New York's Filipino-Americans: 'Our Time Is Now'

In this video, 14 Filipino-Americans discuss the moment that changed their lives in story-slam style.

It isn’t often that a DJ, restaurateur, journalist, and composer appear on the same stage — especially to participate in a story slam. But on Friday, members from these four worlds, and many others, will gather at Asia Society for "A ‘Golden’ Opportunity", a unique event recognizing one element that all 14 participants do have in common: their Filipino-American heritage. Each will have five minutes to convey, in as exuberant a fashion as they wish, the moments that shaped their lives.

According to Nancy Bulalacao-Leung, the principal of the Filipino-American Museum — with whom Asia Society is hosting the event — the performances will convey a warmth, openness, and family feeling unique to the Filipino-American community. “I wanted to capture this amazing cross-section of talent,” she said.

This cross-section includes Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist famous for revealing his undocumented immigrant status, the acclaimed photographer Christelle De Castro, and DJ Neil Armstrong, a turntablist who performed at President Barack Obama’s inauguration. “There’s just something special about promoting unity and solidarity across a very diverse range of people,” Bulalacao-Leung said.

Friday’s event comes at a time when Filipino-Americans have assumed a higher-profile place in the American cultural landscape. In October, 34 members of the community — including Armstrong and Bulalacao-Leung — were profiled in BuzzFeed.

“It’s our time now,” said Bulalacao-Leung.

Prior to the performance, which begins at 8:00 PM, guests will be able to purchase Filipino “pica pica” food at the Garden court cafe from 6:00 PM, as well tour of Asia Society’s Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms exhibition. Following the performance, guests will be treated to a reception and music from guest DJ GetLive.

For more details about the show — including a complete list of performers — please click here

About the Author

Profile picture for user Matt Schiavenza

Matt Schiavenza is the Assistant Director of Content at Asia Society. His work has appeared at The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, The New Republic, Fortune, and strategy + business among other publications.