Benefit Show Spotlights Talent

Phuc Pham/New University

The Asian Pacific Student Association (APSA) at UC Irvine finished off its Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month (APIHM) events with the Third Annual Talent-Art Benefit Show on Friday, May 25. The show was intended to demonstrate the theme “ACYD: Always Chase Your Dreams.”

A collaboration between APSA and Be the Match, the event sought to encourage greater Asian Pacific Islander participation in bone marrow registry and donation.

After the Chinese Association Dance Crew (CADC) opened the show with an exhibition dance routine, the 10 competing acts began their performances.

The show featured several Asian Pacific Islander student solo and group acts and artists who showcased their works in the art exhibit.

All competing acts in the talent show were required to have original songs or use music by Asian Pacific Islander/American artists.

The judging panel was made up of special guests Karen Song, an Orange County native who began her career as a member of Kaba Modern; Andy Chi-an Chen, a UCI student and songwriter; DANakaDAN, from the band afterschoolspecial; and Dumbfoundead, an Argentine-born, American rapper of Korean descent. Chen, DANakaDAN and Dumbfoundead each gave special performances as well.

First-year drama major Jazzmine Farol, who is also Philippines-born and SoCal-raised, took home the $200 first-place prize for her performance of her original song “I Am a Reject.”

Second place went to vocalists Amy Shin and Heffy Kim and their band members, Adam Park and Nick Bassirpour.

Studio art major Annie Chiou won the $100 first-place prize for her art piece titled, “AAPI Voices,” an oil on canvas painting that symbolizes the various ways individuals in the Asian American Pacific Islander community can have a voice in the world.

Fellow studio art major Ashley Chen submitted another oil on canvas piece titled “Asian American Dreams.” Kababayan and APSA each presented murals, the former a completed five-year project representing Filipino culture.

Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches (A3M), operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, was also on hand to recruit bone marrow donors.

Attendees at the talent show, who signed up for the donor registry, as well as those already registered, were given access to a meet and greet with the judges.

APSA was formed in 1988 as a social support network for Asian Pacific Islander students and staff, and it has evolved since, establishing itself as an organization that addresses the issues affecting API individuals.

Through various workshops and events, APSA seeks to “promote cultural sensitivity and awareness through education.”

During APIHM, APSA, along with other Asian Pacific Islander (API) organizations in the country, evaluates the state of Asian Pacific Islander America to not only consider the issues the API community continues to face, but also celebrate the achievements of Asian Pacific Islanders in the United States.

Elaine Won, the APSA Programming Coordinator, pointed to the efforts of APSA at UC Irvine in highlighting the API communities.

“A few of the programs we have held are Creating Institutional Change, where we talked about policy and structure at UC Irvine that needs to be changed for our communities, to the Top 30 Most Influential API Students Project, where we highlight various API identified leaders on campus to show API involvement and the diversity within that engagement,” Won said.

This year’s talent show, themed “ACYD: Always Chase Your Dreams,” serves to highlight API talent in the arts as well as encourage artists to “go for what you believe is right for you.”

“It is critical that the API community supports the arts community,” Won said.

“APIs really do need to support each other and the diverse works that are produced about our communities, and in that way, create momentum and empower these amazing, raw talents.”