AAPI Heritage Month is a time to honor and celebrate the history, achievements, and cultural contributions of the Asian American Pacific Islander community.
One of the best ways to engage with and appreciate the richness and diversity of AAPI culture is through the realm of film and television.
Why it matters: Greater diversity on screen deepens our understanding of differences while opening our eyes to new experiences and perspectives. And while Hollywood has undoubtedly made strides in expanding AAPI representation, there is more work to be done.
To highlight recent programming that celebrates the richness and diversity of AAPI culture, we’ve compiled a list of five must-watch shows and movies. So, grab your favorite snacks, get comfortable, and celebrate AAPI Heritage Month by diving into these captivating stories!
1. “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
An obvious choice, “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” is a mind-bending sci-fi adventure that follows Evelyn, a Chinese American immigrant mother, as she navigates a series of parallel universes to save her home, her family, and the world.
Expect the unexpected in this A24 film that blends comedy and domestic drama about immigrant struggles with parental relationships.
The intrigue: “Everything Everywhere All at Once” dominated at the 2023 Academy Awards taking home seven Oscars, including best picture, best director, and best actress.
Where to watch: Available now on Showtime.
2. “American Born Chinese”
“American Born Chinese” follows high schooler Jin Wang, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, as his life is forever changed when he meets foreign exchange student Wei-Chen, the son of a mythological god.
The intrigue: The eight-episode action-packed series, based on Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel of the same name, delves into themes of self-acceptance, cultural identity, and the immigrant experience.
- Blown away by “Everything Everywhere All at Once?” Then you’re in for a treat! Several actors from the Oscar-winning film also star in this series.
Where to watch: Available May 24 on Disney+
3. “Young Rock”
From global superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson comes “Young Rock,” a sitcom that centers around his experiences growing up in Hawaii, attending high school as a bi-racial 6’ 4” fifteen-year-old, and playing college football for the Miami Hurricanes.
Executive produced by “Fresh Off the Boat” creator Nahnatchka Khan, “Young Rock” celebrates cultural diversity through authentic representations of Black and Pacific Islander experiences.
The intrigue: The series is at the forefront of AAPI representation, featuring many actors of Pacific Islander descent.
4. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” stars Marvel’s first Asian superhero, Shang-Chi, as he confronts the past he thought he left behind when drawn into the mysterious Ten Rings organization.
The film prioritizes celebrating Asian culture through its martial-arts-inspired fight sequences, use of Mandarin language, and portrayal of a family whose dynamics are rooted in traditional Chinese values.
The intrigue: “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is Marvel’s first Asian-led superhero movie, featuring an Asian director and a predominantly Asian cast.
Where to watch: Available now on Disney+
The dramedy series “BEEF” follows strangers Danny Cho, a failing contractor, and Amy Lau, a successful entrepreneur, during a relentless feud that unravels their relationships and lives.
The intrigue: The series, which stars Steven Yeun and Ali Wong, explores the intersection of race and class divisions while bringing to life themes of conflict resolution, community, and the human condition.
Where to watch: Available now on Netflix
Even when AAPI Heritage Month is behind us, it’s important to continue learning, uplifting, and amplifying the voices of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.
To learn more about our efforts to expand representation on TV, click here.