PAST GUESTS

1993

Phil Tajitsu Nash

“Showing the APA community in all of its glory, with the full spectrum of tastes and traditions, goes a long way toward showing us to be human beings, not two-dimensional stereotypes,” — Phil Tajitsu Nash

PHIL TAJITSU NASHA lawyer, teacher, author, multi-media practitioner, (he’s a web site developer, a columnist, radio producer and a certified TV and video producer in the Fairfax Cable Access Company, Channel 10), advocate, avid gardener (ferns, hostas, orchids), guitar player, and someone with a thirst for knowledge, Tajitsu-Nash is a Renaissance man.

He is the founding executive director of the Asian American Justice Center. He has been on the board of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) for 30 years. He has taught APA studies courses for 25 years. Nash teaches Asian American Art at the University of Maryland, where he directs an oral history project at the university’s Asian American Studies Program aimed at preserving the history of the APA community in Metro D.C. He is also CEO of a web site development company, NashInteractive.com.

1994

Rochelle Ashana

 

ROCHELLE ASHANAFilipina-American actress, stunt woman, and photographer, Rochelle Ashana studied and graduated in California at the UCLA specialist in art and design .

As an actress played Mylee in the film Kickboxer 3.  She also had guest appearances on many American television shows such as The A-Team, Hooperman , Jake and the Fatman – Fatman , Magnum , Young and the Restless , Santa Barbara and General Hospital . For two years she was also host a U.S. TV show called American Asians.

An advocate for community service, Ashana taught children in art schools and organizes fundraising. Her current residence is near Washington, DC , where she also runs her own company for photography distribution.

Dustin Nguyen

 

DUSTIN NGUYENAfter leaving Vietnam with his family in 1975 and grew up in the United States of America, Dustin Tri Nguyen went on to establish himself as one of Hollywood’s premiere Asian-American actors, having starred on such hit TV shows as 21 Jump Street, Seaquest DSV, as well as feature films. Of noteworthy is Dustin landing the much-coveted starring role in the critically acclaimed Little Fish opposite Academy Award-winner Cate Blanchet.

Jeff Yang

 

JEFF YANGJeff Yang is an American writer, journalist, businessman, and business/media consultant who writes the “Tao Jones” column for the Wall Street Journal. Previously, he was the “Asian Pop” columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle. Yang lives in New York City. Yang is also known for his books, including Once Upon a Time in China: A Guide to the Cinemas of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China, I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action (with Jackie Chan), Eastern Standard Time: A Guide to Asian Influence in American Culture, from Astro Boy to Zen Buddhism, and Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology. In addition, he has written for the Village Voice, VIBE, Spin, and Condé Nast Portfolio.

Yang is also a business/media consultant on marketing to Asian American consumers for Iconoculture, Inc. Before joining Iconoculture, Yang was CEO of Factor, Inc., another marketing consultancy targeting Asian Americans. From 1989 until 2002, when it went out of business, Yang was publisher of A Magazine, then the largest circulating English-language Asian American magazine in the United States. The magazine grew out of an undergraduate publication that he had edited while a student at Harvard University. Yang produced the first Asian American television show, “Stir”.

He is a member of the Asian American Journalists Association and has served on the advisory boards of the Asian American Justice Center and the China Institute in America.

1995

Christine Choy

“When it comes to being a role model, Christine Choy is dubious. She said to me before I sat down to talk to her that she wasn’t sure what sort of role model she was. But, for Christine Choy, those who would serve as role models for Asian American should be holistic—be both light and dark, good and bad. She describes a professor who influenced her and gave her the confidence to be who she is today, and says that he supported her and encouraged her and told her that her work was “brilliant.” Perhaps, this type of role model is one that aspiring Asian American artists need. Aspiring Asian American filmmakers need a community that affirms them, even as they need examples of those, like Christine Choy, who prove that they can attain their goals.” — Jay Kim, Yisei Magazine (Harvard)

CHRISTINE CHOYBorn Chai Ming Huei to Chinese mother and Korean father in People’s Republic of China (1952), Choy is a filmmaker who addresses human injustice by using film as a political and humanist tool. Her work represents a rich oral and visual history of the ways in which people of color are represented on the screen.

Her own Asian-American heritage is a great source of personal inspiration, encouraging her to educate and enlighten those in her community and beyond about the political and social problems that exists in contemporary Asian America. In the early 1970s Choy worked as a film cleaner/cataloguer/sometime editor at Newsreel (later known as Third World Newsreel), an alternative media arts organization that describes itself as being committed to the creation and appreciation of independent and social issue media by and about people of color, and the peoples of developing countries around the world. Among the number of films Choy has made with Asian-American portraits, they include Mississippi Triangle, SA-I-GU, Yellow Tale Blues: Two American Families, Monkey King Looks West, Not a Simple Story, Out in Silence, and Who Killed Vincent Chin? (her best known film, co-directed with Renee Tajima)

George Takei

“I spent my boyhood behind the barbed wire fences of American internment camps and that part of my life is something that I wanted to share with more people.” — George Takei

GEORGE TAKEIGeorge Hosato Takei is an American actor and author, best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the television series Star Trek. He also portrayed the character in six Star Trek feature films and in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. He is a proponent of gay rights and active in state and local politics as well as continuing his acting career. He has won several awards and accolades in his work on human rights and Japanese–American relations, including his work with the Japanese American National Museum.

1996

Le Ly Hayslip

“The past, for everyone, is full of missed chances, surviving to understand them, if not set them straight, is one of the things that makes the next breath worth taking.” ― Le Ly Hayslip, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman’s Journey from War to Peace

LE LY HAYSLIPBorn Phùng Thị Lệ Lý on December 19, 1949, Le Ly Hayslip is a Vietnamese-American memoirist and humanitarian. American helicopters landed in her village when she was 12 years old. At the age of 14, she endured torture in a South Vietnamese government prison for “revolutionary sympathies”. After being released, she had fallen under suspicion of being a government spy, and was sentenced to death but instead raped by two Viet Cong soldiers.

Her first book, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman’s Journey from War to Peace (Doubleday, 1989), tells the story of her somewhat peaceful early childhood and war-torn adolescence. The nonlinear structure alternates between the narration of her life in Vietnam as a child and her first return to Vietnam and her family in 1986. The two stories are interwoven to show the circular nature of Hayslip’s journey, both her physical journey and her emotional one.

Her second memoir, Child of War, Woman of Peace (Doubleday, 1993), continues the same themes in a more linear narrative. Set in the United States during the final years of the Vietnam War, Hayslip must deal with an alien culture and the idea that she may never be able to return to her family and native country, where she is viewed as a traitor. Her tenacity and business skills help her profit, and eventually, she is able to found the East Meets West Foundation, a charitable group dedicated to improving the health and welfare of the Vietnamese, as well as creating self-sufficiency of the people to run the programs started in Vietnam by East Meets West. This memoir documents not only her struggles and successes in the United States but also her growing need to help heal the pain caused by the Vietnam War in both the United States and in Vietnam.

The 1993 film Heaven & Earth, directed by Oliver Stone, is based on her life. She also has a cameo appearance in the film. In 1995, Le Ly Hayslip was honored by the California State Assembly award in Sacramento for her humanitarian and reconciliation activities.

Cheryl Lau

CHERYL LAUCheryl A. Lau was born in Hawaii in 1944. Lau became a Deputy Attorney General in the 1980s and served until she was elected Secretary of State in the General Election of November 1990.  She served one four-year term as Secretary and then ran for Governor in 1994.  She was defeated in the primary election by Jim Gibbons.  Subsequently she became the General Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington D.C., 1995-1996; was a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University in the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Institute of Politics; and Judge Pro Tempore for the Carson City Justice and Municipal Courts. She was the 1992 vice chair of the Republican National Platform Committee, secretary of the Republican National Convention in 1992, and chair of the National Commission for the Renewal of American Democracy.

Under Lau, the office of Nevada Secretary of State underwent a number of major projects and changes.  In 1993 the Secretary of State spearheaded the most comprehensive election reform in many years.  The office rewrote Nevada’s incorporation statutes, helping streamline the process of doing business in Nevada.  The Securities Division increased the size of its investigative force and stepped up efforts to educate the public to help prevent investor fraud.  Also in 1993 the Carson City office was reorganized and a division of Administrative Services was created, and Commercial Recordings were centralized under one deputy.  The office issued a number of publications about filings and duties of the Secretary of State, initiatives and referendums, and investor fraud.

Lau was active in the Nevada Commission for Women and the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), serving as chair or co-chair of several committees and organizing the winter, 1993 NASS annual meeting in Las Vegas.  She was particularly interested in the NASS program called Project Democracy.

1997

The Slants

“We want to take on these stereotypes that people have about us… We’re very proud of being Asian — we’re not going to hide that fact. The reaction from the Asian community has been overwhelmingly positive.” — Simon Young, bass player of The Slants

THE SLANTSThe Slants are known as the first all-Asian American dance rock band in the world.The band was founded by Simon Young (also known as Simon Tam) in 2006 in Portland, Oregon. Often compared with 80’s synth-pop bands such as Depeche Mode, New Order, and Joy Division, as well as modern acts such as The Killers and The Bravery, the band often refers to their sound as “Chinatown Dance Rock.” All five members of the current lineup are of Asian Pacific Islander descent and they are well known for their involvement with the Asian American community, often playing at large cultural festivals and anime conventions, and fighting racist ideas/stereotypes.

The band name, The Slants, was derived from two sources. The first is a musical reference of slant guitar chords and the slanted angle of pickups in their electric guitars. The other is about the unique experiences that they’ve encountered as Asian Americans – their ‘slant’ on life.

Sonia Shah

“Shah’s intellectual enthusiasm and dry sense of humor recall popular science writers such as Steven Pinker and Stephen Jay Gould; her narrative strength and penchant for investigative journalism bring to mind science reporter and Flu author Gina Kolata.” — Michael Schaub, NPR

SONIA SHAHSonia Shah is an investigative journalist and author of critically acclaimed and prize-winning books on science, human rights, and international politics. Shah was born in 1969 in New York City to Indian immigrants. Growing up, she shuttled between the northeastern United States where her parents practiced medicine and Mumbai and Bangalore, India, where her extended working-class family lived, developing a lifelong interest in inequality between and within societies. Among the numerous books she’s written, they include Dragon Ladies (1997) and The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Mankind for 500,000 Years.

1998

Here and Now

1999

Rick Yune

“Being an American is such a rich environment, because there’s so many people from other countries and cultures, and through that you’re able to see other people’s experiences.” — Rick Yune

RICK YUNEBorn August 22, 1971, Rick Yune is an American actor, screenwriter, producer, martial artist and a ’94 UPenn Wharton alum. To raise money for his studies, he tried several jobs, including as a hedge fund trader for SAC capital, and was persuaded to become a model in his spare time (Yune became the first Asian-American featured on advertisements for Versace and Ralph Lauren’s Polo).

In 1999, Yune had his film debut when he starred in director Scott Hick’s film adaptation of David Guterson’s post WWII novel, Snow Falling on Cedars as Kazuo Miyamoto. He also played the ruthless Vietnamese gang leader Johnny Tran in the 2001 Rob Cohen-directed film The Fast and Furious and villain Zao in the 20th James Bond film, Die Another Day. In 2008, Yune wrote, produced, and starred (as a Bangkok assassin) in the action/adventure movie The Fifth Commandment, directed by Jesse V. Johnson and also stars Keith David and Bokeem Woodbine

In 2002, Yune was voted one of People magazine’s Sexiest Men.

2000

Angela E. Oh

 

“There is no shortage of role models. On local, state, national and international stages, APAs are providing extraordinary examples of leadership in addressing some of the most pressing social, political and economic challenges of the day. But the work of advocacy organizations, scholars, community lawyers, bench officers and private practitioners is known to only too few.” — Angela E. Oh, “The Noble Legal Track: Public Interest Needs More of Us” (AsianWeek, 1999)

ANGELA E. OHAngela E. O is an attorney, teacher, and public lecturer best known for her role as spokesperson for the Korean American community after the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and her position on President Bill Clinton’s One America Initiative.

Oh has also designed and made presentations for businesses and organizations seeking to prevent claims of discrimination and harassment. She has provided services as a consent decree monitor in matters involving the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as an external investigator for claims of discrimination or harassment in employment, and as a private consultant to leaders faced with discrimination or harassment cases in their organizations.

Oh was the Chair of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer’s Federal Judicial Nominations Committee for two years, she was a Lawyer Delegate to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, and served as a member of the Federal Magistrate Judge Selection Panel in the Central District of California, for three years

Between 1998 and 2002, Oh left the full-time practice of law to study, teach, and write. Her speeches and writings reflect the opportunities and challenges that diversity presents. Ms. Oh’s lectures have taken her into both national and international arenas, including China, Korea, the Middle East, Northern Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

Kai

 

KAIKai is an Asian-American R&B musical group from the San Francisco Bay Area started in 1992 and has been on hiatus since 2001. The group was formed when Anthony “AC” Lorenzo invited Andrew “Dru” Gapuz, Geoffrey “Geof” Lintao, Quincy “Q” Victoria and Leo Chan (the group’s sole Chinese American member) to perform at a San Francisco benefit concert. Following a group split, AC, Dru and Leo began working as a trio and in 1995, added Errol Viray and AC’s cousin Andrey “Drey” Silva.

Originally named APEX, the group changed its name to Kai, an abbrevated version of the Tagalog word “kaibigan”, which means “friend”. They were signed to HB Records, a local studio and began working on an album. Their debut single, “Say You’ll Stay” was released shortly after and received strong radio play. This helped them get signed by Geffen in 1997. In 1998, they released their self-titled debut album on Geffen, making them the second Filipino American recording artist to release an album on a major record label (Jocelyn Enriquez was the first, releasing Jocelyn on Tommy Boy Records in 1997.). Their only charting single was the previously mentioned “Say You’ll Stay” which reached #59 on the Billboard Hot 100. In that same year, they were also featured in an issue of Vibe Magazine alongside rap group The Mountain Brothers in an article promoting up-and-coming Asian American talent in the music industry.

2001

Rodney Jay C. Salinas

 

As the former Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS), Rodney worked to bring national attention to issues facing Asian Pacific Americans and encouraged their involvement and participation in politics and pubic policy. Prior to his position at APAICS, Rodney served as the National Finance Director for the Jon Amores for Congress Campaign in West Virginia.

Rodney has spoken extensively on issues relating to political empowerment within the Asian Pacific American community – having delivered speeches in over 25 major cities and at over 40 colleges and universities. He has appeared on Asian American, a nationally syndicated weekly show airing on PBS and has been featured and/or quoted in The Washington Post, Roll Call, FoxNews.com, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Las Vegas Review Journal, Asian Week, A Magazine, Philippine News, and Filipinas Magazine.

2002

Devotion

 

DEVOTIONDevotion is a pop and soul boy band from Orange County, CA, who mixed Backstreet Boys appeal with Boyz II Men harmonies. They started by performing at school and community events. In 2000, they released their debut album, Image of Devotion, at a time when the soul and R&B music scene a generous swell of Filipino-American artists on radio airwaves and concert stages in major American cities.

After a long absence from the music scene, Devotion is back with a new album “Last Call.” Band members Eric Cruz, Rodney Hidalgo, Ian Pesigan, John-Paul Riturban, and Richmond Andal return with a new R&B album.

Bao Phi

“Our people, our history, our struggle is more than a war, more than a fall, more than a favorite dish, more than one monolithic political opinion, more than one dialect, one gender, one nation, one flag. Respect and love to the diaspora – as imperfect as I am, I am one of you and I am yours.” ― Bao Phi, Sông I Sing

BAO PHIBao Phi is a Vietnamese American spoken word artist, writer and community activist living in Minnesota. He was born in Sai Gon, Viet Nam, the youngest son to two mixed blood Chinese and Vietnamese parents who raised him in the Phillips neighborhood of South Minneapolis.

A graduate of Macalester College and retired pizza delivery boy, Bao Phi has performed at numerous venues and schools locally and nationally, from the Nuyorican Poet’s Café to the University of California, Berkeley.

Phi has twice won the Minnesota Grand Poetry Slam, and also won two poetry slams at the Nuyorican Poets Café in New York. He is the first Vietnamese American man to have appeared on HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, and the National Poetry Slam Individual Finalists Stage, where he placed 6th overall out of over 250 national slam poets.

Bao Phi’s vision is to offer an alternative perspective on Asian American community building through the arts. He has been a featured artist in many community events, rallies and functions, most recently being heavily involved with the Justice for Fong Lee committee

Margaret Cho

“Try to love someone who you want to hate, because they are just like you, somewhere inside, in a way you may never expect, in a way that resounds so deeply within you that you cannot believe it.” — Margaret Cho

MARGARET CHOAn American comedian, fashion designer, actress, author, and singer-songwriter, Cho, of Korean descent, is best known for her stand-up routines, through which she critiques social and political problems, especially those pertaining to race and sexuality. She has also directed and appeared in music videos and has her own clothing line. She has frequently supported LGBT rights and has won awards for her humanitarian efforts on behalf of women, Asians, and the LGBT community.

As an actress she has played parts such as Charlene Lee in It’s My Party and that of John Travolta’s FBI colleague in the action movie Face/Off. She is part of the TV series Drop Dead Diva on Lifetime Television, playing the role of Teri Lee, a paralegal assistant.

Norman Mineta

 

NORMAN MINETANorman Yoshio Mineta, born November 12, 1931, is an American politician. A member of the Democratic Party, Mineta most recently served in President George W. Bush’s Cabinet as the United States Secretary of Transportation, the only Democratic Cabinet Secretary in the Bush administration. On June 23, 2006, Mineta announced his resignation after more than five years as Secretary of Transportation, effective July 7, 2006, making him the longest-serving Transportation Secretary in the Department’s history. On July 10, 2006, Hill & Knowlton, a public relations firm, announced that Mineta would join it as a partner. On August 10, 2010, it was announced that Mineta would join L&L Energy, Inc as Vice Chairman.

Mineta also served as President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Commerce for the last six months of his term (July 2000–January 2001). Save for a span of five days between the end of Clinton’s term and Bush’s appointments, Mineta spent nearly six full years as a Cabinet member.

2003

Lela Lee

“I’m not really angry anymore. I’m not angry because I now have a way to express it. Now, with the illustrations, whenever something bothers me, I don’t get mad but instead think of how I can use it in a cartoon.” — Lela Lee

1144420_ME_1116_me_adv_angry_little_asian_girl-MAMLela Lee was born in Los Angeles, California to Korean parents and spent much of her childhood on her grandparents’ chicken farm. She is an American actress and cartoonist — the creator of the animated cartoons the Angry Little Asian Girl, Five Angry Episodes and the comic strip Angry Little Girls.

In film and television, Lee played roles in the 1998 film Yellow and the 2002 film, Better Luck Tomorrow. She was also a series regular in the short-lived Sci Fi Channel series Tremors and had a recurring guest role on NBC’s Scrubs.

2004

Bruce Yamashita

“As far as I’m concerned, the price has been paid by my grandparents and my parents,” says Yamashita. “For me to go to this school and be told ‘You’re less of an American’ or ‘You don’t belong here’ is b.s.” — Captain Bruce Yamashita

BRUCE YAMASHITAA third-generation American of Japanese ancestry from Hawai‘i , Yamashita was a graduate of Georgetown University Law School who sought to qualify as an officer in the Marine Corps. Throughout his nine weeks of Officer Candidate School training, he was the target of verbal and physical harassment. Two days before graduation, he and four other minority candidates were “disenrolled.”

Yamashita filed a case and proved that racial discrimination was a factor. He was later vindicated and earned the rank of Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1994.

Captain Bruce I. Yamashita’s successful legal case against institutional racial discrimination at the Officer Candidate School of the Marine Corps became the subject of a 2003 documentary titled A Most Unlikely Hero as well as an autobiography titled Fighting Tradition: A Marine’s Journey to Justice.

2006

Eliot Chang

“I couldn’t tell you why, but there was a voice in my head that said, “Keep going. It can’t always be bad. You’ll be good someday.” I don’t know why. I just got this unwavering faith in myself. It’s not like I was funny. I wasn’t funny for a long time. But something just told me I was going to be fine. A couple years into it though, I was questioning if I should keep doing this, but the feeling didn’t last that long. I’ve always had an unexplainable amount of confidence. But I’m sure when I was younger, it was more arrogance.” — Eliot Chang, Interview w/ theotherasians.com

ELIOT CHANGEliot Chang’s comedy is honest, unapologetic and not based on predictable ethnic stereotypes. His sharp biting opinions combined with his trademark polished wardrobe help to make his act memorable. Every year he tours America for eight months and has performed at over 400 colleges. He can be seen on Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend” and in his own half-hour special “Comedy Central Presents: Eliot Chang”, Showtime and E!’s “Chelsea Lately.”

Originally from New York, Eliot is now based in Los Angeles. In New York he studied improv at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and then with Armando Diaz at the Magnet Theater, where he was on the improv house team “Jungle! Jungle!” He continues his acting in Los Angeles with Lesley Kahn.

Kal Penn

 

“In many ways, I feel like having the opportunity to play Gogol in ‘The Namesake’ really was my dream role in many ways.” — Kal Penn

KAL PENNKalpen Suresh Modi, known professionally as Kal Penn, is an American actor, producer, and civil servant.

As an actor, he is known for his roles portraying the character Dr. Lawrence Kutner on the television program House and the character Kumar Patel in the Harold and Kumar stoner comedy films. He is also recognized for his performance in the critically acclaimed film The Namesake. Penn has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania as a visiting lecturer in the Cinema Studies Program.

On April 8, 2009, it was announced that Penn would join the Obama administration as an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement.Penn resigned his post as Barack Obama’s associate director of public engagement on June 1, 2010, for a brief return to his acting career.He filmed the third installment of the Harold and Kumar series, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, then returned to the White House Office of Public Engagement as an Associate Director.In July 2011, he again left the White House, this time for a role in How I Met Your Mother, and then went back to his political duties.

2007

Blue Scholars

 

BLUE SCHOLARSBlue Scholars is an American hip hop duo based in Seattle, Washington, created in 2002 while the members, DJ Sabzi (Saba Mohajerjasbi) and MC Geologic (George Quibuyen), were students at University of Washington.

The name “Blue Scholars” is a play on the term “blue collar,” which is an idiom for workers who often earn hourly wages for manual labor. Their music and lyrics frequently focus on struggles between socioeconomic classes, challenging authority and youth empowerment. These themes are often specifically addressed in relation to the Seattle region (“Southside Revival”, “North by Northwest”, “50 Thousand Deep”, “Joe Metro”, “Slick Watts” and “The Ave”), and heavily draw upon Geologic’s history as an activist within the Filipino American community dealing with issues of immigration, racism, and U.S. neo-imperialism in the Philippines. Recent music has begun to extend even further outward, reflecting the group’s greater West Coast and Pacific roots including an album devoted to exploring Geo’s Hawaiian heritage on the OOF! EP.

Sung Kang

“People’s view of exotic or Asian women are changing. It’s much nicer to hear ‘She’s pretty’ than ‘She’s pretty – for an Asian woman.'” — Sung Kang

SUNG KANGSung Kang is an American actor, best known for the film Better Luck Tomorrow and his role as Han Seoul-Oh in The Fast and the Furious franchise. As an American actor, Kang has stated that one of his biggest dislikes about Hollywood are the stereotypes that East Asian actors face when being cast in a role.

Roger Fan

 

ROGER PHANRoger Fan is an Taiwanese-American actor of film, theatre and episodic television best known for his collaborations with Justin Lin and his appearances in the films Annapolis, Finishing the Game and Better Luck Tomorrow.

2008

Dat Phan

 

“I knew comedy was the thing for me when I was the only Asian kid in high school… who failed math.” — Dat Phan

DATPHANDat Phan is a Vietnamese American stand-up comedian. In 2003, he entered the first season of NBC’s stand-up comedy competition reality show, Last Comic Standing.He was picked on by the other contestants due to his relative youth in the comedy world.Nonetheless, Phan was the surprise winner of Last Comic Standing, and subsequently has made cameo appearances in Hollywood films such as Cellular and Love is the Drug. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

 

Good Asian Drivers

 

GOOD ASIAN DRIVERSLike the rebellious undertone of their band name, the creative works of Good Asian Drivers seek to dismantle detrimental stereotypes that cage Asian American representation, illuminate the issues plaguing the transgender community, and help fuel the voices of LGBTQ people. Good Asian Drivers garnered national attention in 2008 when Melissa Li, lesbian songwriter and soulful guitar player, and Kit Yan, a transgender slam poet, launched a 12 week tour across the United States. Their debut was groundbreaking. Combining their talents together, Melissa Li and Kit Yan’s work celebrate diversity and affirm the communities that are often marginalized.

Melissa Li’s music is a combination of folk, rock and pop. With her bold lyrics and charming voice, Melissa Li is a voice that powerfully grants the LGBTQ and Asian American communities vivacious visibility in song. Melissa Li started her career at sixteen years old, eventually winning a Jonathan Larson grant for her talents. She also has a self-debut album, “2 Seconds Away” that was released in 2008.

Kit Yan’s poetry tackles issues of race, sexuality and gender with eloquence and honesty. His passionate performance serves to deliver the pain and power of his words to his audience. Yan’s slam poetry also won global attention when he joined the highly respected Lizard Lounge National Slam Team, competed in the Individual World Poetry Slam and won the world’s largest slam. They have been recently joined by Ashley Baier who is a veteran drummer and percussionist. With her many years of performance experience, Ashley adds more dimension to their work.

Good Asian Driver’s songs and poetry are not only analytical and emotional insights into the intersections of race, sexuality and gender, but they are also hopeful calls to action as well. Together, they are artists and activists, seeking to both entertain and educate, to challenge and affirm. During several of their performances, they engage the audience in a workshop that encourages them to use their voice in order to create change.

 

Aaron Yoo

“I feel like after acting, the other half of why I love this business is the opportunity to work with and meet people who inspire you. That it pays my rent is a good bonus.” — Aaron Yoo

AARON YOOAaron is a Korean-American actor born in New Jersey and a ’01 UPenn Alum. He starred in the 2007 films Disturbia and American Pastime, the 2008 film 21 (with Jim Sturgess), Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, The Wackness, and Labor Pains, and had a role in the 2009 reboot of Friday the 13th.

2009

WongFu Productions

 

“If at the end of the day there’s someone out there who has a better day because of us, then we’ve succeeded.” — Wong Fu Productions

WONGFUPRODUCTIONWongFu Productions is an American filmmaking group composed of Wesley Chan (born April 27, 1984), Ted Fu (born October 26, 1981), and Philip Wang (born October 28, 1984).The trio met at the University of California, San Diego in 2004 and produced a number of music videos and short films released on their website and later YouTube before establishing a professional media company, Sketchbook Media, after their graduation. Their works have been featured at a number of national and international film festivals, including the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, San Diego Asian Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival.

As of May 3, 2013, Wong Fu Productions’ YouTube channel has over 1.6 million subscribers and over 256 million video views.

 

Deep Katdare

 

DEEP KATDAREDeep Katdare, is an Indian American actor. He starred in and produced the movie American Desi (2001), and was in the cast of Hiding Divya (2006), on which he was also an executive producer. He has also appeared in an episode of Law & Order: SVU.

Katdare was born on July 4, 1970 in Buffalo, New York, and brought up in New York City. He graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a Bachelor of Science degree in political science.

2010

Yul Kwon

 

YUL KWONYul Kwon is a Korean-American television host and former government official, lawyer, and management consultant based in Virginia. He first gained national recognition as the winner of the reality TV show Survivor: Cook Islands in 2006. He is currently hosting the TV series America Revealed on PBS as well as LinkAsia on Link TV.

2011

Clara Chung

 

CLARA CHUNGClara Chung, known by her stage name Clara C, is an American guitarist and singer. Chung is a YouTube artist who rose to fame when she won Los Angeles’ Kollaboration 10, KAC Media Juice Night, and ISA 2009She was born on October 31, 1987 to South Korean-born parents who currently reside in Northridge, California.

Chung graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a minor in Education in 2010.[3] Although she is currently pursuing music full-time, she also works and teaches children with autism part-time.

 

Hari Kondabolu

“While spending his junior year at Wesleyan University developed Kondabolu as a ‘scholar and an artist’ because of the campus’s politics and a thriving art scene, Bowdoin provided Kondabolu with the audience to hear that art. Kondabolu left for Wesleyan as a sophomore, but word of mouth made his audience even larger when he returned to Bowdoin as a senior.” — The Bowdoin Orient, 2007

HARI KONDABOLUHari Kondabolu is an Indian-American stand-up comic. He is also the older brother of rapper Ashok Kondabolu who is a former member of the group Das Racist.

2012

Kal Penn

Jason Chen

 

JASON CHENChinese-American YouTube singer-musician since 2007, Jason Chen is best known for his American and Chinese pop song covers. Chen began his singing when he was 17 after he posted his first video on YouTube and has now performed in various countries such as Italy, Spain, China, Canada, Australia, and Singapore.

Shanghai Restoration Project

 

SHANGHAIRESTORATION PROJECTThe Shanghai Restoration Project is a contemporary electronic music group formed by Chinese American producer, Dave Liang. The group’s first eponymous release, inspired by the Shanghai jazz bands of the 1930s, combines traditional Chinese instruments with modern hip-hop and electronica.

The project debuted as MSN Music’s “New Artist of the Week” in January 2006, reaching #1 on the site’s Top 100 Electronic Albums Chart that month. The release gained recognition globally, rising to the top 10 in several electronic charts, including Amazon, iTunes, and MSN Music. The first track from the debut album, “Introduction (1936),” was selected as the theme song for a worldwide TV advertising campaign for Kenzo Parfums (a division of Louis Vuitton) in early 2007. Since then select tracks have been licensed to numerous advertising campaigns, television shows, and films around the world. In late 2007, SRP partnered with China Record Corporation (the Chinese government’s record label) to release Remixed and Restored Vol. 1, a project remixing select classic Chinese hits from 1930s Shanghai. In 2010, SRP earned a New York Emmy Award for the special entertainment news coverage of “New York 360 Angle: Shanghai Restoration Project” produced by Limei Wang.

2013