• Awards

A Golden Night for Asians

“It is an honor just to be Asian!” – Sandra Oh

That was exactly what the Asian American talents felt at the Gold House Second Annual Gold Gala held recently at The Music Center in downtown Los Angeles. With the powerhouse attendance, it was a rare big gathering of the best and the brightest in the AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) community in the US.

One of the ReImagine partners of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), Gold House is the leading cultural ecosystem powering Asian Pacific creators and communities.

Led by Bing Chen and Jeremy Tran, CEO and COO respectively, the black-tie invitation-only event was attended by 800 multicultural luminaries and thought leaders. The festive event celebrated the 2023 A100, the top 100 Asian and Pacific Islanders who most significantly impacted culture and society in the last year, as voted on by top Asian Pacific nonprofit, business and creative leaders.

Chen said, “This is no longer about just having a seat at the table or belonging – the A100 and the powerful Gold Gala are about building new houses by breaking established ceilings for all communities. By distilling and punctuating the Asian Pacific community’s essential impact on culture. We reimagine what’s possible for our community and redefine how we’re seen in society.”

Among the special awardees were the original cast and creators of Wayne Wang’s The Joy Luck Club which is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Led by Janet Yang (the film’s producer and president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) and actors Ming-Na Wen, Rosalind Chao, Lauren Tom, Tamlyn Tomita, Kieu Chinh and HFPA member and actress Lisa Lu, the movie is regarded as groundbreaking for its on-screen Asian American and female representation.

They received the inaugural Gold Generation Award for exemplifying the film’s ongoing cultural impact felt across generations. The award was presented by the cast of the comedy film Joy Ride which included Ashley Park, Stephanie Hsu, Sherry Cola and Sabrina Wu.

In her emotional speech, Yang said, “What an amazing room! I am so touched to be with this incredible group of women this evening. All of you make me proud. I am standing among these iconic women who are gloriously talented.

“I am just a bit player but a very lucky one. This movie is a gift that keeps on giving. When I first read this novel by Amy Tan, as I was growing up as a Chinese American, I could not articulate myself, much less share with others. I heard Amy’s words through this incredible access and the experience was elevated to a universal level.

“My personal story is a universal one. It can be the story of any child of an immigrant, anyone who was slighted or misunderstood. This is what makes a great performance. These actors brought all their humanity into this movie. There are no stereotypes to distinguish one from another. It gave us genuine authentic characters. It was in Mandarin Chinese and audiences were not confused which is another testament to their great performances. There was magic on screen. It passed the test of time.

“As Sandra Oh said, ‘You have made history.’ You have planted the seeds to be harvested for decades to come. You are all icons. You are extraordinary human beings offstage. We never stop cracking jokes. They make me laugh and cry.”

Lu, who turned 96 last January and was seated on a chair onstage, greeted the audience, “Oh my dear Golden friends. I am so happy to be here to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Joy Luck Club in my golden age. Thank you, Janet Yang and Gold House for bringing us all together to make this celebration.”


For her part, the 85-year-old Vietnamese American actress Chinh greeted the Gala crowd, “Thank you Gold House for this opportunity. What an honor. Thank you for what you are doing not only for one individual but for community members from all walks of life, cultures and businesses.

“As for The Joy Luck Club, I am so honored to have this amazing, wonderful family who after 30 years, the emotion is still there not only for making the film but our friendship is growing. Together we are getting stronger. I am so honored to have this family – all my daughters and sisters. I hope I will not wait for another 30 years for us to celebrate again.”

Two-time Golden Globe winner Sandra Oh, the daughter of South Korean immigrants, was presented with the SeeHer award, the highest recognition for artists who advocate for gender equality and portray characters with authenticity, defy stereotypes and push boundaries in front of and behind the camera.

The 51-year-old Canadian American, whose “It is an honor…” statement in an Emmy telecast has since become a rallying cry, said, “I’ve spent my whole career trying to accomplish the name of this honor, not only for myself but for others. I used to think seeing myself meant seeing myself or us on screen but it’s much more than that. I think the search for what it is to be seen is a deeply personal journey and cannot be satisfied or found by simply seeing ourselves on screen. I think true change and transformation must be initiated from that person or place because truly being seen is not limited to our eyes.”

Golden Globe winner Ke Huy Quan was honored with the Leading Man Award. The Chinese American actor quipped in his speech, “When you imagine a winner, I don’t fit the mold, I finally realized that winners don’t always have to look the same. You can also win, too, if you just believe in yourself.”


Also honored was Tony Award-winning singer-actress Lea Salonga who received the Gold Legend Award. Dubbed “The Pride of the Philippines,” Salonga said, “Thank you, Gold House. We had such a wonderful partnership all these years. Thank you for amplifying the AAPI voices and uniting our community.

“With this Legend Award, I feel incredibly humbled and incredibly old. This year marks my 45th year as a performer. I am 52 years old now and I have been doing this since I was seven. The landscape has changed. I have had the privilege of doing the singing voices of two Disney princesses – Princess Jasmine of Aladdin and the fiercest of them all, Mulan.

“Being part of that project brought me so much joy and fulfillment in my career. Seeing the movie for the first time, a brave, strong, loyal, badass warrior princess and who does everything without a man by her side. Best of all, she looked like me. She was an Asian female hero to look up to. Oh yes, she was a cartoon, but she was 40 feet tall on screen and she embodied so much good. And I am proud to be part of that legacy.

“Hollywood and beyond is now embracing AAPI stories. What a year! Everything Everywhere All at Once! Looking at you and [I was] screaming and crying at my apartment [when I watched the Oscars]! Do we have a lot of work to do? Yes, we do. There is a barrage of violence and hatred shown to members of our community and it is disappointing and disheartening. This should not let us down. We should get up, amplify our voices and our stories. Our accomplishments are infinitely louder than the hate.”

The cast and creators of Everything Everywhere All at Once received the Gold Icon Award commemorating the film’s transformative achievements for the Asian Pacific community, which was received by Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu, Harry Shum Jr. and producer Jonathan Wang.

Actress-producer-director Eva Longoria was honored with the Gold Ally Award for her leadership to fellow multi-hyphenate artists across the cultural industries and for her exemplification of creative excellence, unflappable consistency and undeniable activism.

Other awardees included actress Iman Vellani (Ms. Marvel) who received the first-ever New Gold Award for a rising leader, Chief Content Officer of Netflix Bela Bajaria for Entertainment and Media, Editor-in-Chief of Vanity Fair Radhika Jones for Fashion and Lifestyle and author-producer-director and trans rights advocate Geena Rocero for Activism and Journalism.