In this special #AAPIheritagemonth episode, Vietnamese American entrepreneur and entertainment industry veteran JohnnyD Nguyen chats with BAO about topics that are top-of-mind for the Vietnamese diaspora all around the world. We discuss his upbringing in between cultures, his unexpected entry into the entertainment industry via a supporting role in The Fast And The Furious franchise, and his career as a producer in various parts of the entertainment industry. JohnnyD’s latest business Viet Q Media curates and promotes talent from the Vietnamese diaspora all around the world.
This week, we give a special shout out to the organizations that are doing great work to tell AAPI and Vietnamese stories: DVAN and Diacritics, The Sóng Collective, VAALA, The Slants Foundation and these podcasts: The Vietnamese with Kenneth Nguyen, Vietverse, Vietnamese Boat People, Asian Not Asian, Asian Hustle Network, The Hot Potcast, Rice and Shine (German), Project Yellow Dress, Project Voice, and the Consenting Adults podcast ft. Leyna Nguyen.
Film and television composer Denise Santos chats with BAO about her musical upbringing in Manilla, her unplanned decision to stay in the US, and her career as a touring musician and composer. We discuss her work on Ella Jay Basco’s music video “Gold” featuring Ruby Ibarra and its topic of skin lighteners, beauty standards, and self-acceptance. We also explore the sluggish acceptance of women of color in the entertainment industry and how her experience as a woman channels in the music she has composed for productions such as “Surviving Jeffrey Epstein.”
Illustrator and New Yorker cartoonist Jeremy Nguyen chats with BAO about his Vietnamese American upbringing and complicated relationship with being Asian. We take a look at some of his artwork and cartoons for The New Yorker and discuss his latest endeavors into sharing his knowledge with others. Jeremy is giving a free public lecture with Creatively on May 20, 2021 (get info).
Alan Z, a Chinese American Hip Hop, R&B artist from Atlanta joins Bao Vo for Coffee with BAO. We talk about his international upbringing, early infatuation with rap music, and his new album Face Value, a collaboration with Jason Chu dropping May 14, 2021. The album was partially sponsored by The Slants Foundation, where BAO serves on the board of directors.
Find info on Alan Z and Jason Chu’s album Face Value at alanzmusic.com or on social media @alanzmusic
So humbled that Coffee with BAO is featured on the diaCRITICS website today. diaCRITICS highlights art, literature, and stories from writers, artists, and culture-makers of the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian diaspora, on and from all shores. They’ve just published a little piece called “Take a Sip: “Coffee with BAO” Series.
diaCRITICS is part of DVAN (Diasporic Vietnamese Artist Network), which is a nationally and internationally recognized organization co-founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen and Professor Isabelle Thuy Pelaud. They seek to highlight literature and other creative work by folks in the Vietnamese diaspora from the around the world. Really honored that Coffee with BAO can share some of its mission on the diaCRITICS platform. You can read the full profile here as well as see profiles and stories of other Vietnamese creatives.
Adventure photographer and Youtuber Pierre T. Lambert chats with BAO about his French American identity and making his escape from a career in engineering for the fossil fuels industry to starting his successful photography Youtube channel and online photography course “30 Days to Great Photos.” Pierre also shares his thoughts on entrepreneurship, creative inspiration, and learning to be more present.
Listen to “Hey Dear,” a new single by Rebs, produced by BAO. “Hey Dear” is an 80s-inspired tune written by 20-year-old indie artist Rebs. It tells the story of a mother missing a child who moved away. The song was inspired by Rebs’ own journey of leaving for college. Hope you like the new work and support Rebs in their musical adventures!
A couple months ago, I heard “Hey Dear” from a demo version that Rebs recorded and posted on Soundcloud. I liked the song so much that I asked if I could produce a version.
Rebecca Chan, also known as Rebs, is a 20-year old indie artist from Michigan who perpetually strives for intersectionality. As a queer, biracial artist, they seek to represent the nuance and complexity of a layered identity and existence. That nuance extends to their music, combining and blurring genres to create new sounds.
Artist, filmmaker, and photographer Johnny Cubert White joins BAO for a conversation about his career as a television art director, his art, and his life from the Midwest to Downtown Los Angeles. Johnny shares his Greek, Indigenous, and Appalachian family history, his 30-plus year process of embracing his queer identity, and how all of that is encapsulated in his vibrant art and personality. Johnny White’s ongoing decade-long photography series #myBROKENcamera is a powerful reflection of all of that.
Hi, hello! It’s me again, like TLC again. My friend and collaborator Sunrise Transparence, who played horns on Perpetual Heartbreak and co-wrote my song “Burn It Down,” created this one-person brass band cover version “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance and I provided the vocals on it. That’s 54 layers of horns all played by Sunrise Transparence and 46 layers of voice by yours truly. Hope you like and share and buy this song!
Artist, musician, and filmmaker Bennie Mitchell III has an intimate conversation with BAO about his complicated African American history in Savannah, Georgia, his professional and creative journey in music and filmmaking, and the creation of his debut feature-length documentary “It Is Well.” The film documents the life and legacy of Bennie’s father Reverend Dr. Bennie R. Mitchell Jr., a respected educator, preacher, and activist. He also shares his thoughts on the ongoing process of defining one’s personal identity, engaging his community, and nurturing his own mental health.