Asian American Collective was founded in 2020 by music industry vets and first-generation Asian Americans Grace Lee, Caroline Yim and Zeena Koda. Together, they sought to create a space for creative Asians within the music, media and entertainment space. In just a few short years, the collective has grown from a small community to a non-profit organization offering mentorship, educational resources, advocacy and more.
On socials, AAC often highlights the success of community members in their ‘Get To Know’ and ‘Feature Friday’ series. In May, the organization hosted “Dope Asian Celebration,” transcontinental events in LA and NYC to invite their community to gather in person for the first time since lockdown. To round out our second year of partnership, The Orchard was happy to participate, attend and contribute some goods.
We caught up with co-founder and #dopeasian herself, Zeena Koda, about AAC’s origins and goals. Get the scoop, below.
What inspired you to create Asian American Collective?
Coming up in the music industry, the three of us did not see Asian representation within our fields. We wanted to create a multi-generational community where all Asians in creative spaces could meet, break bread, mentor and learn, and ultimately create a network for people to access one another. We began as a community group in 2020 and after the Stop Asian Hate movement launched into mainstream consciousness, we officially became a non-profit focused on mentorship, advocacy and education.
Who is the target audience and what are your goals as AAC?
Target audience is Asian American creatives and allies, who are interested in creating and the business around creating art. Our goal is to make a real community of people who can connect to achieve their goals together. We share information, perspectives and job/career advancement opportunities with our community.
What does the group offer members? Are there fees to join?
We offer a chance to connect with our community online and IRL in NYC and LA. No fees, we are a non-profit and are adamant on staying a free community.
How does someone get more involved in AAC?
You can join our email list where we give a first look at our mentorship program and LA/NYC events: asianamericancollective.org/get-involved
Also follow us on IG where we’re constantly in communication with our community: @asianamericancollective
Who inspires you in the Asian American community?
We’re inspired by the new AAPI artists coming to the forefront, other community partners and music partners who are prioritizing bringing in more Asian talent.
What are some ways people outside of the Asian community can support their friends/loved ones in the community?
Be an ally where you can personally. Help by sharing opportunities. Listen to new Asian American artists and see their shows. Learn more about our diverse cultures and show up when you can. A little action and compassion goes a long way to show support.