Bruce Lee was one of the first Asian-Americans to become famous in Hollywood and made the first steps toward the recognition of Asians in film. His films presented key cultural aspects of China to an audience that (generally speaking) had very little knowledge of Asian culture including daily life, religious views, history, and various other topics. In addition, one could say that he was the first to fight the stereotype of Asian males being effeminate by showing physical prowess through the use of Chinese martial arts. All of this took place throughout Bruce Lee’s filmography in a careful manner so as to not build onto the Yellow-Peril stereotype that was already growing during his time due to the Cold War.
On April 16th, commemorating the 40th anniversary of his death, his wife will be collecting a the Founder Award from the London Asian Awards for his ground breaking work. This award, once restricted to South Asian countries, has grown to include nearly the entirety of the Asian continent and is quickly becoming a globally recognized honor. This, in turn, can be a motivating force to drive new actors and screenwriters to create works that actually portray the Asian community in the modern world instead of simply conforming to the status quo and perpetuating stereotypes. I can foresee this honor gaining momentum and becoming one of the primary driving forces behind the movement from the regulated phase to the final plateau of respect. While it is sad that people have to jump through hoops like these in order to achieve equality, I believe that a system of rewarding actions that move toward a more homogeneous society is the best way to start and in time these actions will become second nature.
Article by The Hollywood Reporter: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/uk-asian-awards-honor-bruce-433208