MN Shyamalan and the invasion of Hollywood
When Manoj Night Shyamalan lost the Oscar for "The Sixth Sense" many people of color felt let down.
Here was an ethnic guy raised in the middle of white America who had created one of the most thought-provoking Hollywood creations ever.
However, the success of Shyamalan's film is truly a milestone for those in the Asian Pacific American (APA) community.
Some of us who are old enough can remember when Bruce Lee first hit the scene with the movies "The Big Boss" and "Fists of Fury".
Many APAs today don't like the kung fu stereotypes, but at that time old reruns of Charlie Chan were all we were used to.
Bruce Lee was sort of like some messiah who rose out of the ocean. Even African Americans felt sort of a liberating experience from the his success.
The euphoric feelings were cut short when news of Lee's death hit the headlines.
APAs in Hollywood continued to have some success, but it's taken some time for things to recover. One thing that we have seen is a new presence on the creative side of things.
John Woo, with his hard-hitting action films, was among the brightest to show up on this scene. Amy Tan's writings also made an impression inTinsel town.
Now, with Shyamalan's hit has further cleared the path for a new era in Hollywood comparable to that started by Spike Lee amongst African Americans.
Although Shyamalan was raised in the boonies, he is one of the first of these new creative talents to show a reallyknowledge of what is "Eastern."
Not the wholly exotic Eastern-ness of old Hollywood with its rope tricks and inscrutable characters, but something real and spiritual.
If more can follow his example and produce similar quality work, Hollywood may get a second chance among many who gave it up long ago.