Inside Sony Music
- Sony Music Group Celebrates APIDA Heritage Month ‘23
- May 31, 2023
This May for Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi, and Asian American (APIDA) Heritage Month, we’re proud to embrace the theme “The Golden Diaspora: Exploring a New Era for the APIDA Community.”
Over the last year, the APIDA community has been recognized and applauded in media, music, and entertainment, dawning a new era for APIDA representation. The Asian community is not a monolith, which is why we celebrate “APIDA.” This term encompasses all the Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi and Asian American communities, which all have unique cultures, languages, and histories.
SMG honors and commemorates the many contributions of the APIDA community and embrace equity and support for the Asian diaspora.
Celebrating the Golden Diaspora
Our month-long celebration of APIDA culture and representation started with a discussion at our New York City office featuring members of the three-time Tony Award-nominated musical, KPOP. Moderated by K-pop expert Jeff Benjamin, we listened to Helen Park—the first Asian American woman composer in Broadway history—and KPOP cast members Abraham Lim and Kevin Woo speak about the global influence of Korean pop culture as well as their personal journeys and experiences on and off the stage.
Park explained that it was rare for her to see accurate Asian representation in American theater and media growing up. “Many of the Asian centric stories were written by non-Asians. It was oftentimes exotified with beautiful music, but the authenticity was questionable.” This prompted her to praise KPOP for its commitment to authenticity and allowing its Korean cast and crew members to be unapologetic about their culture.
We continued our APIDA Heritage Month celebrations with an ‘Ori Tahiti’ dance class led by Madilyne Nguyen-Acosta—SMG’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Specialist—at our New York City office. As a Tahitian dancer since childhood, Nguyen-Acosta was thrilled when she was asked to share her knowledge and passion for the artform with her fellow teammates.
“I noticed that Polynesian culture was not as prevalent in New York City compared to my home state, California, so when I had the opportunity to share it at Sony Music, I did not hesitate to say yes,” she said. “It was fun teaching Tahitian dance to my Sony teammates, and I think everyone had a lot of fun learning as well.”
Lastly, we tuned into an in-person and online hybrid chat with John C. Yang, President and Executive Director, and Tiffany Chang, Director of Community Engagement at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, a non-profit partner through the Sony Global Social Justice Fund. The conversation—which was moderated by SMG’s Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Tiffany R. Warren—highlighted the history and mission of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, the efforts to address the nationwide rise in hate crimes against the AAPI communities, and the importance of allyship.
A huge thank you to everyone who participated in our APIDA Heritage Month celebrations—especially those who joined us from outside of SMG:
- Jeff Benjamin, K-Pop Editor and Columnist for TIDAL and Billboard
- John C. Yang, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC
- Kevin Woo, Singer, Actor, Host and Creative Director
- Sahaj Kaur Kohli, Mental Health Professional and Founder of Brown Girl Therapy
- Shiv Nadkarni, Singer, Actor and Dancer
- Tiffany Chang, Director of Community Engagement at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC
- Vinh Pham, Physical Therapist and Founder of Myodetox
And a special shoutout to Sony Masterworks Broadway and Talent Advisory Groups (TAGs) HUE (Helping Unite Everyone) and Wellful for dedicating time and effort to coordinating this month’s internal programming.
Our Ongoing Efforts to Support the APIDA Community
Through our Global Social Justice Fund, we continue to celebrate and support the APIDA community worldwide beyond the month of May. Below, learn about a few of our partner organizations who are advancing social justice in different communities across Asia:
- Yayasan Sosial Indonesia untuk Kemanusiaan (Indonesia) – An empowered community in fighting for a just, dignified, and prosperous life for all within the framework of human rights and natural preservation.
- Milaan Foundation (India) – Empowering girls to stand up for themselves by advancing their skills, rights, and opportunities to unlock their voice, choice, and inner power.
- Modern Women’s Foundation (Taiwan) – With a firm force, we strive to defend the rights and interests of women and children who witnessed domestic violence, and to eliminate inequality in the system and modern culture. By providing professional services, we comfort the injured hearts and souls, and we hope to become the most trusted organization for gender-based violence victims.
- Swadhar Institute for Development of Women and Children (India) – Swadhar envisions a society where in women in distress and underprivileged children are empowered to uplift themselves and become responsible members of our society.