The list is out!
Gold House, an Asian collective that includes founders, creatives and leaders in a variety of fields, released its list Wednesday of the 100 most influential Asians Americans, Pacific Islanders and Asians who have influenced U.S. culture on Wednesday. The list coincides with the start of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
The “A100” list includes some heavy hitters in industries ranging from sports to fashion to business. K-pop band BTS, comedian Hasan Minhaj, actress Sandra Oh and Planned Parenthood President Dr. Lena Wen are among the powerful crew that made the list.
Bing Chen, co-creator of the collective, explained to HuffPost that the group felt it necessary to highlight Asian achievements and influences on American culture to unify and empower others.
“All lists that honor different demographics and achievements are an important part of holistic representation,” he added.
Among the creative voices and athletes on the list are “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu, designer Prabal Gurung and U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka. Restaurateur David Chang and Nobel Peace Prize-nominated activist Amanda Nguyen were honored among the “Founders and Entrepreneurs” of the A100. And Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who is a 2020 presidential candidate, and Allure Editor-in-Chief Michelle Lee appeared in the “Leaders” category.
This is the second year Gold House has released the list, and Chen explained that while working on it he observed strides being made, particularly in the entertainment field.
“New creative opportunities (both the confidence of creatives and deals by the studios/networks) have been forged, in large part thanks to ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’” he explained. “The community has continued to cement its thriving in entrepreneurship, whether it’s the continued rise of esports giant Twitch or the IPOs of Zoom and Pinterest.”
The playing field isn’t completely even for Asian Americans, however, and there are still significant gaps in representation when digging into certain industries. Chen points out, for example, that the group continues to struggle with climbing the corporate ladder.
A study from Ascend found that, though Asians were the largest racial cohort of professionals in the Bay Area technology sector, they were the least likely of all races to become managers and executives. On top of that, Asian women were the least likely of all to become executives.
Moreover, the “model minority” myth has obscured some of the other disparities Asian Americans face. The group has the highest poverty rate in New York City compared with other races, a report from the mayor’s office reveals. And a report from Pew Research Center showed that economic inequality among Asian Americans exceeds that of other large racial or ethnic groups in the U.S.
Though the A100 celebrates Asian excellence, its purpose also lies in “instilling a culture of mutual support among our community,” Chen says. “After all, if we don’t support ourselves, who will?”
Ultimately, he says the list aims to bridge communities and show young Asian Americans the diverse possibilities.
“Too often, communities find ways to divide themselves rather than celebrate what’s concentric,” Chen said. “Additionally, we hope these founders, creative voices and leaders function as an inspiration to the next generation of them ― whether your dream is to be a successful tech founder, Olympian or filmmaker.”
Check out highlights from the list below. To see the full A100 list, head over to the Gold House site here.
Creative Voices & Athletes
Awkwafina (actress, comedian, musician)
Darren Criss (actor, musician)
Hasan Minhaj (TV personality, comedian, journalist)
Lilly Singh (actress, TV personality)
Lisa Ling (journalist, TV personality and producer)
Marie Kondo (author, TV personality)
Jon M. Chu (director)
Naomi Osaka (tennis player)
Nathan Chen (figure skater)
Sandra Oh (actress)
Samin Nosrat (chef, author, TV personality)
Phillip Lim (designer)
Prabal Gurung (designer)
Founders & Entrepreneurs:
Amanda Nguyen (CEO and founder, Rise & Rise Justice Labs)
Chieh Huang (CEO and founder, BOXED)
David Chang (chef & TV personality)
Jen Rubio (co-founder and chief brand officer, Away)
Katrina Lake (CEO and founder, Stitch Fix)
Kevin Lin (co-founder, Twitch)
Maureen Fan (CEO and co-founder, Baobab Studios)
Nathaniel Ru (co-founder, Sweetgreen)
Shiva Rajaraman (chief product officer, WeWork)
Albert Cheng (co-head of TV and COO, Amazon Studios)
Betty Liu (executive vice chairman, New York Stock Exchange)
Dara Khosrowshahi (CEO, Uber)
Dhivya Suryadevara (CFO, General Motors)
Kamala Harris (U.S. senator and 2020 presidential candidate)
Dr. Leana Wen (president, Planned Parenthood)
Mark Tatum (deputy commissioner and COO, NBA)
Michelle Lee (editor-in-chief, Allure Magazine)
Raj Kapoor & Emily Nishi (chief strategy officer and chief people officer, Lyft)
Satya Nadella (CEO, Microsoft)
Saikat Chakrabarti (chief of staff to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)
Sun Choee (chief product officer, Lululemon)
Theresa Kang-Lowe (partner, William Morris Endeavor)