Columbia University’s Asian American Alliance Presents cultureSHOCK 2013: SURGE

Article by Yvonne Lo
Photo credit Niko

CultureSHOCK is an annual charity showcase that took place on Saturday, November 16 from 6:30 to 9:30PM at the Roone Arledge Auditorium of Alfred Lerner Hall, Columbia University.

Columbia University Asian American Alliance was proud to bring back their annual charity performance showcase: cultureSHOCK! This year, the theme is SURGE: a surge occurs when the few join with the many, coming together in solidarity for a common goal. The showcase celebrates the increasing visibility of Asian American talent, to recognize the challenges that they face, and to encourage students to build upon this surging momentum to make meaningful impacts in their communities.

Bou Lee, student of Columbia and event director of CultureSHOCK explained, “Recently we’ve seen a surge in Asian American representation in all aspects of society and media,” Lee said. “We wanted to recognize this while remembering that we still want to surge forward—there’s a lot more to be done.”

“In the mainstream media, Asian Americans are underrepresented and often portrayed in roles that reinforce stereotypes,” says Columbia student and President of the Asian American Alliance Jiawen Tang.

“CultureSHOCK is an opportunity to shock audiences into breaking down these stereotypes by showing the true depth and breadth of Asian-American talent in the Columbia community and beyond.”

CultureSHOCK usually hosts a fashion show, but this year, they decided to drop it to showcase more students and guest performances by members of the Asian American community. The event featured a lineup of amazing outside performers/speakers including Awkwafina, Bea Go, Michelle Myers (Yellow Rage), and Wong Fu Productions. Talented Columbia students performed as well, including Raw Elementz, CU Generation, Raas, Malama Hawaii, and String Theory.


Awkwafina is a female Asian American rapper whose original songs have racked up hundreds of thousands of YouTube views. They performed four songs, including her immensely popular”My Vag” and “NYC Bitche$,” and rounded it off with a twerking competition among the members of the board of AAA.

WongFu Productions

WongFu Productions is an independent media production company whose YouTube channel has gained a global fan base. The three members of Wong Fu, Phil, Ted, and Wes, held a Q&A session for the audience. They spoke out about the struggles of starting their own media company and finding the courage to do what you love. Ten students, selected from the raffle, had the opportunity to attend a meet and greet with Wong Fu.

Bea Go

Bea Go is a popular YouTube cover artist and finalist for Kollaboration NY 2012. String Theory is a cello ensemble that performed classical takes on the popular hits “Applause” by Lady Gaga and “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia. These two performers were a welcome complement to the dance groups. Other performers addressed more serious matters of solidarity, discrimination, and violence, including spoken word poet Michelle Myers, who rallied the crowd with a poem titled “It’s Nothing.”

Michelle Myers (Yellow Rage)

“AAA is the only Pan-Asian group on campus, and we wanted the performances to reflect that,” Lee said. “We were happy to include a Pacific Islander dance group, Malama Hawaii, and the South Asian dance group Raas for the first time.”

Dinner was served along with many snacks and drinks from our generous sponsors, giveaways, a raffle for chances to win free t-shirts, restaurant gift cards, and attend a Meet & Greet with Wong Fu Productions.

All proceeds were donated to the Coalition for Asian American Families (CACF), a New York City nonprofit that works in service of the health and well-being of Asian American children and families. You can learn more about its work at

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