Constance Wu doesn’t need “Hollywood’s” permission to tell stories about other cultures. She says, “We artists always have our stories, no one can take that away from us. It lives inside of us.” Whether she’s leading ABC’s comedy Fresh Off The Boat, now in its fifth season or playing Rachel Chu in Crazy Rich Asians, Wu never disappoints us, always fascinates us.
Crow: The Legend won the first ever Best Virtual Reality Production award at the Annie Awards this year. The animated short is based on the Native American legend of how the crow got his black feathers and cawing voice. John Legend, Oprah, Diego Luna, Tye Sheridan, and Constance Wu all joined the project as advocates for their own communities. They wanted to be a part of this story that looks at themes of diversity and self-sacrifice for the greater good.
Wu answered some questions on Crow: The Legend and talked about “shattering glass ceilings.”
Native American history and culture are one we see hardly represented on screen in films and animation. What drew you to this part?
The people involved and the opportunity to be part of a VR production which I hadn’t done.
Your character Skunk, in the end, learns she has much in common with Crow. Did you get much of a say in crafting who she was?
I’m sure they would have let me, but I liked it how they had written it and wanted to help them fulfill their vision as much as I could. This project was bigger than my own personal agenda. So I didn’t change anything.
Watching this, it’s important we see other cultures on screen and learn about them. With the success of Black Panther, Spider-man, and Crazy Rich Asians it’s clear that there is a demand for more representation. Do you feel Hollywood is ready to be less reluctant to diversity now that glass ceilings are shattering?
That depends on who you are calling “Hollywood.” I think it’s important we stop thinking of Hollywood as a reluctant gatekeeper and start thinking of it as a culture that changes when we make it change.
The second we start asking about “readiness” or “permission,” it just reinforces a biased power structure that’s honestly based in bullshit. So I’ve stopped caring about whether or not someone else is ready. As artists, we are telling our stories and we have always been doing that even if you haven’t seen it.
They say it’s called show business… and I try to remember that business people ain’t got no business without our show. But artists always have our stories, no one can take that away from us. It lives inside of us.