After an involuntary hiatus due to the pandemic, there was no containing the explosion of API talent returning to the scene at this year's Unforgettable Gala hosted at the Beverly Hilton.
The red carpet was packed with celebs, entrepreneurs, musicians, and adoring fans. Perhaps most noticeable were the attendees on behalf of Society 1 ? an exclusive membership club in Los Angeles that seems to be everywhere these days. Donning a custom House of Skye ensemble with sparkly Santoni loafers, Kane Lim, the beloved star of Netflix's Bling Empire, said, "I feel like this is an event that gives me a pulse on my peers. Character Media recognizes the amazing contribution of API thought leaders and innovators, and [us] the Asians are here for it!"
The Unforgettable Gala is the biggest show of its kind in the United States, awarding achievements within the API demographic. The 19th Gala provoked powerful sentiments and looked back on a year and its highs and lows. Simu Liu, star of Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings, exclaimed that he was "Unapologetically Asian," a sermon that resonated with everyone in attendance. Sandra Oh, John Cho, and others were honored, too.
A USC study recently revealed that Asians and Pacific Islanders account for less than 6% of speaking roles in Hollywood films despite the recent uptick in API visibility in film, television, and the arts. Society 1 aims to change this from within. "By corralling resources across different disciplines, we quickly discover how much more ownership we have over our own destiny because we can all bring something to the table," said Takashi Cheng, a Society 1 Co-Founder.
Society 1 hosted star-studded tables with the likes of model and actor Kevin Kreider, First Lady Heart Evangelista, power advocate Jack Liang, chef Ronnie Woo, and popular influencer Jason Chen, to name a few. The group delivered a cohesive message of giving in the form of a spirited video that only lent further to the allure of the Club.
In a creative departure from a mystery gift in the "swag bags" handed out to guests at the end of the night, Society 1 put a spin on things by asking attendees to nominate an API cause worthy of a kind donation from the Society 1 Foundation. "This is not about putting our money where our mouth is; this is an opportunity for our community to learn about the many API causes that are out there," added Takashi. "We are routinely asked by our peers, ?How can we help?' Let's educate ourselves so we can give others direction on how they can ally with our movement."
Society 1's support of the Unforgettable Gala is a preview of what's to come. The Club is working closely with Character Media on future events focused on community building and more hands-on philanthropy. "As a loud and proud platform for our API family for the past 30 years, Character Media welcomes collaboration with Society 1 ? they are the yin to our yang. We share like-minded leadership and objectives for our communities," said James Ryu.
About Society 1
Society 1 is a privately funded members club founded by highly esteemed Southern California's Asian American community members.
Membership at Society 1 offers access to exclusive events and experiences designed to enhance the presence, influence, and participation of Asian Americans in the most elite circles of society.
Society 1 advocates for a sustained commitment to justice and ensures that people from historically marginalized communities are given a voice and platform. Changemakers help brand partners build inclusive decision-making practices and promote diversity in the workplace.
Follow Society 1 on Instagram at @officialsocietyone.