Despite being often overlooked, the Asian American community plays a significant role in the U.S. entertainment industry and has set up events to celebrate and promote its own talents – something we somehow lack here in the UK.
The Unforgettable Gala has risen to be one of the most prominent of such events, featuring an impressive guest list of celebrities and rising stars. It is organized by the two most influential Asian American publications, Audrey Magazine and KoreAm Journal – which have just been acquired by London Trust Media.
This year’s gala took place on Friday 5 December at the Park Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.
Five awards were attributed to Asian American talents for their “outstanding achievements and contributions in the field of arts and entertainment”. The recipients included:
John Cho for both the ‘Actor of the Year Award’ and Royal Salute’s Mark of Respect Award: born in South Korea, he became known through the American Pie franchise, but 2014 may well be his most successful year in his career with a significant role on NBC’s Sleepy Hollow and more importantly, the lead role of the ABC romantic comedy series Selfie – the first time an Asian American plays a romantic lead in a U.S. television series.
Ming Na-wen for the ‘Actress of the Year Award’: born in Macau, her main credits include a ten-year involvement in the medical series ER, the voice of Mulan in the famous Disney movie, and 2014 also proved a successful year for her with the female lead role in the hit ABC action series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Ki Hong Lee for the ‘Male Breakout Star of the Year’: like John Cho he was born in Seoul, and moved to Los Angeles at the age of eight, after two years in New Zealand. Ki Hong appeared on the ABC Family show The Nine Lives of Chloe King and several viral short films by Wong Fu Productions, before rising to fame in The Maze Runner (2014) with the role of Minho.
We must note that Audrey and KoreAm are especially backed by Korean Americans, and as such, besides awardees, many guests included top Korean and Korean American performers: Korean African-American hip hop and R&B singer and rapper Yoo Mi Rae, K-pop artist G.NA, NBC’s The Voice winner Tessanne Chin, beatbox champion KRNFX, YouTube artists Arden Cho and David Choi, as well as dancers Mike Song and KINJAZ.
Besides award recipients and performers, attendees also included K-drama stars Han Ji-min (Padam Padam, Rooftop Prince), Go Soo (Empire of Gold, My Fair Lady, The Front Line), CNN host Lisa Ling (This is Life With Lisa Ling) as well as songwriter-singer eSNa (The Heirs’Biting My Lower Lip).
Do you think we could ever host such an event in London?