Keanu Reeves is rarely discussed in the conversations about diversity and race in Hollywood. I think that’s probably because most people don’t really know what his racial background is. His mother is white and English, and his father was an American citizen of Chinese and Hawaiian descent, with some English, Irish and Portuguese mixed in too. Some people might believe he has some Lebanese in him too, because he was born in Beirut, but he was only born in Beirut because that’s where his English mother and his American father met. Anyway, Keanu is a one-man melting pot. To promote John Wick 3, he chatted with Essence and the conversation turned to the month of May being Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Keanu spoke briefly about being a “person of color.”
Considering Hollywood’s obsession with talking about diversity—albeit Tinsel Town needs a bit of help with actually executing—you’d think that a billion-dollar franchise being helmed by a person of color would get a few more headlines. Keanu Reeves, who self-identifies as a person of color, is out with the latest violent installment of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, hitting theaters Friday during the middle of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. It follows Reeves’ Wick, who’s now on the run from every single assassin in the world after a $14 million bounty is placed on his head.
When ESSENCE caught up with Reeves last month, the actor admitted that he’s “not a spokesperson” for Asian actors in the Hollywood community.
Still, it doesn’t mean the Canadian, who grew up around Chinese culture thanks to his grandmother, doesn’t care about furthering representation onscreen.
“I hope that whatever opportunities I’ve had, or the work that I’m doing, in some way can entertain and can also—I don’t want to say teach—but have something of value come out of it,” he added.
I think that’s the way to handle it? He obviously has some kind of privilege because he presents as a mostly-white dude and he’s never been treated as an Asian-American (or Asian-Canadian) actor. But he has a Chinese and Hawaiian multiracial background and he identifies as a person of color, but doesn’t want to be a spokesperson for Asian-American issues. He threaded that needle pretty well.
Also, watch this whole trailer for a special moment.
Photos courtesy of WENN.
Still mad Keanu and Sandra didn’t get married. They both had crushes on each other but were too shy to admit it.
Yeah I’d be here for that!! I’d also love for them to do a movie together every few years!
I’ll take hot as a race or ethnicity any day.
Keanu id’s as a person of color. Sandra married a Nazi (Jesse James) and feigned ignorance when the truth about him came out. The math here isn’t hard. Just goes to show that Keanu and other POC aren’t here to redeem your problematic white favs.
what is your proof that the ignorance was “feigned”?
it’s certainly possible for people to lead double lives, so what makes you think that Bullock knew and/or was OK with it?
Whatever sis get a life. They both had crushes on each other but it didn’t happen. Sandra has children of color so it isn’t a stretch for her to marry a person of color.
That person makes the same comment over and over again.
Give me a break. Bullock was abetting a Nazi. What a crock.
I have time today. Abetting him how?
Is Meghan abetting a Nazi? Is The Queen abetting a Nazi by approving the marriage of Princess Michael and Prince Michael.
Jess, why should I put that with poise and measure?
What are you blabbing about?
canber, how was she abetting a Nazi? what is the proof that she knew and/or was OK with his beliefs?
if you’re just talking out of your ass and it’s simply your opinion, it’s OK to say so, but don’t state it as fact if you don’t have some sort of proof that she knew.
WhatWHAT – that was not my contention. That was the opposite of my contention. I do not beleive that Bullock was knowingly married to a Nazi and then feigned ignorance yadda yadda.
So, woman, breathe and read again.
well canber, I’d suggest to you that you put a /s after your post as sarcasm doesn’t translate well into text.
or maybe you just don’t do it well.
so, woman, breathe, and try again.
I actually do side-eye Sandra Bullock on this. Her mother was German, and Sandra’s a bright woman. She had to have some inkling of who JJ was and what all the Nazi regalia meant. That said, we prob should try to refrain from holding women accountable for what men do. Also, I love Keanu Reeves, he deserves someone w depth and substance.
Yawn… women aren’t responsible for the behaviour of men. Signed, a WOC.
I saw your suggestion and I’m discarding it. Don’t make your poor reading my problem.
By the way, “what a crock” was not supposed to be sarcastic. It was a prima facie mockery. So a sarcasm mark would have not made sense.
Canber, I also found your original comment’s intent ambiguous. It wasn’t obvious to me whether you were saying “give me a break” to Jess’s assertion or to whatWHAT?’s challenge of that assertion. You should have put quotation marks around your second sentence, or perhaps a question mark after it, to make it clear that you were mocking that statement instead of echoing it.
Oh. And what part of “what a crock’ confused you?
I am part of this group, but I have privilege existing outside of it so I don’t speak for them.
Perfect, I wish more biracial/multiracial people could understand this within my own community.
Same. I’m multiracial but present as white, and I’m keenly aware of my privilege in that.
Keanu looks completely hapa to me. I don’t view him as a white man, and I’ve seen him in person with a bunch of white people, and he stood out due to his dark hair and facial features. He looked “ethnic” compared to them. I also live in California, a very Asian state with lots of hapas, so his look is pretty common to me and does not read as white, in my opinion. I’d also argue that no Asian-American actor speaks for that community. How could they? They have diverse experiences. A John Cho, who is Korean-Am and grew up in California, has a much different experience from a Constance Wu, who is Chinese-Am and grew up in Virginia.
Same here. I grew up in LA, I am Asian American, and I always thought of Keanu as hapa, for sure. There was one terrible movie where he played a racist cop who particularly persecuted Chinese gang members, and it was so weird to see this part-Chinese actor calling Chinese guys these racist slurs. I can see how ppl who didn’t grow up around a lot of mixed-race ppl see Keanu as white, but I am not one of them.
I don’t know ‘hapa’. Can someone explain pls?
@angie0717: “hapa” is a Hawai’ian term for someone who is half-white and half-Asian. Apparently, in Hawai’ian, “hapa” means “mix” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hapa) and refers to anyone of mixed heritage, but at least on the West Coast of the U.S., people use the term to refer to people who are half-white and half-Asian/Pacific Islander mostly.
Are you saying that biracial and multiracial people should keep their mouths shut when it comes to issues of racism and equality?
@Ader is your back okay? That was quite a reach.
Not really, KL.
I think we have a racial problem and very dark skinned women are dismissed and pushed back while the media promotes biracial, light skinned and white passing people as the face continuing to subjugate and dismiss dark skinned people. I didn’t have a dark enough shade of foundation I didn’t have to drive to Atlanta to buy until 2 years ago.
You can’t fight black issues and exclude black people.
Like the other commentator said, don’t break your back reaching. Not everything is about you and you are proving my point. Being black and being biracial/multiracial are not the same thing even if we have overlap.
I never said that colorism wasn’t a problem. But there seems to be a thread over the past couple of years wherein lighter-skinned black women are supposed to keep their mouths shut. I ain’t playing that. Nope.
And, umm, how am I making this “about me”? I asked a question of the original poster, questioning if that’s what she was saying. Simple.
Do I understand that colorism is a huge problem? Yes. But don’t tell me to shut the fuck up because I’m lighter-skinned. That’s a huge problem, too.
Ader, you are making it about you because you get all the privilege and acceptance without the deeper understanding.
No, the black community being presented with biracial and passing people isn’t helpful. You absolutely have a place and a say in the discussion, you do not however have business speaking about the black community because IT ISN’T ABOUT YOOOOOOOOOU.
You prove that you can’t comprehend what I am saying over and over. It’s exhausting trying to explain this to y’all and you just proved my point. You can’t and don’t get it.
I stand by my statement, I wish more people understood what Keanu does. You can be in a community, speak up on issues and still understand you have no business speaking on behalf of it.
Where is all this privilege and acceptance I am getting? I’d love to see it. I live in a rural white town. So, please don’t explain my “understanding” to me.
Now, do I understand that as a lighter-skinned woman I have a certain privilege in the larger scheme of things? OF COURSE! But that should not negate me from speaking up about racism and inequality.
As for it not being about MEEEEEEEEEE. I am black. Everyone in my family is black. Both my parents are black. So, why are you telling me that issues facing the black community are not about me?
And to add a few things:
1) Just because someone is multi-racial doesn’t automatically mean they can “pass.”
2) Who decides who is “dark” enough to “understand” or “speak out”?
3) For the record, people know I’m black, even though I happen to be biologically mixed. In fact, I had no idea I was mixed until around 17-18. It’s not a Keanu situation where few people can tell. All mixed women don’t look like Meghan Markle, ya know.
Exactly. I present white and get all white priv, nearly always have except when growing up I’d get stopped by cops along w darker skinned siblings. When i’m w white ppl I get no messing, cuz I look white. However, I’d never pretend to truly understand the POC issues, cuz I don’t always get them all the time.
Because I’m an Old, I remember back in the 90s in the Bill and Ted days that this was absolutely a thing that was discussed. Back then people shamelessly asked “what are you” questions all the time, and he certainly wasn’t perceived as white.
I am also an old but I disagree that he wasn’t perceived as white. I think he was. But his ancestry was discussed and it’s not like he or anyone else kept it a secret. IMO, it was regarded as more of a curiosity* than anything else.
*I think it is good that he is making it clear that he considers himself to be a person of color. I just think that when he was younger, the fact that he had Asian ancestry was treated more like “oh, here’s an interesting tidbit about Keanu Reeves.”
My husband is part Asian and he gets asked this all the time (he’s 1/4 Asian.) People will say to him, “I can tell you’re something…….what is it?” (we’re 37.) It’s sort of mind boggling to me how open people are with the question.
Heads up, I’m white, and looking for education, please do not shoot me. Why is curiosity about heritage bad? You are different from me..tell me about you. Where are your ancestors from? l was born in Canada, my parents were from England. They immigrated as very young adults. I am identified as WASP (you get my colour, my heritage (Anglo=England Saxon=the Saxons were savage invaders, noting to be proud about there) and my (supposed) religion (protestant) instantly. So why is it wrong and insulting to ask what their heritage is? Yesterday on the bus I had a glorious, educational and interesting conversation with a young woman from Iran. She asked if I was born in Canada. I asked where she was from, because her accent indicated she was not from Canada. And we talked, whilst all around us were people on their phones. Did I insult her by asking where she was from?
@Surly Gale, Asking people “what are you” is dehumanizing. People often ask this question of complete strangers. Imagine taking an Uber, going to the dentist, or something else completely mundane and having a stranger ask you, ‘What are you?” They don’t know you. They don’t have a relationship with you but demand to know your ethnic makeup so they can put you in a box or sate their curiosity. It is offensive. In my case, I get asked what my nationality is because, while I am not biracial, people think I look “exotic.” I am a bicultural black woman and get told I don’t look like other African Americans. My husband is a white man who has Sicilian, Cajun, Hungarian heritage, etc. and lots of people think he’s Latinx, Armenian, Jewish, etc. Sometimes, people get upset/disappointed when he tells them he’s not what they think he is. In any case, the people asking these questions are rude, entitled, and behaving in ways that reduce others to their ethnic makeup, which is dehumanizing.
I think there is a way to ask. It doesnt sound like you were being insulting with your question. When someone asks him, “I can tell you’re something,” his usual response is to say “I’m a human.” (he says it laughingly, and then answers the question, because he understands what they are asking. And they are also starting from the point of “you’re not white, what are you?”
Replying to Surly Gale. I’m also white and a WASP. so take what I say with a grain of salt. I think some of it is that a question that is innocent and well meaning, can get tiring the umpteenth time it is asked. Also sometimes it implies that someone is different or other or on display. I share with you, the interest in other places and cultures, but I also tread lightly until I can tell if someone wants that conversation. To me the bus conversation sounds fine.
Here is one example from my own life. In my twenties, I lived in West Africa for three years where I was the other or the one who stood out. Children were always calling “white man” when they saw me and singing songs about how I was different. This was all friendly and the children were happy to see me. But after a while, it started to drive me up the wall.
Surly Gale: the question implies that the questioner has a right to know and that the person being questioned should answer cause it’s an innocent question and you’re a nice/interested person, so there’s an implicit power imbalance because if the POC chooses not to respond and you get upset that could become problematic for us cause you’ll be uptight with other POC’s in future. After all, you’ve expressed an interest in someone who would otherwise be ignored or not share the same privilege as you, so maybe they should feel lucky to have your attention while you get to feel open minded and idealistic? Ultimately, the person being questioned is “other-ed” by this question because it implies that they’re different, or out of the normal. Folks want to be included, not excluded, just like you probably do. A lifetime of that question is difficult. I don’t mind the question, just the politics around it.
Surly, Think about when Prince Charles, who was told by a young lady of Indian decent that she was from Birmingham, and then responded that she doesn’t look like it – meaning, she isn’t a true British person. She is other. Your conversation with the young lady from Iran was perfectly fine. Her accent proved to you that she wasn’t from the region, so it’s a forgone conclusion that she comes from another country. Now if she spoke the regional dialect and you still asked her where she is from, that’s problematic.
Hi Surly ,
I am a bi ethnic ( beige ) Canadian. When I tell people I am Canadian they say but “where are you from” and I keep repeating Canada until the conversation stops because it’s none of their business.
As a white Canadian, if you tell people you are from Canada the question stops. That right there is the difference and that right there is an example of micro aggressions that mixies/POC deal with.
Now in your case the person you were speaking to asked you the question first so clearly it’s fine to proceed with that line of questioning and conversation.
Generally speaking if you are a caucasian person and the person of colour or with an accent doesn’t bring up the question of origin, it’s best to just not bring it up.
Thanks to all the thoughtful responses to @SurlyGale. I agree with everything you guys said and add from the perspective of a white person married to an Asian American person I’ve seen that question asked of him so many times by total strangers and while he can tell when the person means well, just as others said, this has been a lifetime for him of being asked this and it has the often unintended side effect of otherizing him and requiring him to put on his teacher hat and explain where his parents were born and inform them that he was born in the US, etc. He’s never really upset when someone shows a genuine interest in him but it irks me sometimes because you don’t ask those questions of me or any of my white friends. Don’t you want to know which part of Europe my ancestors hail from? You don’t b/c it’s not really going to tell you anything about my personality or life experience and it’s not going to meaningfully help us get to know each other.
That doesn’t mean you can never ask! I think just wait until you know someone a little better (or at all) to ask questions about their family. At that point it’s just getting to know their backstory better and showing that it’s not the first thing you need to know about them.
“Innocent” or otherwise, when people ask those of us who look different what they are, what they are saying is “help me fit you somewhere”.
You can’t easily define where I belong, what you can say around me, what to expect, so you’re asking me to clarify.
Most people who do this are not asking the same of white presenting people because they’ve already made a snap judgement on how to interact with them under the presumption that they are white.
This is a racist construct and you don’t have to have done it purposely or have known that’s why in order for it to be so.
@Surly: I am 38, born in Guatemala by natives(?) indigenous parents, adopted by an Italian family, raised in Italy currently in France, so I have a bit of experience about this subject, at least here in Europe. My features are exotic for them I could come from Marocco, Tunisia, Spain, Madagascar etc. etc.
Personally: sometimes I don’t want to answer, because I have spent my life answering to the “where are you from” “why you don’t speak spanish” etc. etc.
When I am having a bad day, when I am not in the mood “I am Italian” end of it.
I had differents reactions, but I remember the “you don’t look like an Italian” one, I wasn’t in the mood and it really pissed me off that day. I remember replying “have you ever been to Italy?” – “No”. BURNT.
When I am more talktive, or I see or feel that the other person is sincerely interested being asked “where do you come from” or the “but your features look exotic” doesn’t bother me. I have learned how to shut down this kind of conversation very fast, so if the lady talked to you, to me it was because you were polite.
Guys, I’m one of those ignorant white people. My husband’s mom is African American and Native American, his dad is Caucasian and Filipino. I met my husband at this sports bar I used to go to. I saw him there a few times before we started talking. I don’t think I asked him right away what he was but at some point I did. Later on in our relationship, he let me know that that makes him feel “othered.” And I felt bad because I didn’t realize how that would make him feel. To me, he was unique and interesting. I will never do that again. I’m a basic white girl and tbh, have always felt very average and wished i was more unique looking. I guess that’s part of my white privilege, that i can just blend in and not be bothered. Tbh, it made me realize that we do see race, even if it’s not meant in a bad way. But we want to put people into a box. He does have some privilege according to him in comparison to darker family members. He gets some jealousy from family members. He gets hit on frequently, even when I’m with him. But white people always find a way to let him know he’s not white. Including myself when i made that stupid comment. I learned my lesson. But anyway, I apologize for my ignorance.
I think he’s been treated as…both (as in his Asian heritage is like an add-on or something, but he’s perceived as predominantly white). Because he’s seen as a sex symbol, I do think his whiteness is seen to take precedence though. If the white wasn’t in there, I wonder if his hotness would have been touted as much. There are other Asian actors who are good-looking, but you can tell he’s treated differently by the media (like Brad Pitt or Leo DiCaprio). So I’d say he’s definitely treated as white. because of the sex symbol status. White actors are generally treated as sex symbols unless they defy convention in some extreme way. Even the plainest ones are seen as hot.
I do think people have always known what he is ethnically though. I don’t think there’s ever been any confusion about it. I’m not sure if that’s because of his first name though (when he explains what his first name means, it inevitably comes out that his dad was from Hawaii).
I’m 1/2 native American and am asked “are you Mexican?” quite often. Or people just assume I’m hispanic. When I identify myself as native it’s a whole other set of questions. I’m so used to it I don’t even mind anymore. When I was a tween and fresh off the reservation it bothered me to be constantly othered. And many natives try to racially gate keep me because my father is native and his tribe is matrilineal. So I essentially belong no where. It’s a tough spot to be in until you can be happy being who you are.
I can empathize. I’m Puerto Rican culture, but my absentee father was a super white guy. I “feel” PR from formative years, but I look like any other white person, my siblings have “that hair”, and I do not, plus I have beige skin. It seems I fit no where and never did. However, I can’t speak for the POC experience, cuz I have white priv.
Another Oldie weigh-ing in, Keaneau is NO POC. I think he needs to sit this one out.
I remember he only got those questions because of his Hawaiian name. If he were Tom Reeves, it wouldn’t have come up (and trust a lot of folks from the community wouldn’t have spotted his hapa-ness that easily). His name is the main clue and he did a lot of explaining back in the day because press wouldn’t let it go.
Not a spokes person for Asian culture, but what about for mixed race culture? Where’s our representation? WTF, dude.
He could never win if he claimed to be a spokesperson for either Asian or Mixed Race culture because he looks white and people would be mad at him because he would never understand the real struggles that comes with looking the part. Do you think Cameron Diaz and Christina Aguilera can represent the Latin comunity as well? Or mixed race cultures? He is not denying his heritage, but to represent them would be unfair too.
He doesn’t look white to me.
He always looked just what he is; hapa.
Diaz and Aguilera are white, or mostly white. Cameron diaz is half white wasp and german on her mothers side and her dad is a white cuban. Christina is argentinian and they are mostly italian and german descent or simply mestizo. But yeah, genotype doesn’t equal phenotype. You can be mixed 50/50 and look like something else entirely.
Edit: Christina is not argentinian, i wonder where i got that from lol
Here is her wiki
Christina María Aguilera was born in the Staten Island borough of New York City, on December 18, 1980, to Shelly Loraine Kearns (née Fidler), a musician, and Fausto Xavier Aguilera, a United States Army soldier. Her father is Ecuadorian, while her mother has German, Irish, Welsh, and Dutch ancestry.
Again, you can be half black and half white for example, and look totally black or totally white or somewhere in the middle. There is no one way to look. So keanu could absolutely be the spokesman for his heritage, although, I don’t think anyone should be a spokesperson for a “race” or whatever..
Latinos are not a race we are a culture and Cameron Diaz and Christina Aguilera can represent us as well as Salma Hayek and Sofia Vergara and Guillermo del toro (who’s white as a paper with blue eyes)
Completely agree. I wish some Black/White Biracial actresses in Hollywood would read his words. They do not acknowledge that although they face discrimination, in the mainstream white society they are given more privileges due to being White adjacent. In the Black community they are worshipped for their Caucasian features. However they are the first ones to decry racism when a Black actress is advocated for to play a Black historical figure.
All you have to do is look at the famous Black actress or people in the music industry to know that the Whiter you look, the better your chances. I applaud Keanu for keeping it real.
@Original T.C. — If you think biracial-black women don’t deal with racism on the daily you are mistaken! And, like you’re sorta / kinda displaying here, we’re often snubbed by other black women who automatically think we’re uppity wannabees because we happen to be lighter-skinned. We’re not worshiped. Come on, let’s not play that game, ya know?
@JustSayin’: He’s NOT hapa. He has one grandparent who is Chinese-Hawaiian, so he would be a quapa.
If you think Keanu looks hapa, what do you think an actual hapa like Henry Golding looks like?
There are a lot of actors of mixed-race heritage who acknowledge their backgrounds, but the media likely downplays it.
The guy from Riverdale (the one who plays Archie) is part Samoan/part white, but I think he’s treated as ….well, white.
There are other actors who are also half-Asian (i.e Michael Galante) and they all freely talk about their ethnic backgrounds.
Mark Paul-Gosselaar (Zack Morris) always mentions his Indonesian heritage, but the media treats him as the white, blonde kid he played.
I don’t think the actors are to blame for how the media chooses to portray them. None of these people hide what their backgrounds are.
@Sparker: I get what you’re saying, but I mean, it’s one article. It was written by some journalist using select quotes from a longer interview that spanned a number of topics. Maybe he wasn’t asked about that, or maybe he said something about that and it didn’t get included. Unless he specifically said he doesn’t want to speak on behalf of mixed-race people, you don’t know that that’s the case.
That trailer. I didn’t know I could find Keanu any hotter.
is he ever NOT hot? 🙂
The 70s porn stache look in The Bad Batch? No thank you.
But the trailer had already made me identify with Marcus! What can I say. I’m easily swayed.
I’ve always seen him as an exotic white person. 😉
Except he isn’t
@Valiantly Varnished He’s 3/4 European. What’s the tipping point for a predominantly white person to be considered white?
Honestly, that’s probably the most thoughtful and grounded approach to it. Being read as white is a privilege in a Western society, no matter how you parse it. There are certainly racial implications to that – erasure of minority identity – that crop up as a result, but there’s where his awareness of the issue becomes important.
Although, at the end of the day, it just highlights how very obtuse and meaningless racial categories really are. What a detriment to our species that we’ve allowed such pointless divisions cause so much suffering.
Yes Veronica, I completely and wholeheartedly agree with your last sentence
Hes perfect in every way huh…lol
Ive told this story before but back in around 1995 when KR was in Syd filming The Matrix, I worked at an upmarket club and he used to come in late and we’d chat.
He is the sweetest, kindest, goofiest, hottest, guy in real life.
One night he wrote his hotel number and hotel on a napkin and asked me to come back after work but I didn’t go as I had an early class the next day!
GIRL!!!!!!! YOU COULDA BANGED KEANU!!!
WHY DIDN’T YOU GO????????
Aye aye aye…….. NNNNNOOOOOOOOO……. I want to jump in my time machine and shake some sense into you! 😂 I’ve tended bar for ages, and I would have been all over that.
OMG!! I would skip classes for a month… hahaha
If this was me I would have phoned in sick to class with a sprained cooch from Keanu-banging.
Oh the folly of youth!
Sprained cooch!!! I’m dying!
Love that image!😂😂😂😂
holy moly I would have skipped class, or just showed up rumpled from my evening with Keanu. Damn, girl…I hope you one day have that opportunity again!
I’m 1000% certain that even your professor would have told you to skip class!
ARE YOU CRAZY? MY GOD WOMAN! that would have been worth staying up all night!
Thank you for posting that trailer and telling us to wait till the end. : ) : ) : )
That trailer was so dumb but Keanu saved it at the end!
Wow, I am so here for that movie!!! I was cracking up at the trailer!
As a biracial person (black/white), who also knows I have privilege that darker skinned black people don’t have, I like what he had to say about his own identification. And how he chooses to speak for (or not) other Asian people. I’m curious if he has siblings. But anyway, I’m really an advocate for people being able to choose for themselves how they want to identify. I also like that he seems very aware that his experience as a mixed person has been different than other people’s.
Sorry that was a lot of random thoughts 🤔
I think he has at least one sister.
Thx. I wonder how she identifies.
…off to the google machine.
One sister with the same father, one sister with a different father. And his father supposedly had another daughter with another woman in Hawaii.
Keanu and his two sisters:
I, too, admire how he’s approached the topic. I’m biracial, equal parts black and white and I have three children. My eldest son’s father is Hispanic. My daughter and youngest son’ father is white. My boys look distinctly biracial, came out the same shade of brown I am with the hair texture to match. My daughter, however is white passing. Blond hair, blue eyes, we rarely meet anyone with fairer skin than hers, euro textured hair.
So in our family, the conversations on race are interesting. I consider my daughter of color. Her brothers are with the same/similar genetic makeup so why shouldn’t I? But it would be silly for me to ignore that her experiences will be vastly different than that of her brown skinned, fro sporting brothers.
I’ve got my eye on Halsey quite honestly as I imagine some of what she faces is similar to what my daughter will likely experience
@Jerusha – thanks for the pic. Man, young Keeanu is smoking hot. I’m not a fan of the current scruffy beard situation he’s got going on, but clean-shaven…yummy.
I’m also biracial, but very much white-passing (think Halsey), and sometimes I accidentally stick my foot in my mouth when talking about race issues because people don’t realize I have a black parent and identify as biracial. I try not to speak on behalf of black folks because I know I have light-skinned privilege. I like everything he had to say here.
He looks like Jarvis Cocker of Pulp fame in the trailer.
Keanu, Randall and Daniel Kim. Yes, please.
I’m not qualified to comment on the main topic of this article as I’m not a POC. But I’m all about Keanu. And that movie trailer….Daniel Dae Kim. Oh yes. I developed a major thing for him during Lost. And I haven’t lost it.
When one is constantly reminded that they are different, yes they will identify that way. He’s never kept it a secret and from every article I’ve read, and I grew up a KR fan, it’s always addresses.
I have always been told I look “different” due to my darker skin. So yes, my olive skin may not be dark enough, but I see myself as “other”. You can’t have it both ways.
Best. Trailer. Ever-f*cking-ever. I’d get Netflix for that alone.
Right?! I’m totally joining again.
Keanu always and forever…
All this time I’ve been paying for Netflix-WORTH IT!!
I can’t wait to see this movie!!! It feels like it’s been so long since a good, funny rom-com came out!!
I’m an old too, and I remember he was always asked about his heritage. He was other. Beautiful and exotic but still seen as other. Also, he was always asked about his sexuality. God, he just handles these things so well.
I absolutely love that Asian actors are now getting better roles and more exposure and I’m soooo gonna watch this as soon as it comes out.
Also actors like Henry Golding, Charles Melton and international superstars BTS changing stereotypes and representing Asian man hotness. I am so here for it.
Keanu Reeves somehow has the knack to speak well without coming across as rehearsed or wooden, especially about sensitive topics.
This one about race and that answer he gave Colbert about what happens after death was textbook Keanu.
Many other artists would probably do anything to get a sliver of his sense around words and other people’s feelings.
Sorry, I love him to bits but he is INFAMOUS for sounding wooden! It’s kinda his trademark, haha.
It’s interesting, because he’s always presented as mixed to me and I’ve never read him as “white.” Then again, I lived in Hawaii for a few years as a child and there are a lot of people who have Keanu’s background and I’m originally from a place where there are a fair amount of Mestizo/Black/East Asian or Southeast Asian mixes or some variation of the four (not uncommon in much of Latin America, especially the Caribbean).
Someone pointed out that he’s always been open about his Chinese and Native Hawaiian heritage, but the media is the one who played it down and only emphasized his paternal Chinese grandmother part and doesn’t mention his almost entirely Native Hawaiian grandfather (one has to wonder if the racist studios had a hand in trying to de-emphasize his background back in the 1990s). I say almost entirely Native Hawaiian, because there are pics of him and his sister and his sister reads very obviously as a POC which indicates their dad probably had very little European ancestry. My guess is the studio was willing to “other” him, as 1/4, but didn’t want to “other” him too much as 1/2.
(one has to wonder if the racist studios had a hand in trying to de-emphasize his background back in the 1990s).
They wanted him to change his name as it was too “ethnic.” He refused.
From the bit on Fallon, Chuck Spadina was jokingly in the running as a name KR picked. Extra funny if you know Toronto, the location of Chinatown, and Spadina Avenue.
I love the influx of Keanu stories. It makes me happy ❤️
I’m Canadian (we claim Keanu and I used to live down the street from his old school) and I can’t recall a time when Keanu ever hid his bi-racial heritage. He just never stopped anyone from accepting him as White. So he got the benefits of White privilege without denying his ethnicity.
JW3 got a four star rating on rogerebert.com. They almost never give out four stars and they’re pretty stingy with their three stars. Let’s all get out this weekend and give it a really big box office.
Keanu handled this well. He cannot speak for marginalized people, because he was never treated as such. His lighter complexion gave him an allowance that isn’t afforded to many POC. This is what I would like lighter skinned POC across the ethnicities to understand. Asian people, lighter Latinx people and Middle-Eastern people have to admit that their lighter skin carries them further than a person with darker skin. We are not equal in this. I appreciate his acknowledgement. He knows what he is, but isn’t going to front as if he hasn’t been treated differently because visually he presents as white.
I see echoes of colorism in a small percentage of the comments and it frustrates the hell out of me that some people refuse to understand.
Being biracial has not shielded me a whit from the judgements and racial conditions of a society born and bred in bigotry.
Some of the experiences are different just as black people of all shades might experience regional or socio economic differences but we lighter skinned biracial folks weren’t granted magic immunity from racism.
Bigots and ignorants other us just as frequently, cops pull us over and shoot us in the same measure, our lighter skin has not given us better outcomes in school systems, the justice system, in politics, in housing practices, etc. Police blotters describe us as black, etc.
We’re in this together and denying our valid experiences just because they aren’t always an exact match does nothing to bring awareness to those issues or help reduce them.
And this is a lot of words but it took me a long time to realize that how some black people felt about me didn’t change the realities my boys and I experience living in our skin.
Those realities gave been very similar to what my black mother experienced and what her light skinned yet just as black sister and mother experienced.
@DS9, Sorry colorism is not bias against people with light-skin; it is bias against people with dark skin. And, yes, studies show that lighter-skinned blacks get shorter prison sentences than dark-skinned blacks do. Lighter-skinned black women are also more likely to get married than darker-skinned black women. Lighter skinned people aren’t immune to racism, but they have light-skin privilege. This is why it’s called colorism. You’re simply not being truthful if you think light-skinned people and dark-skinned people aren’t treated differently, and I say this as a black woman of about Gabby Union’s shade who is privileged in many ways. Do you think if Meghan Markle had been dark, she still would have made it into the royal family? Would Barack Obama have been president had he not been biracial? Would Misty Copeland have been a prima ballerina? It’s not a coincidence that historically and today many of the people of color who have been trailblazers are biracial/mixed race. White society is just more willing to accept POCs who are more ambiguous looking.
Your examples prove my point. Regardless of how lighter or biracial people get where they are, they are still othered, still treated as less than, still subject to abject racism and bigotry.
Five minutes after Meghan Markle popped a kid the color of a starbucks flat white, someone compared him to a monkey. Obama’s entire time in office was marked by racism at every turn, so much so that his term was followed up by the most racist administration we’ve seen in ages.
And let me be abundantly clear since I must not have expressed it well the first time.
Colorism is by definition when POC are treated differently based on having a lighter skin tone. A side effect of colorism is a division amongst POC and petty squabbling over who has it worst. Black folks of all shades sometimes spend too much energy practicing these old bigotries against each other, framing darker skinned people as more angry and intimidating and lighter skinned people as arrogant, bougie, and insulated from racism or unable to understand or relate as if this is a new issue and not something that’s been an issue for ages all the way back to Marcus Garvey and WEB DuBois.
But colorism does not provide us with immunity from racism. It never has and it never will. The issues overlap but they are not mutually exclusive.
Oh my Lord!! 😮 That trailer. What a sexy man!! Despite the bump in the Netflix subscription, Keanu Reeves is so worth it. He is worth giving everything up for lol
I was surprised to learn he is in Toy Story 4, he is rumoured to have a part in Hobbs & Shaw, there is John Wick 3 and Always Be My Maybe. This is the summer of Keanu Reeves and I’m here for it.
Also, he has been snapped up for a Saint Laurent campaign AW 19. Let me leave this here – you can thank me later ladies lol 😉 – https://youtu.be/Op79-PV3AHc
People used to be obsessed wth his sexual orientation. Not sure if they still are. He lives such a quiet life I suppose no one wants to bother him anymore.
I’m mixed. It’s a weird in-between status – I present white to most people, but because of historical racism towards my family, I lack opportunities other whites my age might enjoy. I’ve always considered Keanu white. He presents as such and he was raised by his white mama and her family in Toronto. He had very little to do with father or his side (never heard him mention this Chinese grandma before). He seems very respectful to the issue, though and being as he otherwise enjoyed a privileged upbringing, it would indeed be foolish of him to suggest he represents any sort of Asian struggle.
I LOVED the trailer. I might even sign up for Netflix just to see it. At first I was wondering what this had to do with Keanu and then stopped thinking about him altogether because the trailer was so damn good. And then when Keanu came in at the end, it was hysterical.
I lived in the Bay Area and knew so many talented Asian actors that it did my heart good to see this trailer. People of colour rarely romantic comedies, as if romance isn’t for us or romance doesn’t make us act foolishly.
As for Keanu’s ethnicity, I think one of the reasons he’s been able to pass as White is because White people were willing to overlook his ethnicity because they liked him and wanted him to one of them. It’s the same with Vin Diesel or Dwayne Johnson. I knew Vin back in his bouncer days in NY and EVERYBODY knew he was Black so I STILL can’t believe he’s been able to pull this con for so long. I wasn’t a wrestling fan but the first time I saw ‘The Rock’, there was no doubt in my mind that he was a Black man. But it seems that White people are willing to ignore the obvious if they want to claim a person of colour as theirs. I wonder what would happen if either man screwed up. Would there suddenly be a ‘newsflash’ that these men were really POC who had been ‘tricking’ the unsuspecting public all this time?
I hate the term people of color; it’s a catchall phrase used to try and lump all non white people together and it’s stupid. Also, it’s never been a secret that Keanu has Chinese heritage.
@Patty, for me it depends on whether the term “PoC” is used to self-identify or to identify others.
My biological father is Black LatinX, but my adopted father is light skinned and from a different LatinX culture. Do I identify with my birth culture or the culture I was raised in? I look far more LatinX than Black, so am I just LatinX or biracial? I’m light skinned but I have a wide nose and kinky hair like my Black LatinX dad, so am I also Black?
“PoC” is my way of saying “race and culture are complicated, and I know I don’t look white.” It’s shorthand for “nunya darn business.” 🙂