To mark the start of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month as well as the 50th anniversary of the first recognized usage of the term “Asian American,” nonprofit collective Gold House has launched the A100, a to-be-annual list of the most influential Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from the past year.
The selection process began with open nominations from 36 major AAPI community leaders as well as Gold House’s hundreds of Asian-American creative and business leader members. Ultimately, the honorees were winnowed down by a multicultural committee that included Forest Whitaker, Pharrell Williams, Michelle Kwan and Janice Min, media consultant at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and The Hollywood Reporter parent company Valence Media.
The A100 honors the most impactful Asians in culture every May for Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Honorees pioneer new enterprises as founders; herald new industries in the C-suite; transform culture through historic creative endeavors; and set unmatched global sports records. This year is especially momentous as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of “Asian America.”
CONGRATULATIONS to the following Filipino Americans selected for the A100 Honorees who had the most transformative impact on culture over the past year and represent the future of their industries:
Co-Founder & CTO at Snap
Filipino Bobby Murphy is co-founder of Snapchat and Chief Technology Officer of Snap Inc., where he leads the product, engineering, and research team that recently launched Spectacles. Known for his affable, even-keeled nature, and low profile, Murphy, alongside his co-founder, Evan Spiegel, has also pledged to donate up to 13 million shares of Class A common stock over the next two decades to support the newly-created Snap Foundation that will support the arts, education, and youth nonprofits. Imran Khan is Chief Strategy Officer, where he tends to the company’s operations, sales, partnerships, and corporate strategy divisions. Previously, Khan was the head of global internet investment banking at Credit Suisse where he was pivotal in Alibaba’s IPO, the largest share sale in history.
Singer & Songwriter
“Bruno is one of the greatest naturally talented writers and performers in music. He’s changed numerous artists careers including our own, writing countless hits for himself and others. Watching an Asian American artist walk up on the Grammy stage with an Asian American producer (Stereotypes) and hold multiple awards was something we never thought we would witness in our time.” – Far East Movement Bruno Mars is a superstar singer/songwriter best known for hit songs such as “Nothin’ on You,” “Just the Way You Are,” “Locked Out of Heaven,” “Uptown Funk,” and “That’s What I Like.” He boasts more than 11 Grammys including becoming the first Asian to win Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best R&B Album, Best R&B Performance, and Best R&B Song this year.
Singer & Songwriter
Kehlani is a singer, songwriter, and dancer, whose first major-label album SweetSexySavage debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts in 2017. Her unwaveringly honest music delivers the straight truth about her life, pain, passion, love, triumph, and everything in between, with collected calm and confidence. Her 2015 mixtape, You Should Be Here, debuted at #1 on the iTunes R&B chart, was called “the year’s first great R&B album” by Billboard, and was nominated for a Grammy. Once without a home and forced to crash on friends’ couches, Kehlani’s recent success speaks to her incredible perseverance, which allows her to inspire others through her music.
On the personal impact of being Asian:
The Oakland-born R&B singer and songwriter, Kehlani, was born a unique blend of ethnicities including Filipino, African American, Caucasian, Native American, and Spanish. Months after her birth, Kehlani lost her father, never properly meeting him. Mired in drug addiction, her mom shuffled her to an aunt. She initially found solace in dance—ballet in particular—but a knee injury sidelined her what might’ve been a budding career as ballerina. “That’s when I started singing,” she recalls. “When I was living with my aunt, she played me all of these powerful women and love songs. It was that Neo Soul-R&B, and I couldn’t get enough of it. It felt right to sing from the moment I began.” Kehlani’s 2014 mixtape, Cloud 19, introduced her to the world. Immediately, tastemakers and audiences alike wholeheartedly embraced her brutally raw pain, passion, love, and triumph. Complex showcased the songstress in a piece entitled “How R&B Saved 2014,” Pitchfork dubbed the mixtape one of the “Overlooked mixtapes of 2014,” Vice proclaimed her an “R&B Artist on the Verge of Blowing Up,” BuzzFeed pegged her at #4 on their “41 SXSW 2015 Artists You Need In Your Life,” and she ended up being one of SXSW’s “Top 5 Most Tweeted Artists.” In late April she shared You Should Be Here with the world. Upon its release Billboard immediately called this project “The year’s first great R&B album”. Amongst their great review,You Should Be Here has seen quite a bit of success on the charts. Aside from being the top R&B debut of the week, it also came in at #1 on the iTunes R&B/Soul chart and #2 on both the Overall R&B Albums and Current R&B Albums chart.
Robert Lopez is the youngest of only twelve people who have won the prestigious EGOT (an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award), the quickest (10 years) to win all four. As of 2018, Lopez is the only person to have won all four awards more than once, making him the only EGOT2r in the world. He is a composer-creator of Broadway musicals and animated films, including Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon, Frozen, and Coco, and the writer of the Oscar winning songs “Let It Go” and “Remember Me.” Now, your children know who to thank.
When I graduated college in 1997, musical theater was slipping into cultural irrelevance. As the internet and streaming technology have disrupted most other media, Broadway, because of its live aspect, remains outside its reach. And thanks to our generation of creators, Broadway musicals have a very bright future indeed. Some would say they now occupy the center of the culture.
On the personal impact of being Asian:
On how Asians can amplify society:
I think Asians need to demand more visibility and credit for the things they achieve.