AAA showcases SLU talent

As SLUdents, we all attend our share of showcases, profit-shares and speakers, either out of genuine interest or coercion by our friends. What I have discovered is that an ordinary event will leave you impressed, but an extraordinary event will leave you changed. The 10th Annual Asian American Association (AAA) Showcase belongs to the latter.

On Saturday, Nov. 14, a long line of students, families and faculty formed outside the Saint Louis Room for “a night on the red carpet” featuring performances by Cherry Crush, SLU Karate and several other groups. After walking the red carpet and posing for paparazzi, guests indulged in Asian cuisine, including jap chae, mapo tofu, fried rice, bok choy and beef bulgogi. AAA then kicked off the event with an advocacy presentation featuring quotes and interview clips from Asian-American celebrities and the Model Minority Myth.

David Cheung, co-president of AAA, commented on the importance of Asian-American advocacy, saying, “For years, Asian Americans have been a bit short handed in their access to lead roles in entertainment. Of course there were some exceptions, but traditionally, Hollywood has made it exceptionally hard for Asian Americans to play non-sidekick non-stereotypical roles. We hope that showcase helped SLU open its eyes to these issues.”

Following the advocacy presentation, the emcees, Eileen Huang and Derek Nguyen, took the stage to introduce the first performers of the night: Cherry Crush, SLU’s first official Korean pop cover dance group. The first number, “Call Me Baby,” showed off the unity of the team while also highlighting several individuals in short solo sections. Cherry Crush had four other routines throughout the night dancing to: “Pepe,” “Mental Breakdown,” “Never Ever” and “Bang Bang Bang.” With each number, the group showed a different side of themselves, from sassy to sexy.

The showcase had many other great performances throughout the night. Washington University’s Sensasians incorporated their own style into their a cappella covers of “Out of the Woods” by Taylor Swift and “Reflection” by Lea Salonga. SLU Karate impressed the audience with a routine featuring mock combat and board breaking. SLU’s hip hop crew, XQuizit, contributed a well-choreographed hip hop number. The night also included a fan dance and a fashion show, which celebrated traditional Asian culture. AAA members Derek Nguyen and Alexa Lasam sang a cover of Britney Spear’s “Toxic.” Finally, David Nasser and Anthony Ton, also AAA members, performed a guitar duo that would rival John Mayer.

After the event, George Kung, co-president of AAA, reflected on the evening, saying, “Being on the executive board for the past two showcases has really allowed me to see the passion and hard work that goes into the months of planning an event like this. This year, we put on a performance with a message that I hope touched both the hearts and the minds of everyone who attended. To me, showcase is really about working together to create a collective production that goes beyond just the boundaries of our organization.”

On Saturday, AAA did not just showcase talented performers, they showed the depth and diversity of the Asian American community in and around SLU. The organization put on a phenomenal event that advocated for the Asian American community through words and action. The showcase celebrated Asian American culture in a way that raised awareness and combatted stereotypes. It’s fair to say that guests who attended the AAA showcase this year were impacted and impressed.