We’ve spent a lot of time on here talking about how much we loved Crazy Rich Asians, a breezy rom-com that also manages to say something important about family and legacy. But of course, the big story with Crazy Rich Asians is its representation of an all-too often ignored racial group. It’s an easy thing to take for granted when you’re white, but as a number of stories have reminded us over the last few weeks, representation matters.
That’s the message conveyed by the movie’s director John Chu, who has published the letter he wrote to Coldplay. Katherine Ho’s cover of “Yellow” (with the lyrics translated to Mandarin) soundtracks the movie’s emotional climax, but it wasn’t always going to be that way. The band declined on the initial request to let the movie use their song for unknown reasons, but as any creative will tell you, never take no for an answer.
Chu wrote a letter from the heart, explaining why he wanted the song so bad. The word “yellow,” often used as an ethnic slur against Asian people, becomes something tender and beautiful in Coldplay’s song, and that’s the message Chu wanted. “We’re going to own that term,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “If we’re going to be called yellow, we’re going to make it beautiful.”
You can read it in full below.
It did the trick. Within 24 hours, Coldplay had changed their mind. That’s the sort of determination that will turn your ideas to something beautiful. Check out Ho’s cover of the song from the Crazy Rich Asians soundtrack below.