On Saturday, May 11th, Pacific Bridge Arts Foundation honored triple threat actress, comedian and rapper Awkwafina , social entrepreneur and activist Nadya Okamoto and non-profit Center for the Pacific Asian Family for their outstanding contributions to the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. During the May 11th celebration at the Ford Theatres in Los Angeles, the City of LA presented these trailblazing AAPI women with special plaques of distinction. The free and open-to-the-public event celebrated the city’s diverse AAPI community specifically influential AAPI women during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
“I performed at this very event a couple years ago and to be standing here today receiving [this award] is an honor, explains Awkwafina. “I think that events like this are really important, especially ones that celebrate Asian American women at a time like this, so give it up for yourself if you’re an Asian American woman. You’re out here representing us too. I look forward to the future generations that will be standing here, performing here, being honored here because it’s all about that. I feel very blessed to be here, so thank you all.”
All Photos by Jon Endow
To honor the forward movement of AAPI women, the event was hosted by YouTube influencer and actress Michelle Khare and inspirational speaker Christine Chen . Grammy nominated dance artist TOKiMONSTA , who is of Korean descent, headlined the night of not-to-be-missed performances while reuniting with her long-time collaborators Malaysian singer-songwriter Yunaand LA. There were also performances by Chinese-American singer-songwriter MILCK, Japanese-American, trilingual R&B pop-star Sophia Black featuring special guest Super Duper Kyle and Katherine Ho performing her cover of Coldplay’s “Yellow” from the movie Crazy Rich Asians .
This year also marks the launch of Pacific Bridge Arts Foundation’s first annual Musical Arts Scholarship Fund. The award will be presented to AAPI college students pursuing a degree in the Musical Arts. The foundation will provide financial assistance along with mentorship and music industry connections to influential artists and executives. Students can apply before the August 2, 2019 deadline. More information and application details here: https://pacificbridgearts.org/scholarship/
“We wholeheartedly celebrate this community that we are so honored to be a part of,” says Pacific Bridge Arts Foundation co-founders Far East Movement. “We’re excited to launch the scholarship program this year to support the next generation of artists in the AAPI community. We hope for them to follow their passion and blaze a trail for themselves.”
“Los Angeles is home to more Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders than anywhere else in the nation,” Councilmember David Ryu said. “As the fastest growing subset of the American population, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders will author the next great chapter in the American story. For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am honored to bring our many AAPI communities of Los Angeles together to celebrate where we’ve been, where we’re going, and the leaders who are paving the way forward. I’m especially excited this year to shine a spotlight on AAPI women who are breaking barriers and leading the way for positive change, and highlight their inspiring stories.”
Pacific Bridge Arts Foundation is now in its 4th year of showcasing how the AAPI community shape the culture of Los Angeles. Last year’s event was held in front of City Hall in Downtown Los Angeles with headliners Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park and Jay Park and the gourmet cuisines of chef Roy Choi of the famed Korean Kogi food truck. Past honorees include digital pioneer Jenn Im, activists Taz Ahmed & Zahra Noorbakhsh of #GoodMuslimBadMuslim, and the cast and crew of the film “GOOK.”