After much deliberation from the judges in reviewing a pool of impressive candidates, a decision was made. On February 9, the winner of the first-ever Nee Hao’s Man and Woman of the Year Award is to be received by the British East Asian Artists (BEAA), a collation of amazing men and women from diverse professions involved in directing, acting, writing, broadcasting and filmmaking. Normally the award should go to an individual man and woman, but this year an exception is to be made because of the special achievement of this group. A full list of the other finalists will be in articles to follow.
The Judges’ Decision
BEAA was selected by a stellar line of judges comprising of:
Dr. Catherine Xiang, who is in charge of Mandarin section at LSE and responsible for Asian Languages, as well as liaison for Confucius Institute Business, London;
Raymond Wong MBE, the Honorary Chairman of the Bristol Chinese Association;
Dee Lo, presenter and co-producer of BBC Radio Chinatown in Manchester;
GK Tang, the founder and entrepreneur behind OrientalUK.com based in the North East; and
Ben Donn, Entrepreneur and founder of V Town Events based in Manchester.
Editor of Nee Hao Magazine Steven Ip, who was not part of the judging panel, had this to say: “Their courage in breaking barriers to incorporate more East Asians into the arts and cultural sectors is truly inspirational. Fighting racism, prejudice and underrepresentation, the BEAA deserves universal recognition; I am proud that Nee Hao has played a small part in recognising their contributions”.
Gathering together in 2012, the BEAA campaigned against the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) adaptation of the Chinese play “Orphan of Zhao”. The RSC only cast three British East Asian actors in the play, reflecting a lack of the organisation’s dedication to equal opportunities-casting. The pressure exerted on the RSC through BEAA’s efforts in rallying up online support resulted in a written statement by the RSC to review their policies. Although it is impossible to recount all the individuals involved in the initiative, notable mentions have been made regarding Daniel York, Anna Chen, Dr. Broderick D.V. Chow, Kathryn Golding, Paul Hyu, Michelle Lee, Chowee Leow, Hi Ching, Jennifer Lim, Lucy Sheen, and Amanda Rogers.
Victor Wong, Executive Director of the Chinese Canadian National Council, who co-nominated the group stated:
“Through their efforts, the BEAA successfully challenged the racist assumptions and stereotyping of the theatre industry. Their efforts to break the glass ceiling of “invisibility” in the UK also benefits the British Chinese and East Asian communities in general, and especially for young people at the beginning of their careers. The BEAA were able to attract international support and also engaged with important allies including Equity representatives, media, funders and political representatives”.
Yinsey Wang, contributing editor of Nee Hao, who also supported the nomination of BEAA, stated of the Nee Hao’s Man and Woman of the Year project:
“We wanted this award to support what we feel is lacking in the British East Asian community: unity. The BEAA has shown dedication to a truly unified cause and enchanted the imagination of the British East Asian. As a British East Asian, I feel empowered to know that together we can make substantial differences in Britain, and can even engage the serious problems that affect the heart of the international community, such as racism, underrepresentation and misunderstanding”.
BEAA continues to create extensive ripples in the arts and culture of Britain, providing a forum for creatives to share and develop their work. Nee Hao is proud to celebrate this year’s men and women from the BEAA that have outlined 2012 as an important step forward for all British East Asians.
A statement by BEAA is to be made at the awards ceremony and shall be reported on after the festivities of Nee Hao Magazine’s Chinese New Year Show in London, which includes a fashion show, performances, a charity raffle in support of Chinese orphaned and abandoned children, and delightful culinary creations.