On September 25, the lines stretched far down the streets of D.C. by those who were excited to be part of a history of the API movement as the Kollaboration Talent Competition and Showcase came to town. For many APIs in the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) area anticipated, the show was emceed by our favorite “Preacher’s Kid”—PK. He provided good fun and entertainment while all of us waited to be mesmerized by the next talent that was to dominate the stage.
Although I’d like to highlight everyone who performed, especially, Kirby Asunto, the 12 year old girl who took my heart away (and who I no doubt will see on Broadway in the future), I want to reflect on the winner of the night—Chip Han.
Chip Han is 19 years old, and what caught my attention about Chip as he walked on stage was his shyness and a little bit of awkwardness. As the last contender to perform, he introduced himself briefly and lacked presence that was showcased by the previous performers. However, as the famous saying “save the best for last” goes, indeed he was the shining star of Kollaboration DC.
He came to the U.S. only 3 years ago at the age of 16. I couldn’t help but think back to when I was 16. I was a sophomore in high school living up my teenage dream (thanks, Katy Perry) of going out to the mall with friends, flirting with boys and juggling school work as it was at the bottom of my list of things to do. I wondered how difficult it might have been for him to go against his teenage urges to enjoy all the perks of being young and free, all the while, dealing with new surroundings and culture. But, even before I could continue wondering, Chip brought the mic up to his mouth and began to beat out this amazing world that he enjoyed and loved. I was so struck and the sense of envy began to rise.
I was fixed on the edge of my seat as his beats moved me so naturally, raising my excitement and curiosity as to how he would segue into other popping beats with so much personality. The crowd was going crazy as this shy Asian boy with black, square framed glasses slowly, but with no reservation, came out with so much to say about himself and had the audience in his beats. Then I wondered how amazing it must be to express myself so freely like he did on stage. His beats revealed such a variety of feelings and emotions I did not want him to stop.
I think every individual has his/her reservations, but I know every individual has his/her own voice. A voice with so much interesting things to say, but may not be able to because of barriers outside of that person’s control. I assumed it was English for Chip Han. However, Chip Han with his mesmerizing performance challenged me. He challenged me to identify what I enjoyed doing the most and what I was best at in my life. Most importantly, to share that passion and talent, as it WILL inspire, comfort, entertain, bring smiles and most importantly challenge others to break out of their own shell and speak in the language that they’re most comfortable in.
As Chip Han wrote in his bio, “I picked up beatboxing and it is one of my favorite and best things I can do in my life. I love beatboxing so much that I realized that now I can’t live without it…” Chip in his intro video said for the first few years all he did at home was to beatbox. At the time it may have been challenging, lonely or even seen as pointless, but I envy his tenacity and courage to step up on a stage before hundreds of others and showcasing what he is BEST at.
So what in life can you not live without? And how much are you willing to challenge yourself and push yourself to share what makes you most happy, passionate, inspired and fired up?