By Angie Burkhart |Staff Writer|
The Asian and Pacific Islander community has bred some of our greatest entrepreneurs, athletes, inventors, and entertainers from individuals like David Chang and Isamu Akasaki to Amy Chow and Ang Lee.
Asian-Pacific culture has woven itself into American life, enriching anything from our cuisine and technology to music and film.
If you’re an Asian cuisine fan, you might want to consider the success of Korean-American, award-winning chef and author David Chang.
The New Yorker calls him “one of the most celebrated chefs in the country,” and it’s no wonder; he’s the founder of several thriving restaurants around the U.S., from Momofuku Noodle Bar to Seiõbo, and has even received two Michelin Stars.
If you’re not impressed yet, I ask you to consider the work of Japanese scientist and inventor Isamu Akasaki.
According to nobelprize.org, Akasaki, along with his partners Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura, received The Nobel Prize in Physics 2014 “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.”
Aside from cuisine and technology, Asian and Pacific Islanders have also made notable achievements in entertainment.
Margaret Cho, for example, is an award-winning, Korean-American stand up comedian, who has also starred in sitcoms and off-Broadway shows.
Cho “received GLAAD’s first Golden Gate Award in 2000 honoring her as ‘an entertainment pioneer who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for all, regardless [of] sexual orientation or gender identity’,” according to tvguide.com.
Another notable individual from this community, who has taken prominence in film, is Taiwanese-born, American film director Ang Lee.
Lee is known for his directing in films like “Hulk” (2003), “Life of Pi,” and “Brokeback Mountain,” which, according to The New York Times, won him a “Golden Globe for Best Director of a Motion Picture, as well as an Academy Award for Best Direction.”
Speaking of film, it seems fitting to recognize the well-known, Samoan-American actor, former wrestler and football player, Dwayne Johnson, who you may know as The Rock.
The Rock has become a familiar face to Americans, appearing in films such as “Hercules” (2014), “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” “Fast & Furious 6,” and many more, winning multiple awards, such as the MTV Movie Awards, People’s Choice Awards, and Teen Choice Awards.
We can’t forget to mention achievements in television, so it’s fitting to acknowledge television and recent Broadway star, Vanessa Hudgens, who is Filipino-American.
Hudgens gained most of her celebrity fame from a role in Disney’s “High School Musical,” and just recently took on a lead role in a Broadway revival of what The New York Times calls a “pretty and pleasant revival of the musical ‘Gigi’.”
Among the Asian-Pacific community are a vast and diverse group of individuals of whom bring about a great deal of art, talent, and culture to the melting pot we call America.
Please join me in celebrating Asian-Pacific Heritage Month!