Author Archives: haylee_thikeo

Boston Asian American Film Festival Launch Party 2011

Launch Party Glow Sticks!

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Boston Asian American Film Festival Launch Party 2011 at the Greatest Bar in Boston, MA. It was a beautiful night filled with community organizers, volunteers, students, and tons of food and raffle prizes. Setting the mood for the event was awesome music by an upcoming local Asian American DJ, DJ JessieJess. BAAFF definitely knows how to host a launch party!

Channel APA Staff On Scene!


During my time there, I was able to catch up with Development Intern, Lily Chan and Festival Coordinator Janice Wong. I was able to ask them a few questions about their roles in the festival and the overall mission of the Boston Asian American Film Festival. I also had the pleasure of meeting Susan Chinsen, Co Director of the festival and was able to interview her about her role in BAAFF along with her passions and desires for the future of this wonderful event.

Event Footage/video reel here:

Producer: Haylee Thikeo
Footage By: Pete Tran
Assistant: Lisa Liu
Photos from:

Be sure to check out the Boston Asian American Film Festival next month from November 11- 13 to see amazing films, meet actor James Hong, and more! Stay tune for updates for potential guest celebrities.  For a full lineup see here: www.   and to stay on top of festival or ticket updates please follow BAAFF on Twitter or Facebook: .

(BAAF Trailers)

Youtube Yourstory Recap

October 16th, 2010, Northeastern University celebrated the current rise of Asian Americans in Entertainment. “Youtube Yourstory,” presented by the sisters of the Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority Inc and the Asian Student Union, discussed the issues surrounding race and talent with a few very special guests. Wong Fu Productions, David Choi, Ryan Higa, Kevin Wu, Daniel Mathews and Victor Valasquez of afterschoolspecial, and Sophia Moon all graced the stage with very different talents.

Sophia Moon who is now pursing an MBA at Northeastern University began the night with 2 songs.  She performed Echo and a cover of Impossible by Shontelle. The Brooklyn, New York born and raised artist began singing in front of audiences since the age of ten. She’s been writing songs since the age of fifteen and is now hoping to make her mark on the US billboard charts. Her sound is an appealing blend of R&B and classic pop, ranging from piano-based power ballads to dance floor anthems.

Daniel Mathews and Victor Velasquez of afterschoolspecial performed Forever 2, Future Rockstars of America, That’s Not My Name (AxS Remix), and Dreamers “Name”.  These are great songs on their first full length Album, “IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD.” afterschoolspecial will have their first full length album and music video release party this Friday, October 29th, 2010 hosted by Just Kidding Films and other amazing special guests. Check out their facebook event page here.

Ryan Higa, the owner of the #1 subscribed account, NigaHiga on with over 2,700,000 Subscribers embraced the stage with stories of how he all got started. Discussing his life in Hawaii, Ryan started his Youtube endeavors by creating videos in High School during his free time. What started with a couple of funny parodies and shorts became a full time job with fame and fortune. Embarking on a new journey and a highly anticipated short film with Wong Fu Productions, Ryan is on his way to a very successful path.  Known for his charming personality and handsome gestures, the girls (and even some guys) in the audience could not hold back from asking very inappropriate questions, making Ryan’s Q & A session a difficult one to moderate. However, when one girl asked if there was a team behind his  filming style he answered, ” Well I have a tripod and put it here, and I put my lamp here, and I just move back and forth and say ‘hey guys! how are you doing today?’. ” The crowd went wild.

David Choi, singer, songwriter, and producer of DavidChoiMusic had been traveling up and down the east coast for his October 2010 tour and was kind enough to make a second appearance at Northeastern University. Serenading the audience with 3 of his songs,  “Won’t Even Start“, “That Girl“, and “By My Side,” the crowd couldn’t get enough of David’s unique and soothing voice.  David ended his tour in New York city last week and is preparing to go to Korea in November.

Making another brief appearance was Amazing Race reality TV star, Kevin Wu, who’s channel KevJumba has over 1,700,000 subscribers. Also known as Pong from B.E.S.T crew with Ryan Higa, Kevin’s witty sense of humor resonated the audience. Refusing to discuss anything about the Amazing Race, Kevin spoke about his first video of him dancing  in his backyard. What started as brief dancing videos, comical hand gestures, and profound thoughts about women and race, skyrocketed  Kevin’s popularity on youtube. Currently, Kevin and his dad, Michael, are on the Amazing Race Season 17. The season premiered on September 26, 2010. Michael and Kevin’s best placement so far was a 3rd place finish. Their worst placement so far was a last place finish (9th), a non-elimination leg. Be sure to watch Kevin and his father on Sunday nights at 8pm EST on CBS.

Northeastern University was Wong Fu Productions’ first show on their Autumn 2010 tour.   Finishing the night with amazing previews on the projects that they’ve been working on, the audience was definitely spoiled. They got a sneak peak of Alyssa Bernal’s Cali Cali Cali and afterschoolspecial’s new music video. Also, the audience got a taste of Ryan’s new movie Agent of Secret Stuff (A.S.S) Be sure to check out their tour schedule because they could be coming to a school near you!

Regardless of the differences that each of these performers showcased that evening , they shared a passion to inspire genuine voices to go against mainstream media and stereotypes. With over 900 guests in Blackman Auditorium, and 900 more watching at home live on blog TV, Youtube Yourstory was surely an event that was seen and heard all around the world. Although the event was very entertaining and fun, the message to fight against stereotypes was clear. Organizers Haylee Thikeo and Annie Yao introduced this issue and said:

You guys have to understand that new media is powerful. We finally have the chance to become the creators, directors, and we finally have a voice to make the call on how we want to be portrayed. We can finally show everyone that we can be cool and marketable too. Something that only 5-10 years ago was a crazy thought… we are in the middle of a movement, and all of you, sitting in this audience, and those watching at home, are part of it
Thikeo also quoted David Choi  from his special guest post on Angry Asian Man about the movement when he said:
To start this off, I think most people in the entertainment industry still believe YouTube to be some sort of child’s play. A joke. I’ve heard it all, but I’m here to say otherwise.The reality is, these creators on YouTube are getting far more views…Their websites are easily getting thousands of hits a day and can get their messages across in ways that were impossible before.

Thikeo ended her speech by explaining that before youtube, Asian Americans didn’t have a voice. She said,  “TV didn’t give us a voice but Youtube did.”

afterschoolspecial at Youtube Yourstory

David Choi at Youtube Yourstory

Wong Fu Productions at YouTube Yourstory

ISA NY 2010 Concert Review

ISA NY 2010 Concert Review

Lan - Worldismarble at ISA NY 2010 Concert

The 2010 International Secret Agents (ISA) NY concert was a truly unforgettable night as over 1,000 fans filled Webster Hall excited for their favorite Asian American stars. The event  started off with the 2010 ISA Breakout Performer Winner, Lan aka World is Marble playing a Chinese harp and then singing her awesome song, “Don’t Say Who You Are.” Afterwards David Garibaldi, an incredible David Garibaldi at 2010 New York International Secret Agents Concert performance painter highlighted the evening by performing live paintings of musical icons on stage! Crafted completely from scratch, pictures of himself, Jay-Z, and Lady Gaga appeared on stage within minutes.Lydia Paek, known for her smooth soul and cool swag commanded the stage with a medley of some of our favorite pop songs and an ISA Lydia Paek at 2010 International Secret Agents Concertexclusive that she has never performed or uploaded on youtube before about the intimate feeling of love. Jennifer Chung returning from Paris also serenaded the audience with her beautiful original, “The Way You Do.” Hosts Ryan Higa and Kevin Wu reenacted their plight to become B.E.S.T. CREW as they dressed up in vibrant bumblebee colors only to have Quest Crew show them who’s boss! Integrating new and old routines,Quest Crew is definitely the dance crew to see live! Quest Crew at ISA NY 2010 ConcertDavid Choi further warmed the hearts of everyone at the concert singing three of his hit songs, “Won’t Even Start”,  “ By My Side”, and “That Girl.”Wong Fu Productions showed “The Allergy,” a brief short for the American Cancer Society Phil Wang & David Choiabout smoking. Wong Fu Productions also showed us a sneak preview of a special project with Ryan Higa that seems super 007! Much to our surprise, Phil, Kevin, and David performed “Dance to This Song” on stage for the first time ever!  Needless to say, the crowd went wild! Ted Fu also stirred up the audience by proposing to his girlfriend, Caty of 3.5 years on stage!  Finally, Far East Movement ended the night with an awesome mix of “Millionaire” , “Fetish”, “Like a G6” , “Go Ape” and another ISA exclusive song “Rocketeer” from their new album Free Wired with Ryan Tedder of One Republic. Far East Movement Performance at 201 ISA NY Concert

Look for the 2010 ISA LA Concert to go down tonite. has more videos coming soon with backstage interviews. Take a look at some of what’s in store below. We’ll try to get them up as quickly as we can. From the looks of things, International Secret Agents needs to make more trips out to New York.

Here’s a video of 2010 ISA NY highlights

Some ISA NY 2010 Interview Pictures. Look for videos coming soon!





D-Pryde signed to Mars Music Group : exclusive interview

D-PrydeMars Music Group

Last month Canadian artist, Russell Gilbert Llantino better known as D-Pryde signed with Mars Music Group , a seemingly young label that we couldn’t find too much information about. However, we did discover that the label backed by DJ Suss One of New York’s 101.5, who wanted D-Pryde to become its flagship artist. So according to tweets from D-Pryde, he is officially on board and “off to Mars!” Congrats D-Pryde on your success!

Recently, had the opportunity to chop it up exclusively with D-Pryde about this new chapter in his life. He discussed with us everything from his emotional childhood to what his next step in the music business would be. Check it out, it is definitely a heart-felt interview for D-Pryde fans and aspiring young rappers.

For those who don’t know, why the name D-Pryde?

D-Pryde: The D stands for “Duke”, which invoked a feeling of high ranking and class to me as a kid. Back when I first started this music thing, I always dreamt of being a high class individual. It comes as a surprise to most people when they learn that I had a bit of a rough life in my earlier years. Having no father and moving from a poor area to the suburbs really gets to you if you’re an emotional kid. I would think a lot about the lavish life and hoped that one day I could bring myself to that position. I kept the alias “Duke” for months as I progressed in making music and upgrading my skills as an artist. One day I realized my name was a little too plain and too common!

I then tried to find a way to make “Duke” seem more interesting. As I looked back at how much I progressed from a daydreaming kid into a developing artist, I knew I was really proud of what I’ve done! Pride has a positive meaning to it, so I thought of attaching it to my name as a sign of positivity.

So, that brought me to make the name, “D-Pryde”! Ta-da! So in the end, I combined both of the meanings together. I am a person with a lot of pride in the way I’ve been working to reach the “high class” lavish life that might bring me happiness. That’s about it!

What are some things that surprises you about the progress and current state of Hip Hop today?

D-Pryde: I think hip-hop music today just got a little more commercial. But, there is no problem with that in my book. I mean, how can somebody buy the music without the music being promoted and shown to people all over the world? Endorsement deals, commercialism, media, etc. has changed music and the industry in general. I have no problem with it at all. As long as every artist and I still have the choice to make and listen to the music we love, I have no problem in what is “hip-hop” and what isn’t!

Could you walk us through the steps into how you got connected with MarsMusicGroup?


D-Pryde: It was one day after school when I realized my grades were improving more than I expected and I was happy. On the other hand, my family wasn’t doing too great and I needed more time to get closer to them. I saw that music was taking up a lot of my time, but I was not confident in a label or any type of company finding me any time soon. I decided to put the mic down for a while and make my life better. Later that night I checked my e-mail and saw that Baby J (Partner of Mars Music Group) hit me up and said he could give me an opportunity to take my career to the next level. I called him and next thing you know I was on a flight to New Jersey! After collaborating with them in the studio, I was ready to sign the contract they had for me. That brings me to the present time, up and ready with Mars Music Group to cater to my loving fans and make music to blow your ears away! DUNDUNDUN! Haha, but yeah! That’s the story!

As your music career continues to grow, do you plan to stay in Canada or move to the US?

D-Pryde: I don’t know much about that yet, haha. Most of my work is done in the US but the family and friends I love and care about are in Canada. I don’t have a stable verdict of that yet, I think I’d need to update you on the next interview, haha!

Collaborations with fellow Asian American artists have contributed to your success. Will we continue to see you do more of these collaborations?

D-Pryde: For sure! Traphik, Lil Crazed, and all those dudes are my really good friends. Even if I don’t get the chance to collaborate with them more in the future, I will still be affiliated with them as much as I am now. I have mad love for the Asian community, especially Asian artists because we all have to stick together in unity to make our movement! Power to the Asians!

Anyone you haven’t worked with that you really want to collaborate with?

D-Pryde: There’s a large number of people I’d want to collaborate with. At the moment, there are four artists that I can come up with off the top of my head: Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Eminem, and Drake. Justin Bieber because he is amazing! Despite all the hate that I hear from him in my age group, I really appreciate his musical talent and ability. Katy Perry is also simply amazing. Her swag, the way she sings on a record, and the touches she adds to her vocals. She seems cool to hang out with and a fun person to be around, so for sure she would be a choice for me.Eminem has always been my idol. He’s the reason I started music in the first place. I always listened to Eminem as a kid and “The Eminem Show” made me start. Eminem is highly influential in making me the person I am today. I could go on for days about how much he’s influenced me. Last but not least, Drake because he is the artist that I would have the most chemistry with musically and mentally. We’re both from the same city, have similar taste in music, and have similar personalities. Plus, his come up really shows what kind of person he is as an individual and artist. His music is amazing. I definitely wouldn’t mind chilling in a studio with him.

So what are your next moves, and goals, now that you are signed?

D-Pryde: My moves and goals? Just make music; it’s what I’ve always been doing. I want to make my mother and my friends (the NHB—No Holding Back) proud. Most of all, I want to cater to the people that brought me here, my fans. I love them so much and honestly feel that they gave me this experience of a lifetime. I love my fans to death.

For those who share the same aspirations as you, what are some tips or advice that you would like to share?

D-Pryde: Have passion for what you do. Girls and money isn’t passion. The drive comes within, so use that to succeed. Also, be confident in who you truly are, it’s okay to be different. Before making music about yourself, really think about who you are and about your identity. Last, but not least, never let anybody tell you what you can or can’t do because of your race…Asian, black, white, or whatever it may be. Nobody can tell you what to do, stay true to you. In the words of Doctor Seuss, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

Closing message from D-Pryde

D-Pryde:To the fans, thank you for putting me here. It’s a true blessing and the music I make will always be 100% for you. If not then why did I ever make it? Haha. We all have a little D-“PRYDE” inside us, so be happy about your accomplishments. I’m happy about what I’ve done and how I’ve done it. Everybody should be! Thank you very much to my fans and channel APA, YEEAHHH!

If you’re in the New York area, some of D-Pryde’s tracks are hitting the airwaves. Although he’s mostly locked in the studio cranking out music, he still has time to mix it up with the fans in Time Square.

D-Pryde in the studio making records (contains profanity)

International Secret Agents 2010 in LA and NY

International Secret Agents (ISA) 2010 NYCInternational Secret Agents (ISA) 2010 LA

The 2010 ISA (International Secret Agents) team has just released the official lineup for their LA and NY shows. AJ Rafael, Alyssa Bernal, Far*East Movement, Jay Park with AOM, Poreotics, and Wong Fu Productions will be performing in Los Angeles. As for New York City, performances include David Choi, David Garibaldi, Far*East Movement, Jennifer Chung, Quest Crew, and Wong Fu Productions. Ryan Higa, Lydia Paek, and Kevjumba (Kevin Wu) are the official hosts for both the LA and NY shows.

Here’s some additional information on the locations in NY and LA

Saturday, August 28, 2010
Webster Hall
125 East 11th Street
New York City, NY 10003

Sunday, September 5, 2010
Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts
12700 Center Court Drive South
Cerritos, CA 90703

Get your tickets today before it’s too late as they are expected to sell out very soon! Last night, the official site to purchase tickets here crashed within minutes after the announcement. When the site was up again, it only took a few hours for LA VIP and Backstage passes to run out!

For more information about the show and performers please visit here. Also don’t forget to enter the 2010 ISA Breakout Performer Contest

International Secret Agents 2010 in LA and NY Trailer

Fill in the Beats for Jin contest

Fill in the Beats for Jin contest

This is a great opportunity for someone with music production background. Jin is asking aspiring music producers to create a beat to his acapella version of “Angels.” And for the grand prize,the winner will receive the opportunity to produce a track for Jin’s new album. Now that’s good stuff!

Fill in the Beats for Jin contest

Here are the rules!  (

1. Download the video and acapella files.

2. Sync up your beats to the acapella file.

3. Get creative with the video. Use the black and white video file with your own original pictures or videos.

4. Sync your track to the video.

5. Upload the final product onto YouTube as a response video to Jin’s “Angels” music video, labeled “JIN Fill in the Beats Contest.”

6. Subcribe to “CatchAdventures” on YouTube and tag “Catch Adventures” on your video.

Contest starts Wednesday, July 21, 2010 and ends Sunday, August 29, 2010.

Jin will announce the winner on AyoJin TV YouTube channel – and drop the first song off his upcoming English album on Saturday, September 4, 2010 via Catch Adventures YouTube channel.