The Asian American Arts Alliance
celebrated its 25th Anniversary on Tuesday,
October 16, 2007 with a gala entitled “GALAXXY” at the TriBeCa Rooftop.
This silver anniversary marked a quarter century of commitment to helping hundred of local Asian American artists and arts groups in the
performing an visual arts to access more funding and visibility for their work. In commemorating this milestone year, the Alliance honored three outstanding industry leaders who have made strides for Asian Americans in their respective fields.
The Gala honored actor Kal Penn, the most visible Asian American actor in Hollywood today with roles in The Namesake, Superman Returns, and the upcoming sequel to Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle; Eric Wong, Chief Marketing Officer of Bad Boy Entertainment and Senior Vice President of Marketing for Atlantic Records, who has promoted top artists such as P. Diddy, Bon Jovi and Mariah Carey; and Willa Kim, a world
renown costume designer for ballet, theatre, opera and television has won numerous honors including Emmy, Tony, and Obie awards.
The Gala was chaired by actor B.D. Wong from Law and Order and MTV executive Nusrat Durrani with comedian Margaret Cho and singing sensation Cassie as presenters.
Asiance Magazine attended and was able to speak with some of the attendees throughout the night.
During a conversation with Tommy Tune about his many collaborations with the renowned costume designer, he stated that he actually had
recurring dreams about Willa before they met. When they actually did meet for the first time and ended up working together on The Will
Rogers Follies, the dreams had subsided. Always an admirer of Ms. Kim’s talent, he was thrilled to get the opportunity to work with
her. Needless to say, both Willa and Tommy have a special working relationship of mutual admiration and fond memories of their many productions over the years.
We cornered B.D. Wong, Eric Wong and Cassie for individual interviews of each.. check it out!
Actor on Law & Order
ASIANCE:Who would you say is your favorite actor? Someone you admire?
B.D.: Hmmm. That is hard to say. It is so hard to pick. I don’t want to play favorites. I’m a big fan of Margaret Cho. She
exemplifies something. She is a great role model. I’m crazy about her and she’s a great actress!
ASIANCE: Any male actors?
B.D.: George Takei
ASIANCE:What have you been up to besides Law & Order?
B.D.: I’m doing college speaking engagements. And I worked on two plays with the
New York Music Theatre Festival. It was a terrific and wonderful experience.
ASIANCE:Are you happy with the way things are changing for Asians in media?
B.D.: Yes. I think it’s happening. We still are playing stereotypical roles but it’s changing. For example Sandra Oh’s role on
Grey’s Anatomy isn’t stereotypical.
Bad Boy Entertainment and Atlantic Records
ASIANCE: Do you consider yourself a Bad Boy?
Eric: Do I consider myself a bad boy? Totally! Of course.
ASIANCE: Do you think there will be more Asian Artists in the future?
Eric: I definitely hope so and in the past I have worked with artists who are Asian American and whether it’s their background, heritage or some sort of background – and I definitely feel
like in time the mainstream will accept Asian American artists.
ASIANCE: Who is one of your favorite Asian Artists?
Eric:One of my favorites? I had the lovely pleasure of working with Hikaru Utada when I was over at Island Def Jam and she’s fantastic to work with. Tremendous talent, wonderful person
and it’s great to be able to work with a superstar like that, to be part of her growth here in the States..so that was truly an honor to be part of.
ASIANCE: Wonderful. When did music become your dream?
Eric: That I wanted to be in the music industry? Early on. Actually, music has always been my salvation and for me, I started really yearly. I started interning when I was like 16 years old at different labels and just finding out how the industry works, doing my homework and just kept at it. And, here I am 12, 14 years later…I lost count actually.
ASIANCE: Do you try to get back to your Asian heritage and roots?
Eric: Yeah, I try! For me, it’s being in the know about my heritage and culture, attending events. I come from a really traditional family so I try to go to as many events as possible and they keep me grounded!
ASIANCE: How long have you been singing?
Cassie: I’ve been singing my whole life but started taking it seriously about 17, 18-no, 16 and then really seriously at 18
ASIANCE: Who are your idols?
Cassie: So many. I was a big Mariah fan and all the major singers out there, but a huge Janet Jackson fan, huge Alliyah fan, just their whole vibe was really my style.
ASIANCE: How do you feel it is different being an Asian woman in the entertainment industry? What’s the background you identify with?
Cassie: I’m Black and Filipino.
I’m proud. Just to be Asian and this award is what it’s all about – I forgot the questions – Um – Can you repeat the question?
ASIANCE: What’s it like being an Asian American singer?
Cassie: It’s great. Haha!
ASIANCE: What are your next projects?
Cassie: I’m working on a second album that comes out in February and I finished a movie that comes out in February. It’s called Step Up 2.
For more information on the Asian American Arts Alliance click here www.aaartsalliance.org/