Preview: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ author talk marks local diversity initiatives


Courtesy of Creative Commons

Two sequels released in 2015, 2017 follow Kwan’s (right) ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ novel.

Lilli Hime , Staff Writer

Kevin Kwan, the author of “Crazy Rich Asians,” will host a talk at the Long Center Nov. 17 at 8 p.m., discussing representation, wealth disparity and the cultural impact of his novel and the movie it recently inspired.

His debut novel, “Crazy Rich Asians,” achieved international acclaim, inspiring two sequels and a the first major studio movie in 25 years to feature a majority Asian and Asian-American cast since “The Joy Luck Club.” Asians and people of all underrepresented walks of life are celebrating the movie as a milestone in the push for better representation.

Austin was listed in the top 10 cities across the country for opening weekend turnout, despite having a smaller Asian-American population than other large cities in Texas like Houston or Dallas.

Austin Asian American Film Festival board member Christine Hoang believes this is a direct result of her organization’s efforts to mobilize the Asian-American community and promote the movie.

About two weeks before the movie released, AAAFF hosted a Crazy Rich Asians Night Market at the Long Center, complete with different Asian food vendors, a luxury lounge, a VIP soiree and guest stars Chris Pang and Ronny Chieng from the film. Over 2,000 people attended the event.

I’d like to think the Long Center is doing this because they see it’s not only a noble thing to have more inclusive voices and programming, but also that it’s a marketable and profitable,” Hoang said.

Hoang believes that the fire lit beneath the representation movement recognizes that “entertainment is also a business, it’s not just creating art” so community organizing and mobilization comes in to prove people will show up for diverse stories.

“It is very much a part of our mission,” Long Center Director of Marketing and Communications Brady Dyer said. “To present diverse programming and be a gathering place for the community, all different audiences in Austin. We want them to feel welcome and that we’re presenting something that they’re interested in seeing”

In promoting Kevin Kwan’s talk, AAAFF board member JD Chang said they are hosting an Asian American Trivia Night before the event as well as offering an exclusive 50 percent discount rate for the event.

And students don’t have to be crazy rich to attend Kwan’s talk either. The Long Center offers St. Edward’s students 50 percent off with the promo code, LUXURIOUS, on their website.

“We’d love for students to come to this,” Chang said. “If there’s students at St. Edward’s that are interested in film or literature or entertainment, this is a great opportunity.”