Kollaboration: Empowerment Through Entertainment
Kollaboration started out as an idea to provide a platform for young Asian and Pacific Islander artists to showcase their talents. What began with a single show in Los Angeles to pilot the movement has now grown to annual talent shows in 14 cities in North America spanning from Honolulu to Chicago to New York. The shows are competition based and showcase the Â talents of locals in each city. At Kollaboration 2003, an unknown hip-hop group called Far East Movement took the stage and won that showcase. Ten years after to date, look at where they are now! In 2006, a dance group known as Quest Crew impressed the audience with their sick moves. A few years later, they were crowned MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew in Season 3!
Founder Paul PK Kim has been a regular community contributor aside from being a frequent host and stand-up comedian at the World Famous Laugh Factory in Hollywood and traveling across the nation doing University tours. Young and bright-eyed at the age of 23, PK started Kollaboration in 2000 under the simple idea that he wanted do to something big with his life. He believed that one show can change the world.
The drive behind the movement is to promote a stronger API presence in mainstream entertainment and media by “Empowerment Through Entertainment“ the current mantra and mission of Kollaboration collectively. The shows also provide an opportunity to elevate community issues to expand awareness and support. What makes Kollaboration so special is the labor of love that goes into each show. The shows couldn’t possibly exist without the special people behind the scenes – the incredible Kollaboration family of volunteer staffs, students, young professionals and community contributors and sponsors involved.
Jackfroot had the incredible honor of being invited to the red carpet media coverage event for Kollaboration SF on August 3, 2013 in San Jose, California. The fourth annual show in the Bay Area took place at the historic California Theater, where 6 finalist across the bay descended to compete for $1,000 cash prize. It was Executive Director, Christine Minji Chang’s last Bay Area show. As announced at the end of the show, Minji was moving onto a global position for Kollaboration. Which meant the movement was indeed expanding! The energy of enthusiasm and excitement that filled the room was unforgettable! We were all witnessing history in action as it was a defining moment for the organization as a whole. Drawing over 20,000 to its show annually, Kollaboration plans to continue increasing that number and reaching no longer just a national but an international group of young API artists to pursue their music and entertainment dreams! Representing Asians and Pacific Islanders more in hip hop, rock, singing, dancing, instrumental, poetry, and comedy around the world is happening more and more thanks to community events, such as these talent showcases. The Asian American Entertainment Movement is only getting bigger, better, and stronger!
As we met and interviewed each contestant on the red carpet, we were extremely humbled to discover that each of them was more excited to have the opportunity to perform for a packed house, than the actual competition itself. The 6 finalists who performed and competed that night in no particular order:
Check out Kollaboration’s video interviews to get to know them better here.
The winner of Kollaboration SF 4, was a band from UC Berkley who call themselves &Blue. Jenn, Patrick, and Johnny’s soulful and laid-back vibe has been influenced by Rhythm & Blues (hence the name). They are simply a group of students who â€œeat and jammed together who had decided to compete on a whim, thanks to Jenn who mentioned it. They were 1 out of over 65 YouTube auditions, and were thrilled when they got the call back for the live auditions, in which all Kollaboration staff members were involved. Â Making the cut out of 40 from the live auditions, they joined the other 5 acts to compete as finalist for the grand prize. What’s so incredibly awesome about them winning, was that it their first time performing together on stage for such a large audience! They now have the chance to compete in the national completion, Kollaboration Star. Happening in a few months from now and taking place in Pasadena, in Southern California. With an expectant attendance of thousands, &Blue has the epic opportunity of winning the ultimate grand prize of $20,000! Last year, Kollaboration teamed up with Asian Entertainment Network Mnet to produce a YouTube reality series called Kollaboration Star 2012 where viewers online sent finalists to compete in the Grand Finale show, in which the winner got to attend the Mnet Asian Music Awards in Hong Kong! We’re excited to see what new developments come up for Kollaboration Star 2013!
Host and comedian of the night was Joey Guila, a Bay Area native who has traveled the world making people laugh. He did an amazing job of keeping the audience laughing and guided the show along flawlessly. Currently, he is headlining The Filipino Kingz Comedy Tour. Guest judges for the night included Diann Kitamura, Executive Director and creator of 4C the Power, which partnered with Far East Movement to host nationwide workshops in hip hop music, dance, dj, art and singing, to keep youth engaged in their school and community. Along with Julia Ree and Jenny Ton, both community leaders and known for being the founders of Retrofit Republic, a socially responsible styling firm advocating sustainable fashion. Bay Area city Mayor of Campbell, Evan Low was invited to be a guest judge as well. The youngest Asian American Mayor in the country, Evan has inspired and influenced many people as a prominent figure.
â€œWe together as a community not only need to support young people going into math, science, business, or law, but also those who have big dreams in the arts – Evan Low (City of Campbell Mayor and guest judge at Kollaboration SF 4)
The night also hosted guest performers such as award-winning hip hop dance company, Funks Beyond Control. Along with Last year’s Kollaboration SF 3 winner, Peter Cung. As well as actor and comedian, Jimmy Ouyang, who had us all laughing at ourselves! Seattle hip hop/rock band, Lions Ambition, who won grand prize at last year’s Kollaboration Seattle sealed off the night before the winners were announced. We congratulate all the finalists but want to give a special shout out especially to the night’s Verizon Audience Choice Award winner, Melvin Sings and Kollaboration SF 4 Showcase winners, &Blue!
“You gotta dream big. Make your dream specific and go for it all out. Life is short. Never pursue money. Pursue your dreams and hopefully the money will come later.” – PK (Kollaboration founder)
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Follow the finalists on their entertainment journey:
Tim Atlas: http://www.youtube.com/user/timfergus0n
Melvin Sings: http://www.youtube.com/user/melvinsingss
The Delivery: http://www.youtube.com/user/DeliveryTheBand
DS Players: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAba-LDxAm0