The Lookout: Action-Packed Upcoming Releases and Asians Raising Awareness Through Art

Editor’s note: Adapted from our monthly listicles, “The Lookout” is our weekly series bringing you the latest scoop of what’s happening in AAPI entertainment. We’re doing the legwork, so you don’t have to. 

According to the nonprofit, Leading Asian Americans to Unite for Change (LAAUNCH), 42% of Americans cannot name a single prominent Asian American and approximately 80% of Asian Americans feel a sense of discrimination in the U.S.. Additionally, the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative recently released a report that found Asian and Pacific Islanders account for less than 6% of speaking roles in Hollywood. Actor Daniel Dae Kim shared the study and revealed how the harmful Asian stereotypes have affected his decisions in taking up projects over the years. 

This week, the “Fast and Furious” franchise released “The Originals,” a featurette that takes fans back to the beginning. Viewers will be reminded of the saga’s 20 year journey, from the first movie that premiered in 2001 to now. It also gives a few teasers to the upcoming “Fast 9” movie, out in U.S. theaters on June 25.

Some good news for Avatar Fans—Nickelodeon is launching a new project through iHeartRadio featuring Dante Basco and Janet Varney, the voices of Zuko and Korra respectively. They will recap “The Last Airbender” and “The Legend of Korra” while breaking down key themes, notable battles and behind-the-scenes trivia starting June 22.

Actress Shay Mitchell is executive producing Fox’s new mob drama, “The Cleaning Lady.” The story follows a Cambodian doctor, played by Elodie Yung, who comes to the U.S. for medical treatment to save her ailing son but winds up as a cleaning lady for a crime organization. The show, slated to premiere later this year, delves into the themes of motherhood and immigrant struggles that many will relate to.

Maggie Q, best known for her action roles, is taking a stab at comedy. She is the newest star of Fox’s “Pivoting,” alongside Ginnifer Goodwin and Eliza Coupe. Q plays a doctor dealing with the loss of a close friend in addition to a divorce. “Pivoting” is Fox’s second new live-action scripted comedy for the upcoming 2021-22 broadcast season.

Henry Golding stars as Snake Eyes, a ninja commando in the new “G.I. Joe” spinoff. Described as “Mission Impossible turned up to 12,” the teaser trailer gives viewers a sneak preview of the mysterious character behind the mask. The film also stars “Warrior”‘s Andrew Koji as Storm Shadow. “Snake Eyes” is set to be released on July 23.

Last weekend, Identity LA hosted its 21st annual music festival hosted by Dumbfounded and Sherry Cola featuring performances from Asian artists around the world including Year of the Ox, James Reid, Stephanie Poetri and ATEEZ. The event was presented by Amazon Music and supported by Gold House and Pacific Bridge Arts. Over $15,000 was raised and will benefit efforts to stop Asian hate as well as arts program scholarships.

Last weekend, two Miss Universe contestants used the pageant’s costume segment to make bold political segments. Miss Singapore, Bernadette Belle Ong, wore red and white from the Singaporean flag as a cape with the message, “Stop Asian Hate,” printed on the back to raise awareness for the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes. Similarly, Miss Myanmar, Thuzar Wint Lwin, carried a banner on stage asking for prayers for her country, due to the ongoing political turmoil that has left hundreds killed.

If you’re looking for a fun summer read, “Tokyo Ever After” is described by many as a cross between “Crazy Rich Asians” and “The Princess Diaries.” As author Emiko Jean’s third book, the young adult novel tells the story of Izzy, an ordinary Japanese American teenager who finds out her biological father is the Crown Prince of Japan. The book is a coming-of-age romantic dramedy filled with themes of love, family and identity. 

Japanese baseball player Shohei Ohtani now leads the MLB in home runs, thanks to his league-leading 14th home run this Tuesday during a game against the Cleveland Indians. The 26-year-old pitcher and hitter for the Los Angeles Angels also has the record for highest pitch—4.19 feet off the ground—by an Angels Player since 2008.

Tune in next week for another roundup of the latest news in AAPI entertainment!