Lisa Ling, Janet Yang and More on How to Maintain "Wonderful Era" of Asians in Hollywood

Janet Yang - Gold House Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of Steven Lam

Asian American actors, producers, creatives and more gathered at The District by Hannah An for the Gold House Soiree.

A hue of gold blanketed Gold House's evening of excellence on Thursday night.

Asian industry insiders, tech CEOs and creatives walked the gold carpet before making their way into The District by Hannah An, which also boasted shining decor. 

Gold House's Honors Soiree brought together notable Asian figures including Harry Shum Jr. and Joy Luck Club producer Janet Yang as well as Nina Yang Bongiovi to celebrate members of the 2019 A100 list.

The A100 list recognizes the 100 most culturally impactful Asians and Asian-Americans. Among the honorees were Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu, Awkwafina and Hasan Minhaj. The Hollywood Reporter's own senior reporter Rebecca Sun also made the list. 

Attendees spoke to THR about building community across various industries, the shift in the Asian narrative in Hollywood and how to keep the momentum going.

"I think for too long our community has been overlooked, and I think that’s changing," CNN's Lisa Ling told THR.

Ling, who is part of Gold House's A100 list, said that media has continued to play a significant role in the kinds of stories shared about Asians and Asian-Americans. She also stated that regardless of industry, Asian people need to continue demanding a seat at the table.

Bongiovi, a fellow A100 list member, agreed, saying that decisions at the top show that narratives from the Asian community are worth telling. But something she'd like to see improve to keep the momentum going is budget equity toward projects featuring people of color. 

"It's important to show that we're worth the same as when a studio greenlights projects with predominantly white people," Bongiovi said.

Yang said she believes that Crazy Rich AsiansThe Farewell and Netflix's Always Be My Maybe are bringing back Asian narratives in a big way and that "it's just exciting on so many levels."

With the success of such titles, Yang said it shows there's a market for authentic stories. It also shows that there's a community of passionate support coming from Asians from all kinds of industries, validating the desire to share authentic narratives.

"This is a wonderful era for us," she said, "but we have to continue making really, really good products — that's the important thing."

Adele Lim, who wrote the Crazy Rich Asians screenplay, said that the clearest indication of change in Hollywood is that more people in higher positions are part of the Asian community. That "tremendous" change is what she believes will encourage more stories about the Asian experience.

"Asian creatives need to be pushing our own projects instead of suppressing what we truly want to do. We need to support our own stories, our own vision," she told THR. "We want each other to succeed."

The night carried on with Asian-inspired hors d'oeuvres such as tuna tartare, spring rolls and the restaurant's signature garlic noodles served in petite takeout boxes from The District. The drink menu also boasted the specialty Black Gold Martini from the Asian-owned sipping vodka Carbonadi.

Others in attendance included Jake Choi, Kim Chi, Russell Wong and Hulu chief technology officer Eric Feng.