LOS ANGELES, Dec. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Character Media celebrated the in-person return of the 19th Annual Unforgettable Gala presented by Lexus at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday. Unforgettable is the biggest awards show in the U.S. to recognize API icons and changemakers who represent the community through their creativity and excellence. This year's event was hosted by "Good Trouble" star and comedian Sherry Cola and attended by a sold-out, fully vaccinated and COVID-tested crowd. The night featured keynote speeches from Daniel Dae Kim and Broadway actress Ashley Park, as well as live performances by NIKI, MC Jin, Audrey Nuna, Korean Soul, AJ Rafael, Alyssa Navarro, and Oya.
"This organization has always been about community," said John Cho, who received the Lexus Legacy Award. "Looking at all the talent assembled in this room, I'm very gratified to know that, as glamorous as this evening has become over the years, the focus here is still on our stories, our shared history, and celebrating our community."
Cho closed his remarks by saying, "I want to thank everyone, most importantly, all of you in this room, for doing the work that some other kid is going to read about and find encouragement in."
"There's never been a better time to be an Asian in this industry; your time will come, have faith," noted Daniel Dae Kim, encouraging aspiring Asian artists. Later in the evening, when presenting the Actor in TV award, Kim invited award winner "Queen" Sandra Oh to take the stage.
"The biggest thing I feel so intensely is all of you," said Oh, addressing the audience of more than 700 that filled the International Ballroom. "For a lot of us, who have really been working for change for a long time, it's been fairly isolating, and this is not an isolating moment. Last time, I was here talking about change. There's so much talent in this room. I just want to see what you are going to do."
"Show up, take space, and show the world how...cool it is to be an Asian," said Simu Liu, who was honored with the Breakout in Film award for his role as Shang-Chi in "Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings."
The night culminated with the debut performance of "Look at Us Rise," an original song commissioned by singer/songwriter Oya. Several of the night's performers, including Oya, Korean Soul, AJ Rafael and more, joined together on stage for the powerful, inspiring finale. The Unforgettable Gala performance can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/2eqIHwVUpKM.
Full list of award winners and presenters below:
Actor In Television
Presented by Janet Yang and Daniel Dae Kim
Actor In Film
Presented by Leonardo Nam and Élodie Yung
Breakout In Television
Presented by Punam Patel and Chris Pang
Breakout In Film
Presented by Benedict Wong and Fala Chen
Destin Daniel Cretton
Presented by Nina Yang Bongiovi and Alan Yang
Presented by Alexander Hodge and Desmond Chiam
Jason Y. Lee
Presented by Kelly Mi Li and Bobby Hundreds
Jimmy O. Yang
Presented by Darren Barnet and Jenny Yang
"Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings"
Presented by Sandra Oh
Sean Miyashiro | 88rising
Presented by Simu Liu and NIKI
Lexus Legacy Award
Presented by Kelly Hu and Johng Ho Song
Pechanga Athlete on Another Level
Presented by Alex Shibutani and Maia Shibutani
Andrew and Peggy Cherng
Presented by Ally Maki and Bao Nguyen
This year's event was made possible thanks to the generosity of presenting sponsor Lexus. Additional event sponsors include Joseon Empire, Panda Restaurant Group, J&K Gouw Foundation, M&L Hong Foundation, Pechanga Resort Casino, Le Mieux, The Coca-Cola Company, and Remy Martin.
Images are available at: https://images.charactermedia.com/collection/events/unforgettable-gala/2021-unfo/. Follow Character Media and tag #UNFO on Facebook (@CharacterMediaCom), Twitter (@Character_Media), Instagram (@Character.Media), and TikTok (@charactermedia). Highlights from this year's and previous years of the Unforgettable Gala may be seen at the Character Media YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/c/charactermedia).
About The Unforgettable Gala:
The Unforgettable Gala was created by James Ryu, founder and publisher of the award-winning magazines KoreAm Journal, Audrey Magazine, and Kore Asian Media (now a subsidiary of Imperial Family Companies) that highlight Asian American changemakers who are making their mark. Founded in 2002, the black-tie affair celebrates Asian Pacific Islander celebrities, influencers and leaders who have contributed to arts, entertainment and culture. For more information on the Unforgettable Gala and how to be a sponsor, please visit UnforgettableGala.com.
About Character Media:
Character Media has been the premier source of news and events for the Asian American entertainment community for more than 30 years (through its predecessors Kore Asian Media, KoreAm Journal and Audrey Magazine). Character Media traces its roots back to 1990, when it was founded by Jung Shig Ryu and his son, current publisher James Ryu, under the name KoreAm Journal.
To interview Unforgettable Gala founder James Ryu, please connect with the media contacts below.
SOURCE Character Media