Browsing Category

Spotlight

14 posts

Janet Yang makes history as first Asian president of film organization that hosts the Oscars

  • Esteemed producer Janet Yang just became the first Asian to be elected as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
  • The 66-year-old Hollywood veteran, whose film and TV credits include “The Joy Luck Club,” “Shanghai Calling” and “High Crimes,” was elected to her new post on Tuesday.
  • “Janet is a tremendously dedicated and strategic leader who has an incredible record of service at the Academy,” Academy CEO Bill Kramer was quoted as saying. “I am thrilled that she is taking on the esteemed role of Academy President and look forward to working closely with her on our shared vision to serve our membership, celebrate the collaborative arts and sciences of motion pictures, and inspire the next generation of filmmakers.”
  • In June, Yang was also honored by the Academy Museum with the unveiling of one of the museum’s pillars in her name.
  • The Academy, which is an international organization for filmmakers, is known around the world for its annual Academy Awards, also known as the "Oscars."

Film and TV producer Janet Yang has been elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

With her election, she became the first Asian and only the fourth woman to be elected as president of the film organization since its establishment in 1927. 

Miss America Emma Broyles shares ‘incredible experience’ of flying with Air Force Thunderbirds

  • Korean American Miss America titleholder Emma Broyles, 21, was selected to participate in the U.S. Air Force’s recent flight performance practice, where she was given the opportunity to fly in an F-16 Thunderbird.
  • On Friday, the beauty queen joined the Air Force Thunderbirds as they rehearsed for the Arctic Thunder Open House, which occurred at U.S. military facility Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska, over the weekend.
  • “Yesterday I had one of the most incredible experiences of my life thanks to the @afthunderbirds,” Broyles wrote in an Instagram post on Sunday. “Flying in an F-16 is an experience like no other, and I am endlessly grateful to have had the opportunity to do so.”
  • The Thunderbirds also took to Instagram to highlight the past work of Broyles, who has “spent the last 15 years as a volunteer, coach, speaker, supporter, and advocate for students with and without intellectual disabilities to become champions of inclusion within their school and community.”
  • Broyles, who was crowned the 100th anniversary Miss America on December 16, 2021, is the first Alaskan contestant and the first Korean American contestant to win the Miss America title.

Emma Broyles, the first Korean American to hold the title of Miss America, took to the skies in an F-16 Thunderbird while participating in a recent U.S. Air Force flight performance practice.

According to Broyles, 21, she was the V.I.P. chosen last week to fly with the Thunderbirds, the premier demonstration team of the Air Force.

‘Shang-Chi’ director Destin Daniel Cretton to helm the next ‘Avengers’ film

  • Destin Daniel Cretton has been tapped to direct the first of the next two “Avengers” films which were announced over the weekend at Comic-Con: “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” followed by “Avengers: Secret Wars.”
  • Slated for release in 2025, the two films will close out Phase 6 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Little has been revealed about the plot for either film, but Jonathan Majors already made his debut as Kang, the villainous ruler of the multiverse, in Disney Plus’ “Loki.”

Director Destin Daniel Cretton has been tasked with assembling the Avengers once again. 

Marvel announced two new Avengers movies set for release in 2025 during their panel at San Diego’s Comic-Con over the weekend: “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty,” which is scheduled for May 2, and “Avengers: Secret Wars” on Nov. 7.

Panda Express announces $1 million grant to help TAAF change the narrative of AAPI representation

  • Restaurant chain Panda Express announced a $1 million grant to nonprofit The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) on Tuesday to support its efforts in changing the narrative of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) representation and experiences.
  • Panda Express was TAAF’s first AAPI Giving Challenge partner and with this donation has further established its commitment to achieving a lasting sense of belonging for AAPI communities.
  • “As an American-born company founded by Chinese immigrants, we are passionate about fostering greater cultural understanding and appreciation through storytelling,” Panda Restaurant Group’s Chief Brand Officer Andrea Cherng told NextShark.
  • TAAF is set to celebrate AAPI stories and storytelling on Tuesday evening by co-hosting the first annual Rise for Comedy Showcase in collaboration with Universal Pictures and Rideback Rise, a new non-profit accelerator that will support BIPOC creators in the development of film, television, digital and audio content.
  • Comedian Jo Koy will be at the event to bring on the laughs, while the MacArthur Foundation’s Director of Media and Journalism, Kathy Im, will moderate a panel on representation in entertainment featuring Andrea Cherng, CNN’s Lisa Ling, The Los Angeles Times’ Lorraine Ali and UTA Talent Agent Jaqueline Kim.

Restaurant chain Panda Express announced a $1 million grant to The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), a nonprofit organization committed to “accelerating opportunity and prosperity for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.” 

TAAF announced in a press release today that the substantial donation would support the group’s efforts in changing the narrative of AAPI representation and experiences by investing in AAPI storytelling across the arts, media and film.

Interview: John Cho ditches the conservative Asian dad archetype in new tearjerker ‘Don’t Make Me Go’

John Cho Don't Make me go
John Cho knows a thing or two about breaking free from conventional Asian American roles. 

Since his days of playing Harold in the “Harold and Kumar” film series of the early 2000s, the actor has had several “first Asian” titles attached to his name – the first Asian male lead in a Hollywood romance series with “Selfie” (2014) along with the first Asian male lead of a mainstream thriller with “Searching” (2018). It’s possible there’s even more hidden among his 100-plus acting credits. 

In Amazon Prime Video’s newly released emotional film, “Don’t Make Me Go,” Cho takes on the role of Max, one-half of the father-daughter duo opposite Mia Issac’s Wally. He takes her on a road trip with the promise of teaching her how to drive once he discovers the headaches he’s been having are due to a terminal illness. It’s a role that the Korean American actor says wasn’t “written Asian,” which is clear when watching his open interactions with Wally on typically taboo topics like love and dating – very much against the strict, conservative archetype of an Asian dad.

Gov. Newsom urged to pardon former Cambodian refugee at risk of being deported after prison sentence

  • Phoeun You, whose family fled the Cambodian genocide, is now at risk of being deported back to the country after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents detained him immediately after he was released from prison in January.
  • You had been deemed safe for early release by the San Quentin Prison parole board after serving a 25-year prison sentence.
  • You, who joined a gang in his teens, shot and killed a 17-year-old at age 20 while retaliating against a gang attack on a young member of his family.
  • While in prison, You earned his associate of arts degree from Patten University and went on to become a journalist for the San Quentin News as well as a counselor and mentor to other inmates.
  • He also helped found the self-help program ROOTS (Restoring Our Original True Selves) with his peers.
  • The Asian Prisoner Support Committee and other advocates have since urged California Gov. Gavin Newsom to grant him a pardon and effectively stop his impending deportation.

A former child refugee from Cambodia who served 25 years in prison is now at risk of being deported back to a country he is barely familiar with.

Despite being deemed safe for early release by the San Quentin Prison parole board, 47-year-old Phoeun You was handed over to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in January after being pardoned. 

Man accused of attacking Filipino American family at Hollywood drive-thru pleads not guilty

  • Nicholas Weber, the 31-year-old man accused of hurling racial slurs and attacking a Filipino American family at a McDonald’s drive-thru in North Hollywood on May 13, pleaded not guilty to all his charges in court on Monday.
  • Weber is facing one felony count of battery with serious bodily injury and a misdemeanor count of battery with hate crime enhancements for attacking the Roque family.
  • Following Weber’s plea, Judge John H. Reed of the Los Angeles Superior Court granted the Roque family’s request for a protective order, covering a five-block perimeter around their home in case Weber posts his $150,000 bail.
  • “The legal team expected the judge might release him or significantly lower the bail,” Nerissa Roque told reporters, adding that she and her daughter, Patricia, were pleased by the decision.
  • “Community pressure helps in continuing seeking justice,” Nerissa added. “But it continues to be an open case and we invite more community members, more Filipino organizations, more Asian and multi-racial organizations to continue to stand with us.”

Nicholas Weber, the man accused of hurling racial slurs and attacking a Filipino American family at a McDonald’s drive-thru in North Hollywood in May, has pleaded not guilty to battery charges.

Weber, 31, is facing one felony count of battery with serious bodily injury and a misdemeanor count of battery with hate crime enhancements for attacking the Roque family at the drive-thru on May 13. The Sylmar man, who is currently in custody at the Los Angeles Men’s Central Jail, pleaded not guilty to all his charges in court on Monday.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assassinated

  • Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died less than six hours after being shot in the chest and neck while delivering a speech at a campaign event in the Japanese city of Nara at around 11:30 a.m. JST.
  • Abe, 67, succumbed to two gunshot wounds at a local hospital, where he was declared dead at 5:03 p.m. JST.
  • Two security officers can be seen tackling the suspected shooter, who was later identified as 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, in video footage that has been quickly circulating online Friday morning.
  • Yamagami, who reportedly used a homemade gun and previously worked for Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force, told investigators that he wanted Abe dead because he was dissatisfied with him.
  • Prior to the confirmation of Abe’s death, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delivered an emotional message condemning the shooting, saying, “This attack is an act of brutality that happened during the elections – the very foundation of our democracy – and is absolutely unforgivable.”
  • Abe was the longest-serving Japanese prime minister in history, serving two terms in office before stepping down in 2020 due to health concerns.

Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died less than six hours after getting shot in the chest and neck while delivering a speech at a campaign event on Friday morning.

Abe, 67, was campaigning for a parliamentary election in the Japanese city of Nara at around 11:30 a.m. JST when a man shot him from behind with what was reportedly a homemade gun. 

Biden awards Medal of Honor to previously overlooked Vietnam War vets, including two Asian Americans

  • On Tuesday, President Joe Biden awarded the prestigious Medal of Honor to a group of Vietnam War veterans, including two Asian Americans, who may have been overlooked due to discrimination.
  • The highest U.S. military award was given to Staff Sgt. Edward N. Kaneshiro, Spc. 5 Dennis M. Fujii, Spc. 5 Dwight W. Birdwell and retired Maj. John J. Duffy.
  • “Today we’re setting the record straight,” Biden said during the ceremony. “We’re upgrading the awards of four soldiers who performed acts of incredible heroism during the Vietnam conflict.”
  • The awarding comes after Congress ordered a review into the military service of Asian Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders left unrecognized because of prejudice.

President Joe Biden awarded the Medal of Honor to a group of Vietnam War veterans, including two Asian Americans, who may have been overlooked due to discrimination.

On Tuesday, Biden gave the highest U.S. military award to Staff Sgt. Edward N. Kaneshiro, Spc. 5 Dennis M. Fujii, Spc. 5 Dwight W. Birdwell and retired Maj. John J. Duffy.

Families of 11 Filipino WWII vets receive Congressional Gold Medal after 76-year wait for recognition

  • The names of 11 Filipino World War II veterans were read and recognized at a ceremony held at the Filipino Community Center in Honolulu on Monday.
  • Family members of the veterans received the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal, one of America’s highest honors. The medal is said to honor the sacrifice of more than 260,000 Filipino soldiers who fought for America from 1941 to 1946 when the Philippines was a U.S. colony.
  • The Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project has conferred about 3,000 medals since 2017. They are also working with schools to share the stories of Filipino American war heroes.
  • Filipino advocates continue to fight for the benefits the veterans are entitled to, including compensation and citizenship.

The families of 11 Filipino World War II veterans were awarded with one of America’s highest honors to recognize the soldiers who fought for the nation more than 76 years ago.  

The names of 11 Filipino World War II veterans were read and recognized at a ceremony held at the Filipino Community Center in Honolulu on Monday. 

Democratic Rep. Judy Chu among 181 arrested during peaceful abortion rights protest at Capitol

  • Rep. Judy Chu (D, CA-27) was arrested and issued a citation during a peaceful abortion rights demonstration at an intersection between the Russell Senate Office Building and the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
  • Chu's spokesperson Lacy Nelson said the 68-year-old Southern California legislator was sitting with 180 other demonstrators when the U.S. Capitol Police arrested them at around 1 p.m.
  • Chu, the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress in 2009, was released around two hours after her arrest.
  • The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24; as a result, access to abortion is no longer considered a constitutional right, and individual states now dictate reproductive healthcare.
  • Chu, the principal sponsor of the Women's Health Protection Act, has repeatedly spoken out about the ruling, saying it will severely impact AAPIs and communities of color who encounter various types of barriers to abortion care, from economic and language to legal.

Rep. Judy Chu (D, CA-27) was among the 181 protesters arrested during a peaceful abortion rights demonstration in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

The 68-year-old Southern California legislator was sitting with 180 other protesters in an intersection between the Russell Senate Office Building and the Supreme Court building when the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) arrested them at around 1 p.m. on Thursday, according to Chu’s spokesperson Lacy Nelson.