Impact of Steve Yeun on Asian Representation


If you haven’t watched the season premiere of The Walking Dead and have been drenched with all of the commotion with who Negan kills in social media, I’m sorry for you. But I’m caught up and will discuss a little about Steven Yeun who formerly played Glenn Rhee. It took his graphic death by Negan, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan to have him grace the cover of Entertainment Weekly. Yeun is supposedly the third Asian male actor to be on their cover in the United States with the first being Brandon Lee and the second being Masi Oka. First, I commend Robert Kirkman and AMC for providing Yeun the once in a life time opportunity to be on the show for six strong seasons because it’s such a popular show that stays pretty faithful to the comic books while offering some twists here and there. It’s such well written and cast as they’ve shown strong character development on many of our beloved characters that started out in season 1. In addition, they went against the grain of the entertainment business and allowed an Asian American actor to shine. Yeun plays the everyday Asian man who started out as a pizza delivery boy to being an apocalyptic survivor that has had so many close calls and escaped death while also being a lover to Maggie Greene, played by Lauren Cohan. How many times can you say you’ve seen the Asian guy get the girl in a show or movie? If that’s not great character development for an Asian American actor then I don’t know what is. I think this is great progression and it’d be wonderful to see more shows produced like this. With Yeun’s presence on TWD, I believe it made a positive impact with Asian representation in media because it doesn’t feed into the stereotypes of Asian Americans.



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