slightly condensed) & the inspo for my Oscar dress last night. Jon wrote: "My whole life I've had a complicated relationship with the color yellow. From being called the word in a derogatory way throughout grade school, to watching movies where they called cowardly people yellow, it's always had a negative connotation in my life. [Until] I heard your song. For the first time in my life, it described the color in the most beautiful, magical ways I had ever heard: the color of the stars, her skin, the love. It was an incredible image of attraction and aspiration that it made me rethink my own self image... It immediately became an anthem for me and my friends and gave us a new sense of pride we never felt before. We could reclaim the color for ourselves and it has stuck with me for the majority of my life. The reason I am writing this now, is because I am directing a film for Warner Bros. called CRAZY RICH ASIANS and it is the first ALL-ASIAN cast for a Hollywood studio film in 25 years. The story is a romantic comedy about a young Asian-American woman from New York coming to terms with her cultural identity while she's visiting her boyfriend's mother in Singapore. It's a lavish, fun, romantic romp but underneath it all, there's an intimate story of a girl becoming a woman. Learning that she's good enough and deserves the world, no matter what she's been taught or how she's been treated, and ultimately that she can be proud of her mixed heritage. The last scene of the movie shows this realization... It's an empowering, emotional march and needs an anthem that lives up to and beyond her inner triumph, which is where Yellow comes in. It would be such an honor to use your song that gave me so much strength throughout the years, to underscore this final part of our film. [This movie] will give a whole generation of Asian-Americans, and others, the same sense of pride I got when I heard your song. I want all of them to have an anthem that makes them feel as beautiful as your words and melody made me feel when I needed it most. Your consideration would mean so much. Thank you for taking the time to listen, Much love, Jon M. Chu"
The word "yellow" has been used as an ethnic slur against Asians and Asian-Americans, dating back to the "yellow peril" of the late 19th century when people felt threatened by Asian immigrants "stealing" jobs.
Chu told Coldplay he wanted to reclaim the word. His heartfelt letter won over the band and he was granted the rights to use the song in the film. In "Crazy Rich Asians," a Mandarin cover of the song is performed by "The Voice" season 10 contestant, Katherine Ho.
Wu has been outspoken about the significance of "Crazy Rich Asians" featuring an all-Asian cast ― the first contemporary Hollywood film in 25 years to have an all-Asian cast since 1993′s "Joy Luck Club."
As word spread of the reasoning behind Wu's dress choice on Tuesday, fellow Asians took note, commending her.
The word "yellow" has been used as a tool to ostracize East Asians. It has been used as a weapon to homogenize and erase South and Southeast Asians. And to see people like John Chu and Constance Wu reclaiming it is a move of power and unapologetic joy.https://t.co/0Ij2WecyF8— Ariana Zhang (@ArianaZhang) February 26, 2019
Forget about Oscars gold — this year, the winning colour was yellow.
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