APIHMC Hosts RepresentAsian: Asian-Americans in Media

DANakaDAN, Jun Sung Ahn, and AJ Rafael during RepresentAsian’s panel discussion.            PC: Amaris Woo

On March 31, Pacific held RepresentAsian: Asian-Americans in Media featuring artists Jun Sung Ahn, DANakaDAN, and AJ Rafael and a guest appearance by Less Than 3. This free event consisted of a panel discussion and performances by the artists.

Jun Sung Ahn, also known as JuNCurryAhn, is a violinist and dancer who started posting covers on Youtube in 2011. Dan Matthews, or DANakaDAN, is an alternative hip hop artist who also produced a series about his journey as a Korean adoptee meeting his biological family for the first time. Singer-songwriter AJ Rafael began posting videos to Youtube in 2006.

This event was organized by APHIMC (Asian, Pacific Islander Heritage Month Committee) as an early celebration of Asian, Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Shirley Pham, Pharmacy ‘21, explained that, “APIHMC was actually only just recently revived. Last year was the first time in – I believe – three years that the committee came back together to bring Wesley Chan of Wong Fu Productions to Pacific.”

Pham also told The Pacifican how APIHMC got in touch with the musicians. After contacting as many Asian influencers as they can to see if they are free (and if they fall under an appropriate budget), APIHMC goes through, “a fairly long back-and-forth process of pricing and accommodations and what exactly will happen before, during, and after the event.” Pacific Arts & Lectures Committee also helped fund the event.

“This year, we actually got really lucky in getting into contact with Dan Matthews, one of the performers and also their booking agent, because he offered to bring three artists instead of just AJ Rafael who was the artist we originally asked for. That’s how we managed to get AJ, Jun, and Dan for this event. It’s really all thanks to Dan that we made this event as big as it was.”

Students look on as the talented panel at RepresentAsian speak.
PC: Ray Wong

The artists participated in a panel discussion in which Pham asked them a set of questions. Later, some audience members voiced their questions as well. Aside from discussing Asian representation in media, the artists also touched on other subjects such as Asian stereotypes and conceptions of Asians. All three artists were open-minded as they explored multiple perspectives and emphasized the importance of being understanding and embracing one’s heritage.

The second half of the event involved a variety of performances. Stockton band Less Than 3, consisting of Sunny Vang, Joseph Wang, and Ryan Vang, opened up the show with their powerful voices and striking harmonies.

Jun Sung Ahn followed suit with multiple dreamy pieces on the violin. After that, DANakaDAN invited the audience to gather near the stage and performed an exhilarating set. AJ Rafael ended the event by singing covers and original songs, but not before inviting all the artists on stage for one last song.

Justin Arnesto, Pharmacy ‘21, reflected on the event afterwards. He told The Pacifican that the event was, “a wonderful way to celebrate the milestones that Asian media artists have achieved throughout the past years. It’s great to see how far we’ve come along in the media and reflect on our history and how we managed to pull through and get to where we are today. And I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a free performance by some really cool artists.”

After the exciting night, students are already eager to see what artist comes on campus for next year’s event. Who would you want to see?

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Amaris Woo