Jeff Yang

Jeff Yang

Jeff Yang is cohost of the podcast They Call Us Bruce, a regularly featured opinion contributor for CNN and a columnist for Inkstone, focusing on pop culture, entertainment and technology.

The truth about Keanu Reeves and his Asian roots
There’s a photo that’s been skidding around the internet. It shows Keanu Reeves, whose career has been reignited by the success of the John Wick franchise and his brilliantly self-deprecating turn in the Netflix rom-com Always Be My Maybe, sitting on a couch with a smiling, bespectacled older East Asian woman in a flowered print top.  In truth, the picture itself isn’t particularly notable.  It’s actually the image’s whimsically spelled caption that has made the meme go viral: “Keanu Reeve’s grandma is Chinese Haiwaiian.” That Reeves has Asian Pacific Islander heritage isn’t exactly new information.  From his earliest initiation into Hollywood, Reeves has always been referred to as the “son
The truth about Keanu Reeves and his Asian roots
Fresh Off the Boat has changed history. I couldn’t be a prouder dad
Tonight, the ABC television show Fresh Off the Boat, the first US network TV series in two decades to focus on an Asian American family, hits a historic milestone: 100 episodes, enough to last an entire sleepless weekend if binge-watched back to back. It’s hard to remember now just how implausible it felt back in 2014, when the Huang family was first assembled – with my son, Hudson Yang, as its irrepressible eldest boy Eddie – that this show would even make it on the air. At the time the pilot was being shot, Hudson was barely nine years old, a four-foot-something little nugget with a halo of bushy hair, a surplus of attitude and zero acting experience. He’d come home from elementary school
Fresh Off the Boat has changed history. I couldn’t be a prouder dad
When ‘Go Back to China’ isn’t a slur – but a familial guilt trip
The phrase “Go back to China” is usually encountered in two very different ways. When you’re Asian and the words are flung in your face by someone who isn’t, it’s a slur intended to dismiss you, diminish you, exclude you; to turn you into a foreigner who doesn’t belong in the country you’re presently occupying. But when you’re someone of Chinese ancestry, it’s also a term you’ll hear regularly around the dining table, delivered sternly or with earnest warmth by immigrant parents or grandparents. From their lips, it’s a statement of purpose and duty, an admonition, a prime directive: Even if you weren’t born in China and have never been there, you need to “go back to China” to immerse yoursel
When ‘Go Back to China’ isn’t a slur – but a familial guilt trip
How Elizabeth Chan became the Queen of Christmas
What would happen if you came home for the holidays as a 30-year-old adult and announced to your Asian parents that you were quitting your high-paying corporate job to follow your bliss — becoming a full-time songwriter specializing in Christmas tunes? If your parents are like mine, you’d be spending yuletide sleeping on a park bench. “It wasn’t exactly easy for me either,” laughs Elizabeth Chan, who half a dozen years ago did just that. “I remember telling my father, and he was the typical Asian dad, saying ‘There’s no way you’re going to make a living doing that. No one does that. It’s never going to happen. That’s not a real thing people do,’” she says. “If anything, it was worse, because
How Elizabeth Chan became the Queen of Christmas
Why Dolce & Gabbana may die with a pair of chopsticks through its heart
To paraphrase the great Jedi master Yoda in Star Wars: Episode II – “Begun, the Chopstick War has just.” A week ago, the Italian luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana found itself under fire for releasing a series of web ads touting its first-ever major Chinese fashion event, “The Great Show.”  The ads feature a giggling Chinese model attempting to eat oversized Italian dishes — a tabletop pizza, a cannoli bigger than a man’s forearm and a punch bowl of red-sauce pasta — with a pair of chopsticks, as a male narrator pokes fun at her inability to deal with the “huge” food using her “little sticks.” The videos were understandably interpreted as racist and condescending, leading to Chinese calls for a D
Why Dolce & Gabbana may die with a pair of chopsticks through its heart
Crazy Rich Asians to open in China. But can it fly?
Earlier this week, word went out across Hollywood newswires that the Warner Brothers blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians had gotten “surprise” approval for release in China. Its news that surely comes as a relief to its creators, including director Jon M. Chu, who shared it on his Twitter feed via the simple two-word message “It’s on,” and producers Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson and John Penotti, the latter of whom vowed to “personally not rest” until Chinese audiences got a chance to see the film for themselves.         View this post on Instagram                   It’s on. #CrazyRichAsians #ChinaRelease #November A post shared by Jon M Chu (@jonmchu) on Oct 15, 2018 at 8:01am PDT
Crazy Rich Asians to open in China. But can it fly?
The legendary Silicon Valley restaurant behind Crazy Rich Asians
Anyone who’s seen the runaway hit movie Crazy Rich Asians is aware of the parts played by music, fashion, geography and even mahjong in bringing its glamorous world to life. But little has been written about the movie’s resplendent use of food, which plays a central role in the film’s story – and in Asian culture generally. The weaving of food into Crazy Rich Asians came naturally to director Jon M. Chu. After all, he grew up immersed in it. For the past half-century, his parents Larry and Ruth have been the proprietors of Chef Chu’s, one of Silicon Valley’s most storied Chinese restaurants. Food is an integral part of how one shares memories, and telling stories is an integral part of how o
The legendary Silicon Valley restaurant behind Crazy Rich Asians
Crazy Rich Asians is conquering the US. Next up, China
The packed screening audience in LA draws a sharp intake of breath as a drone shot sweeps across the ocean and over a city of silver-glass towers. Someone stage-whispers, “Wakanda!” and the theater erupts in a momentary chuckle.  Jokes aside, Crazy Rich Asians isn’t the “Asian Black Panther,” and doesn’t aspire to be. It’s a frothy romantic comedy, an Asian-American Disney Princess movie starring the delightful Constance Wu as Rachel Chu, a US-raised Chinese immigrant whose handsome but enigmatic boyfriend Nick Young (Malaysian-Chinese newcomer Henry Golding, in a starmaking role) sweeps her off to his homeland of Singapore: where she discovers, as the title suggests, that he and his family
Crazy Rich Asians is conquering the US. Next up, China