Ashley Ahn on NPR:
The U.S. Mint will begin shipping coins featuring actress Anna May Wong on Monday, the first U.S. currency to feature an Asian American. Dubbed Hollywood’s first Asian American movie star, Wong championed the need for more representation and less stereotypical roles for Asian Americans on screen. Wong, who died in 1961, struggled to land roles in Hollywood in the early 20th century, a time of “yellowface,” when white people wore makeup and clothes to take on Asian roles, and anti-miscegenation laws, which criminalized interracial relationships.
The roles she did land were laced with racial stereotypes and she was underpaid, earning $6,000 for her top billed role in Daughter of the Dragon compared to Warner Oland’s $12,000, who only appeared in the first 23 minutes of the film. For Shanghai Express, Wong earned $6,000 while Marlene Dietrich made $78,166.