The actress opens up about celebrating the movie's culture amid the spike in anti-Asian hate crimes.
Kelly Marie Tran is opening up about the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday, the actress, who stars in Raya and the Last Dragon, said it's been "a very wild experience" to try and celebrate the movie and the culture it represents in the midst of the hate the AAPI community has received since the start of COVID-19.
"I think for me, something that has been really strange about it is that I'm here talking about Raya, this movie that is celebrating this part of the world, which very rarely gets to be celebrated ... and also acknowledging these horrible things that are happening at the same time," Tran explains to Ellen DeGeneres. "[It] has been a very wild experience."
Despite the mixed emotions the Disney star has been feeling, she hopes the film can still bring joy to the Asian-American community and to everyone who watches it.
"I really hope that this movie can give people a little bit of joy in the middle of this really tumultuous thing," says the actress, who is making history as the first Southeast Asian Disney princess.
In times like these, Tran says she has learned to lean on her community.
"If there's anything I've learned from this whole experience, and my own personal experiences with racism, it's that, community is the one way to help combat any sort of negativity," she explains. "I'm really inspired by the ways people are really banding together to combat this thing."
"Everyone needs to combat this," DeGeneres echoes.
The 32-year-old actress told ET earlier this month that she is using her platform to bring awareness to what the Asian-American community is going through after she received online racist bullying that forced her to delete all her social media.
"We live in a world that's constantly teaching us to be afraid of the things that make us different," Tran tells ET. "And here is the movie that is celebrating all those things."
Watch the video below for more on the message she believes Raya has to share with the world.