Thursday, January 16, 2014 N. R. 0 Comments

"It's a pretty sad situation to be rejected by Chinese because I'm 'too American' and by American producers because they prefer other races to act Chinese parts."

Anna May Wong is the first Chinese American actress to become a huge star in Hollywood and the first Asian American actor to gain international recognition, she was a trailblazer, an icon, and a legend. In a time when women were revolutionizing the way they were treated, Anna May Wong was making her mark right along with the others; hers on the silver screen. She was making audiences laugh, and enticing and hypnotizing them with her on-screen characters. She pulled emotions out of people like love, hope, joy, anger, sympathy and fear. For you see, many of the characters that Anna played onscreen never made it to the end of the film. She had a great sense of humour and she joked about this saying that her tombstone should read "She died a thousand deaths." It's amazing how she kept her spirits up to get through the industry she worked in. A racist industry that would not accept her as an American woman of Chinese descent, because of this she was mainly given stereotypical roles. Yet through it all Anna remained gracious, and humble. Really, she was a power woman. A pioneer.

I suspect that Anna May Wong knew that she was a trailblazer and this is what I truly admire about her. She knew how limited her options would be being the first Chinese American actress to star in Hollywood movies, she voiced her frustration on this many times (see the quote above), but she never quit acting. It's an unfortunate reality, and a stagnant societal disposition, in which society as a whole will not be accepting of the first person to break down a barrier. Yet because of that person paving the way everyone else who follows in their footsteps will have it a lot easier. Anna paved the way for all the Asian and Asian American actors and women of colour who are now acting in Hollywood and working in the American entertainment industry.

It will be hard, you'll feel like giving up, you'll get discouraged, it will feel like you're moving against the raging ocean waves that keeps pushing you back to shore when you want to make your way to sea, most times you'll hear 'no' instead of 'yes', the majority will not be on your side, and as all this will be sure, it will also be certain that when you triumph, and you're successful in making positive change the elation you feel from the positive times will overpower the negative feelings. So don't ever quit, work hard and make the sacrifices so that your sons and daughters, brothers and sisters will not feel the hurt of rejection and discrimination you've experienced. Do it for them, and even though most won't be aware of your sacrifices, your legend will stand and speak for itself. It is the legend of Anna May Wong that inspires me greatly. The ability to always persevere and trudge forward not matter what happens or what tries to hold you back. Anna May Wong was a strong, resilient, brave, intelligent, and talented entertainer whose varied career span decades from the 1920s to the early 1960s. Her work included both silent and sound films, television, stage, and radio. She left her permanent mark on Hollywood, and not just in film but in music as well. Listen to the beautiful song These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You) that was written about Anna by Eric Maschwitz whom she was romantically linked with in the 1930s.
January 3, 1905 - February 3, 1961