Representation matters on the big screen


Kathleen Ortiz

Sharna Ngo argues that while representation has become more prominent, we still want to see even more people like us.

Sharna Ngo, Staff Writer

Pop culture has shaped what “goes” and what doesn’t for years, but it’s especially prominent today. Movies, celebrities, and even books have been a few of the main sources of media people naturally consume everyday. (Don’t forget about TikTok). So representation is even more important today. Seeing people that look or act like us become successful could lighten our future, while also making us feel seen.

Sharna Ngo went to see Shang Chi and the Legend of the Seven Rings. (Submitted by Sharna Ngo)

Representation can span many categories; it can reach from powerful women in businesses, trans people being their authentic selves in movies, people of color being acknowledged for their great feats of work, and so much more. While representation has become more prominent, we still want to see even more people like us.

Movies and television play a major role in inclusivity. This can be about the directors making the movie, the actors playing their roles, and the message they present. Directors create the films that we love, but actors being themselves is just enough. Jordan Peele, an extraordinary director that made wonderful horror films such as “Get Out” (2017), “Us” (2019), and recently just helped produce the new horror movie, directed by Nia Dacosta, “Candyman” (2021). 

A black director gaining popularity for films depicting black culture in horror is an awe inspiring experience, especially for black Americans who want to make it in the industry. Dacosta has recently been announced as the first black woman to get the #1 film spot in the box office. This is a huge step for black women since they have been underrepresented in general 

Actors are also very important in well represented films. It doesn’t have to be the roles they play, it can also be the actors themselves. Seeing actors such as Elliot Page come out as trans wasn’t just libertating for him, but liberating for the entire trans community. 

I, personally, am not speaking for the trans community, but the responses that Page received were very emotional and overwhelmingly positive. Trans adults were sending congratulations to Page for coming out, while trans youth started to come out to the world, inspired by Page’s decision. 

As for the movies themselves, they can go either way: a realistic world with settings that do exist or as fantastical as you want to be. It doesn’t matter what genre, I want to see more diverse worlds.

“Shang Chi and the Legend of the Seven Rings” (2021) is one of the few Asian-oriented Marvel movies to come out. It’s so nice to see an Asian “superhero” in the universe since most of the major Marvel heroes are white. 

I always tend to get emotional since all the Asian American actors and influencers get emotional as well. Sandra Oh was caught cheering for the winners at the Academy Awards in 2020 when “Parasite” became the first Asian film to win best screenplay. It also won best picture that year. Her reaction is exactly how we should support each other. Seeing us win and acknowledged in the industry feels like a breath of fresh air.

These topics are so important today since diversity is becoming the norm. Seeing racial diversity, and people that we identify with, on the television and in theaters makes a much bigger impact than we can imagine.