By Jenny Lin and Robert Moran
It was a night of vision, visibility and voice. At the opening ceremony of the V3 conference, four awards were given out: one Vision, two Visibility, and one Voice award. More than 200 people attended the the V3 Digital Media Conference opening and awards ceremony in August at the Pacific Asian Museum in Pasadena.
It wasn’t just a night of awards, but also of intergenerational celebrations and music.
The first award was given to Jeff Yang, editor-in-chief of “Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology”, the first ever comic book written about superheroes from the Asian American perspective. Keith Chow, co-editor of Secret Identities and presenter of the Vision Award, touched upon Yang’s long-time involvement in Asian American Media and the overlap of the traditional media world and the digital media world. Yang’s commitment has led to many insights on modern media’s hold and influence over Asian American presence. He’s not only involved in traditional media, Chow said, but Yang believes that the Internet and digital era has leveled the playing field.
“Asian Americans were marginal, we were on the periphery of both awareness and ultimately empowerment, as far as the media is concerned,” Yang said in an interview. “We had no ability to really control our image, we had no infrastructure to contribute our voices and stories. … For us, the first platforms on which we can actually share our stories and present our image is the one that is going to dominate the future: the Internet. Digital media is the mainstream media. This is our traditional media.”
Phil Yu, famous blogger of angryasianman, presented the first visibility award to David Choi. As a popular YouTube singer with over 1 million hits, Choi is breaking grounds through non-traditional channels. “I started posting music because it’s what I love to do,” Choi said during his speech, “and I guess that leads to something.”
Lisa Ling stepped up to receive the second visibility award after being introduced by her long time friend and role model, Gordon Tokumatsu. Ling is the host of Our America on OWN.
“My parents were divorced by the age of 7, and so I grew up with the TV,” she said. “I used to watch Brady Bunch all the time and pretend that I was one of them.”
She later discussed her desire to see more Asian Americans on T.V. adding that the “the passion for what I do and being immersed in so many kinds of worlds… it’s so invigorating and so fascinating that it’s hard to give up.”
After a warm welcome by Tamilyn Tomita, pictured above, Jocelyn “Joz” Wang wrapped up the night, winning the Voice Award. Joz is editor of 8asians.com, a website that writes Asian American issues.
“It’s not really for the work that I do, it’s really for the work that you do,” Wang said.
She said she felt so incredibly inspired by the people here and on the Internet, that she had to do her part to help bring more visibility, vision, voices to the community.
“Whenever we feel like we’re invisible and we’re not heard,” Jocelyn said, “It’s our job to take that step and do it ourselves. And that’s the spirit of v3.”
For more on this year’s V3 Conference and to register for 2013, visit the V3 website.