It was a Friday night. As usual, Little Tokyo in Los Angeles was full of night owls ready to socialize over good food and frothy drinks.
The patrons at the Far Bar on East 1st Street were no exception. The bar was full of mostly young and mostly Asian guests, all of whom appeared to be having a great time. However, this crowd had gathered for a purpose that went beyond just socializing. They were here for “A Celebration of Asian American Soul,” as presented by the online magazine Asia Pacific Arts and co-hosted by inVenture.
The opening act was Dawen, a Los Angeles-based soul/r&b singer, and the star of the night was funk/soul singer Judith Hill.
Dawen was accompanied by beatboxer Vincent Bantasan, who had been eager to participate in the event. Said Bantasan, “I heard [the event] was for charity, so anything that’s appreciated and can benefit through any form of music and is a good cause, I definitely go for it.”
Judith Hill was also of the same mindset about giving back to the community. “I always love to support Asian Americans. I think it’s really cool that they are supporting each other.”
Support translated into camaraderie that Friday night, as everyone seemed to know everyone else, making for a boisterous atmosphere brimming with the sounds of hip hop and lively conversation. Brian Hu, a former editor of the APA and the night’s emcee, summed up the night: “Today is about celebrating the music and the idea that [Asian Americans] want to use music through our community. Music that moves us is the music that’s going to move us to action.” To see clips of the performances, you can watch APA’s video of the night.
Pictures courtesy of Philip Kim/Asia Pacific Arts.