Rockin' the Vote...
Unless I'm working, previously engaged, or bowled over with the stomach flu, I show up.
I show up for my friends, for my friends' shows, for my friends' stand up shows, concerts, for myself, and I show up for my beliefs.
Last Friday night I showed up for an event called, "Rock the Vote", at the Ford Amphitheater.
Rock the Vote featured a strong line-up of performers in the Asian Entertainment Community, albeit Hollywood, known for their celebrity, contribution and talents.
I have been friends with a couple of them since college and the New York theater days. I am showing up for my friends and for my community.
The event was held to promote awareness and encourage the Asian community in California to vote. Of all the states in America, California has the highest Asian population and yet only 11% of the state legislature.
And that night I figured out why. My friends and I arrived around 6:45pm, the event started at 7:30pm. I confess, apart from the need to register in California myself, I was primarily there to support my friend Beau Sia and to see the live performance of Quest Crew.
Tickets were only $9.00! And if you watched Randy Jackson's; America's Best Dance Crew a couple seasons ago, you know who Quest Crew is and how $9.00 to see them perform is a bargain!
The rest of the line-up included, C.S. Lee, Lisa Ling, Laura Ling, Archie Kao, Justin Chon (in a bear suit) and James Kyson Lee, the band Satellite, and...Quest Crew.
I was a little concerned that I was going to have a hard time leaving the stacked parking, parking lot, in order to make my other engagements that night; milestone birthday parties, etc.
Where is everybody? Where are the rest of my friends that should be here? Where is half of the student roster at UCLA, USC, FIDM?
It's not like there is a shortage of Asians in this state...in this world. It's not like there is a shortage of us anywhere! Why is the Asian community not showing up for itself tonight?
I'm not sure how long the event was publicized but the theater was about 30% full in a space that could have contained 5,000.
And of all the Asian political figures holding public office who had confirmed to attend, only one showed up.
Both C.S. Lee and Beau Sia owned the stage and inspired the crowd with their strong, confident presence. No Apology Asians.
I had a great time. I was the one screaming like a crazy lady in the middle rows. The creators of the event and its participants did a fantastic job. Why isn't the community being spoken to holding up it's end?
And of course Quest Crew killed. But I have to say the problem is evident; if you don't show up for yourself, how can you expect others to show up for you?
How can we as an Asian community in the entertainment industry expect Hollywood to employ and represent us more in the industry if we don't show them that we will stand up and represent ourselves in the government?
For some reason, there is a disconnect in the way the Asian community views itself in comparison with the rest of the American communities.
As a result of my upbringing, I
have first hand experience in the Chinese culture and at times, its discordant co-existence
within the American culture.
There is less value on the individual human life and the tendency to not rock the boat is actually an attribute. Just look at the history.
But then what are the consequences of that? What are the consequences of not rocking the vote?
The African-American culture sure as hell shows up for itself! And so do Indians and South East Asians. What's up with the rest of us?Where does the buck stop? Sometimes a necessary change can only take place if it's done in a 180 fashion. Sometimes a slow, gradual attitude to necessary change results not in change, but in complacency. You either show up, or you don't.
And we are all in this together. We have to see it that way. If one member of Quest Crew fails to show up, the entire routine could fall apart. Each one is significant to the whole. And each member knows that about himself.
They show up for each other. They need each other in order to dance.
And so do we.(photos courtesy of the participants of Rock the Vote, Beau Sia, Quest Crew, and my friend Nic)
Yours Truly -- Ann Hu