“Saturday’s 14th annual Unforgettable Awards, presented by Audrey Magazine and KoreAm Journal, recognized Asian talent in the media at the Beverly Hilton, spotlighting “Fresh Off the Boat” actors Randall Park and Constance Wu, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” star Chloe Bennet, “The Walking Dead” vet Steven Yeun, CNN’s Lisa Ling and web sensation Eugene Lee Yang.
The general consensus on the red carpet was that the television landscape is finally moving in the right direction with two network shows with primarily Asian-American casts — ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Dr. Ken.” “Fresh” introduced an Asian Santa Claus in its holiday episode, which Park believes was a hilarious and meaningful conversation.
“When our show first was coming out there was a lot of trepidation from the community,” recalled Park. “I think that the community was so used to being mistreated — especially by comedy — but the show has been really embraced.”
The actor also noted that recent strides aren’t enough during a time where there are more than 400 television shows and only a handful of them feature Asian-Americans. Many also pointed that the lack of Asian entertainment execs, lead actors and romantic interests in Hollywood.
“As a community, that’s why events like these are important because we get to come together and push each other more and lift each other up,” said Yeun, who received major kudos throughout the evening for playing a multi-dimensional character on AMC’s hit post-apocalyptic drama. Yeun’s beloved character, Glenn, spent much of the first half of this season feared dead, which led to an outpouring of fan uproar.
“When I first got out here, I was told that I wasn’t white enough to be the lead and not Asian enough to be the best friend,” stated Bennet. “Six years later, I’m three seasons deep in a major network show and that in itself is progress….”