Asian American artist Johnny Lee hopes his latest music video inspires Americans to stand together again. Lee last directed “Stand Up/Stand N Rock #NoDAPL,” earning him an MTV Video Music Award in 2017 for “Best Fight Against the System.” Now, the message in his latest music video hits even closer to home.
Following a weekend of nationwide rallies in support of Asian American Pacific Islander communities, Lee’s music video “Tonight #StopAsianHate” showcases solidarity for AAPI, BLM, and LGBTQIA+ lives. Joining Lee in this #StopAsianHate anthem and calling for racial unity and social change are notable AAPI personalities, including journalist Lisa Ling of CNN and actors Simu Liu, Dante Basco, Kelly Hu, and Hayden Szeto.
“There’s a long history of Asian discrimination in America, but there’s an equally long history of Asian American activism,” said Liu, known for his role as “Jung Kim” in Kim’s Convenience and appearing next as “Shang-Chi” in Marvel Studio’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. “It’s our responsibility to continue that fight and that legacy.”
Basco, whose recent film “The Fabulous Filipino Brothers” premiered at SXSW, noted, “The song ‘Tonight’ is a reminder to stand together, tonight and every night, against fear, hate, and violence.”
Also appearing in the music video are young actors Michael Campion, Christian Isaiah, and Cade Michael, musicians Henry Fong, KLAXX, and Kaleena Zanders, youth dancers of Mighty Shock L.A., reality TV’s Kevin Kreider, Kelly Mi Li, and Kane Lim of “Bling Empire,” and members of Lee’s family.
In response to the staggering increase of anti-Asian sentiment and violence in the last year, Lee hopes all people will speak out. The music video shares community resources and ends with a call-to-action to report all hate crimes or incidents.
“What began as an anthem to support #BlackLivesMatter has evolved into uplifting the AAPI community and the LGBTQIA+ community – really, empowerment for all people,” said Lee, who wrote, recorded, and performed “Tonight” as one half of the DJ/EDM duo The Hotel Lobby.
Developed and produced by an Asian American team, “Tonight #StopAsianHate” is directed and edited by Johnny Lee with producers Jessica del Mundo, Gilbert Le, and David Christopher Lee. All proceeds from digital purchases of “Tonight” will go towards StopAAPIhate.org.