Uproar after Asian American is Cast in TV Show to Play Native


Posted By Jazmyn Espinoza-Church September 11th, 2017 Blog


The Paramount network recently came under fire for casting Kelsey Asbille to play the wife of the character Cory on its new TV show “Yellowstone”.

The problem?

Kelsey is a member of the Asian American community.



The 25-year-old “Teen Wolf” actress previously went by the last name Chow.

The character?

Is Native.

The actress, cast to play a Native American woman living on the reservation with her husband, is actually a mix of caucasian and Taiwanese. Recently it became known that she may be part of a band of Cherokee descent far back in her lineage, but that was not a deciding factor in the casting process.

After the casting was announced Native American actor Adam Beach clapped back across his social media channels expressing his outrage at the lack of diversity and white washing done by Hollywood.

He urged fellow Natives to boycott the project.

“I'm asking my Native Actors to stay away from this project.”Yellowstone” is telling the world that there are no Native Actresses capable of leading a TV show. Unless your great-great-great grandparents are Cherokee.”

 

While some may think the issue is a small one it's, unfortunately,  a piece of a bigger picture. Racial diversity in media and literature is a huge issue, often leaving Native American's as the “forgotten people”. Most major projects portray us in an inaccurate, often harsh light.

And Now they couldn't even get an authentic Native actress to accurately portray us?

What happens when a little Native girl watching the show wonders why she doesn't look like her? Or thinks there's something wrong with her because that's what a “real Native” is supposed to look like?

The situation over all is disrespectful and shows the casting team doesn't see a difference between the Asian and Native communities.

What are your thoughts?

Are people over reacting or did the network go a step too far, contributing to cultural appropriation?

 



About Jazmyn Espinoza-Church

Jazmyn Espinoza-Church is a bestselling Native American Author, advocate for Native youth, and freelance journalist. When she's not writing or mentoring she can be found in her Michigan home, hanging out with her fiance and two sons.

TAGGED:    adam beach    Culture    Events    Indian Country    Indigenous    Native    Native American    native movies    native news update    Reservation    yellowstone  

Comments

10 thoughts on “Uproar after Asian American is Cast in TV Show to Play Native

  1. It’s the typical Hollywood stereotype to do that. Even back during the Hollywood westerns.
    They have gotten Caucasian Americans to play the part of Native Americans. It was wrong then. And it’s still wrong now.

  2. Cynthia Collett says:

    This is wrong on so many levels. Really sad that even with our increased awareness – things just don’t change. My great-great grandmother was Cherokee as well – but I certainly don’t feel that would qualify me for a Native American role.

  3. Hey! When you offend an old white man you have really over reached. There are many talented native actresses more than capable of filling this part. Not just native actors should boycott this program, everyone should. Who is producing this, Jim Carry.

  4. I agree with Adam! Served my country, saved lives, suffered Boarding schools, beatings, BIA agent beatings and humiliations and now you say you want a foreigner to portray OUR NATIVE AMERICAN PROPLE? No, you gringo’s just don’t get it do you? Manifest Destiny at all costs eh?

  5. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice that some Native Americans do have physical
    facial characteristics akin to Asian people. Just because there is a similarity doesn’t mean movie moguls should overlook the possibility of talented Native Americans. I’ve seen plenty young women (now older women) who could handle such a role. There are so many more young Native American women who are up-and-coming actresses. Give them a chance.

  6. TL. Eveningdawn Ehrlich says:

    Well, here we are again. Native American Women are the single most disrespected, over sexualized, unrepresented group in the world today. We are strong, smart, beautiful, talented people who never even get asked if we could fill the role or the job. We are still looked at as the chattel, the stupid squaw. God, I hate that word. We have had the civil rights movement and yet we natives were not even considered as a part of that process. It is time to wake up and realize you didn’t destroy us all. We are Here. We are EQUAL and we are proud people who deserve our chance at a life and a career and the chance to follow our passion. just like everyone else. A beautiful Native woman in a movie! These Hollywood idiots need to understand that their prejudice is unacceptable!

  7. C. Carson says:

    This is really nothing new, Native American parts have been played by Italians, Mexicans, South Americans, Indians from India, and any other browner or olive skinned actors, or any popular actor with enough makeup on, for decades. Is it right, no, will the Hollywood execs change their tactics, probably not. As long as the movie makes money they really don’t care what anyone thinks.

  8. shomanche says:

    that’s Hollywood for you, if you are not in the “elite circle” in Hollywood unfortunately you are not favored or picked for major roles, basically if they don’t own your life, you are often over looked, and for others who know what I’m really talking about, this was the watered down version of explaining it. But one day our native people will naturally rise in hollywood and in society and be acknowledged for who we really are through gods blessings ☺

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