For the past 3 years ISA (International Secret Agents) has hosted Identity LA to celebrate and commemorate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month (formerly known as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month) and this year was another success for the team.
Presented by Los Angeles Councilmember David Ryu, the city of Los Angeles, Pacific Bridge Arts Foundation and ISA (founded by Wong Fu Productions and Far East Movement), the event showcased vendors from the AAPI community showcasing their unique products, a vast array of food trucks curated by Roy Choi which included The Boba Truck, BB Kyu, Belly Bombz, Chinese Laundry, Pho King Awesome, and Seoul Sausage as well as serving a platform for local artists to showcase their work.
The performances at Identity LA 2018 was definitely the high point of the festival which featured Asian and Asian American Pacific Islander artists. Filipina rapper Ruby Ibarra shined with her expressive and sharp-witted lyrics that touched upon her ethnicity and female empowerment. She wowed the crowd with her high energy performance and her effortless skills in rapping seamlessly from English to Filipino dialects. Ibarra also took the time to stress the significance of the festival stating, “I think it’s definitely important for us to have spaces like this, that allow a platform for artists such as myself to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.”
Other notable performances included Hotel Garuda, North Carolina rapper G Yamazawa, The Kinjaz, DJ Zo, and The Flavr Blue. Multi-platinum Korean American rapper, singer, and dancer Jay Park got the crowd dancing and singing along to his hits, and also invited Korean singer-songwriter Hoody to share the stage with him. Hoody, who is signed under Park’s record label, AOMG showed off her sexy and sultry vocal skills during her own solo set right before Jay Park hit the stage.
One of the highlights of Identity LA was headliner Mike Shinoda’s performance. Shinoda, who performed earlier in the day at KROQ’s Weenie Roast, sang familiar Linkin Park tunes and took a moment to give a touching tribute to his former band mate and close friend Chester Bennington. Shinoda also surprised the crowd by bringing along a couple of guests to share the stage with him, including fellow band member Joe Hahn for their song “Castle Rock” and Japanese singer Taka of ONE OK ROCK to sing Shinoda’s Fort Minor hit single, “Where’d You Go”.
Identity LA 2018 also took the time to recognize AAPIs who have made huge contributions in the community. This year’s honorees were the Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement ,a non-profit organization whose mission is to “cultivate healthy, long-lasting and vibrant Asian and Pacific Islander communities through grassroots organizing.” Activist, artist and the creator of “The Pussyhat Project” Kristah Suh received the Activism award. The Digital Pioneer award was presented to fitness entrepreneur Cassey Ho, founder and creator of oGorgeous and Blogilates. Grammy winner and member of "The Stereotypes" Jonathan Yip was honored with the Musical Pioneer award and Director Jon M. Chu was presented with the Arts & Entertainment honor. Chu’s film directing credits include Now You See Me 2, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, and the upcoming and highly anticipated film, Crazy Rich Asians. During his acceptance speech, Jon M. Chu did not hesitate to invite the audience to show their support and watch Crazy Rich Asians when it hits theaters in August.
Identity LA 2018 was a free and public event sponsored by Comcast | NBC Universal and Private Internet Access.
See below for a recap of this year’s Identity LA and a special performance of “In the End” by Mike Shinoda and fans at the end of the video.