Tag Archives: Anna May Wong

Perseverance: Four American Performers of Color Who Found Success Abroad

2016 is the second year in a row that all the 20 nominees in the acting categories for the Oscars are all white. This prompted the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite created by April Reign to resurface. While television has started to become more diverse, this still isn’t reflected in other media. Continue reading

10 Great Women of Color Whose Stories You Should Know

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’ve rounded up ten of our books that feature some amazing women of color! From a baseball player to an American politician, these women have helped pave the way for many others.

1. Wangari Maathai, Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace – the first African woman, and environmentalist, to win a Nobel Peace Prize

seeds of change

2. Marcenia Lyle, Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young  Girl’s Baseball Dream – the first woman to play for an all-male professional baseball team

catching the moon

3. Anna May Wong, Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story – the first Chinese American movie star

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Anna May Wong and Women of Color in Hollywood Today

guest bloggerContinuing our entries for Women’s History Month, we asked the talented writer and producer Paula Yoo (author of Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story, Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story) about whether women of color in Hollywood still face the same challenges that Anna May Wong once did. Here’s what she had to say: 

“It’s a pretty sad situation to be rejected by [the] Chinese because I’m ‘too American’ and by American producers because they prefer other races to act Chinese parts.”Anna May Wong, quoted from James Parish and William Leonard’s Hollywood Players: The Thirties (New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House Publishers, 1976, pp. 532–538)

Anna May Wong dreamed of becoming a famous movie star in Hollywood. As a child working in her family’s laundry in downtown Los Angeles, Anna was often distracted by movies being filmed on location. While dropping off her customers’ clean laundry, Anna would hover nearby on the sidewalk to observe the actors, directors, and camera crews.

Anna, however, had no idea that she would also become a pioneer for actors of color, thanks to her determination to overcome the discrimination she faced in the 1930s as one of the few actresses of color in the industry. Like many struggling actors, Anna was forced to accept certain roles she found demeaning (and even racist) because the competition was so fierce in Hollywood.

Anna May Wong in Shining Star by Paula Yoo, artwork by in Lin Wang
Anna May Wong in Shining Star, artwork by Lin Wang

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