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The Flavor Continues

With Asian Hustlers: Jane Duan, Brian Lim and Bao Pham

 Published on: May 29, 2020

Jane Duan, Bao Pham and Brian Lim, the three amazing people behind the non-profit called The Flavor Continues,  join Kimchi Chow in this episode to talk about their stories and what led them on a journey to start a grassroots, community-based non-profit organization that aims to celebrate the street dancing scene and with the very people who are actively creating that culture. Jane is a scientist, dancer and teacher who is now looking forward to being the Executive Director of TFC. Brian curates one of New England’s most highly anticipated events, “Entering ShaoLynn,” which he cites as the initial inspiration for creating TFC. Meanwhile, Bao is the Creative Director of TFC who has experience in participating in dance battles and sessions, as well as in event organizing in her local scene in Boston. Join in as they discuss the inextricable link between dance and the culture communities where it is created, the challenges of creating their identities as Asian-American dancers, their experiences in dancing and curating dance events, and many more.

Asian Hustlers: The Flavor Continues with Jane Duan, Brian Lim and Bao Pham

Kimchi: I’m glad that you are here with us. You will meet our guest panel and get to know them better. I believe you will find their stories fascinating and inspiring. If you haven’t done so, please subscribe to Asian Women of Power Podcast and Asian Women of Power YouTube channel. We believe that our messages and stories are worth sharing that you don’t feel that you are alone. This is my way of empowering you and the Asian community to speak up, stand up and show up powerfully and confidently. Let’s get started. Our guests are from the same organization called The Flavor Continues. Let’s start out with Bao. Tell us who you are, where you are from and what led you to do what you do.  

Bao: My name is Bao. I grew up in Portland, Oregon, I’m from the West Coast. My family is originally from Vietnam. I’m a first-generation Vietnamese American. I came to Boston for school. That was initially my end goal, to finish school and start my career that way. Eventually, I realized it wasn’t the career path that I wanted to follow through with. It led me to this nonprofit that I’m part of called The Flavor Continues. I get to work with two great people here. I get to work among great creative’s here in the Boston community. I enjoy the fact that I get to explore more creative side of things and I get to work with people that believe in the same mission that we do. It’s a great spot to be in, especially with the privilege I do have as my family immigrated here and we didn’t have these opportunities with a lot of people but they came before me. I’m grateful for that.

Kimchi: Thank you for sharing. Jane? 

Jane: My name is Jane. I was originally born in China and then we immigrated out of China when I was about six years old. We moved to Europe for a couple of years and then we moved to California, Virginia, and New Mexico. I eventually ended my undergraduate degree at UCSD in Neuroscience and Music in California. I moved out here for school the same as Bao. For me, my life path started in a street dance style that started when I was 21. When I was graduating from college, I realized that there’s this huge community that was outside of what I would normally experience within the classroom setting. When I found that, I fell in love with it and the freedom. I fell in love with how deep the culture was, how impactful dance was for you and myself as an individual. I felt like I grew a lot as a person throughout the journey. I traveled a lot to compete and to train. When I came to Boston, because of the love that I have for the culture, Brian and I met up and he was like, “I have this thing called The Flavor Continues. It’s a slogan, but I want to turn into something.” I was like, “That’ll be cool to turn it into nonprofit.” I was like, “I did a nonprofit when I was an undergrad. Why don’t we make it into a nonprofit?” That was how everything started, which is great. That’s everything I had to say.

Kimchi: Brian?  

Brian: My grandparents are Chinese. During World War II, they immigrated to Cambodia, which is where my parents are born. My parents are Cambodian refugees. They came to the USA in ’73 and I was born in 1990. I got involved with breaking, it’s a street dance style, when I was ten years old. It was prominent in the city I grew up in, which is Lynn, Massachusetts. I’ve been dancing ever since. I’ve never stopped all through grade school and college. After I graduated, working in corporate jobs, I was still dancing, traveling, competing, performing. I was one of the lucky ones that were able to make a name for myself through my dancing and leveling up in that, which is how I built the platform that we have. My slogan while I was building that platform was The Flavor Continues because there’s always something next. We finished this event, cool. That was the idea behind it. Doing whatever we do, met up with Jane. I had this idea, this platform, a lot of ideas, but it was a one-man show until she came along and we became a real nonprofit. Somewhere down the line, Bao came along and there were a lot of ideas that were on the shelf. Between Jane and I were a powerhouse of ideas. When Bao came along, that’s what made the ideas turn into something tangible and something able to be experienced. This is the team. The Flavor Continues.

Kimchi: You do have a complementary skillset and I’m glad to see that. I’m glad that Bao gets the group in order. You all three have a college degree. Brian shared that you were in a traditional career before. Do you all have at least a bachelor’s degree?  

Brian: I became an accountant.

Kimchi: From accounting to breakdancing? 

Brian: I always “breaked” since I was ten.

Kimchi: What about Jane? Are you a scientist? 

Jane: I’m on a premed medical track. I got my Master’s of Biological Sciences from Tufts University. I’ll be applying for medical school. That’s still my route. I have two different routes where one of them is the arts, dance, and everything. The other one is my medical route. The two of them intersect and work along with each other well because they both offer important values and lessons to be teaching each other. I’m on both routes.

Kimchi: How did your parents feel about your choice to become a dancer? This is the whole time for you, except Jane. She’s a half and half. She says, “I’m still in school.” Of course, everything will be on hold if she has a competition or something. How did your parents feel about it and how did you deal with their expectations? 

Bao: A lot of folks think that we are just dancers, but we do way more than that. We’re organizers, we’re creatives, and we’re educators. The list goes on and those skill sets are translated from our previous background and also our traditional learning settings. I have my degree in Public Health and Health Sciences, but that all translated into how I approach my artistic endeavors. Initially, my parents were not on board. I do have traditional parents who do expect you to fill out these roles are more secure, more financially stable. At the end of the day, at least from my experience, they do support me if it does make me happy and I am thriving in what I do. I know that not a lot of people get to say that, but it’s something that I was able to experience with my family and also with myself. Battling my struggles of pursuing something is not seen as normally stable or radical in some people’s viewpoints. Everyone’s experience is always going to be different, but we are more than just dancers. We do a lot more than that. We do bring a lot of great resources and a lot of great experiences to the general public as much as some other people in other fields do.

Kimchi: You are blessed, Bao, that your parents understand and allowed you to do that. 

Brian: Mine was a bit different since I started dancing young, I started dancing when I was ten. I was also blessed that I had two older brothers that dance also. One of them was about 1.5 years older than me. The other one’s about 4, maybe 5 years older than me. At first, they hated it. They thought it was the worst idea ever, which in some ways is true. I never let that stop me from dancing because that was what was mine. At the same time, I understood that I had also to fulfill their requirements because I’m living under their house and they’re financially supporting me at the time. That’s why I went to school. That’s why I went to college. Those were things that they deemed to be necessary. While I was still dependent on them, I had to fulfill that but letting go of dance was never an option. It’s also the upbringing. I was a bit of a rebellious child, so it was like, “I’m still going to get my school work done but I’m going to get it done after practice. You don’t want me to go to practice, you’re not going to give me a ride to practice. That’s fine. I’m going to walk.” I’ll save up my money to go to these competitions and such. When I started traveling out more, not just dancing in Massachusetts but even starting to travel and compete and perform elsewhere. As the timeline goes on, maybe when I started into my early to late teens, I came home and I made some money because I performed and I got paid to perform or I won this competition.

It slowly builds up. At first, what happens and as Asian parents, “You came home with $100.” They celebrate that, but that first time was always the beginning and then it builds up because you still dance and you’re still practicing, you are getting better in your dancing. You won one and maybe a few months you come back. I want another one. “I got booked to do another show.” All the while I’m still in school. I leave the house early in the morning with my big backpack with both all my books, my homework, and a change of clothes to practice in. I get back late at night and then I wake up early in the morning and do it again. They see the sacrifice that you put in so you could keep dancing. At the same time, you acknowledge that they have made a sacrifice for you to have the opportunities that we have here. It’s like, “We can play both sides of that. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.” At least up until that point. Later down the line, which I feel like I already crossed that line, you have to decide if it’s going to be one or the other, but that’s for later.

Kimchi: Jane?


The Flavor Continues: We don’t have to be stuck doing certain things for the rest of our lives. Explore different avenues of things that you’re interested in.

Jane: In my situation, my parents are still not supportive. I’m still combating that every day. My dad withheld his support and decided to completely financially not support me anymore in terms of what I’m doing. After the Master’s degree, I had a job for a little while and then after the temporary position that I had, I was unemployed for a certain period of time. From my parent’s point of view, they’re like, “If you have time to go and do all these art stuff, you have time to go on dance and everything through, why don’t you have time to go and study more? Why don’t you have time to go and pursue this medicine job or whatever?” For me, this is something that I’ve been dealing with since I was little and I’ve decided that this is a passion that I am not willing to give up because it’s dear to me. No matter how much someone else says, “I don’t believe in this vision that you have, I don’t believe in this capability that you have. I don’t believe that you can do this future. This is not the right path that you’re going down.”

For me, I feel like I know strong in my heart that this is something that I want to do. I know it’s going to help in the future. I know it’s going to help medicine and I know it’s going to be something that will be tangible, even if it doesn’t feel like it, but I pushed past all those obstacles. It’s hard. There are days where I feel like I can’t do it anymore or maybe I should give everything up and then do find support somewhere. There are days when I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing with my life, but having that compass and knowing that this is what you want to do, that helps.

Kimchi: While you’re traveling to that journey, one part, you want security and you want approval from your parents. On the other side, you want to follow your dreams, your purpose, and your passion. That’s what life is about. That’s what makes us human. That’s what makes us feel alive. I applaud you for doing that but that is your journey. You had to go through it. Don’t give up. Find a way to work it out to let your parents know that you still love them and all you want is to be happy and doing what you’re doing will bring you happiness. Eventually, they will hear it.  

Brian: That’s cool that you said that because I found that to be what happened to me. Our parents and what they’ve gone through coming to this country and starting a new family, we started a new life here. Their big thing is we push you to go into these particular fields, whether it’s the medical field or become an accountant or become a lawyer or a doctor, those prestigious high statuses in society. At least what they’re used to from where they came from, that those particular statuses bring a standard of living that brings you your happiness. For them to see me and do what I do when I go see them, I’m closest to my parents than I’ve ever been in my whole life. I haven’t touched accounting in five years. All my living comes for freelancing and from my art. That’s a gamble to take, especially with everything going on. For them to see that I’m making it work, I am resourceful, and I am building things up slowly but surely and things are going into the direction that I speak of it on. They see that I am genuinely happy with my life.

It turns out that they didn’t understand this path that I was taking before. At this point, I got to the destination you wanted me to get to. I didn’t take the path you wanted me to get. You wanted me to be happy and you wanted me to feel fulfilled and live with purpose. You thought I was going to get that being an accountant. I went all of that and you didn’t understand it but I’m at that same destination point that you wanted me to be at. I came here doing what I wanted to do. At the same time, you taught me better. That compass that guided me on my journey when I stepped away from the path you wanted me to be on, my parents molded that compass that I followed.

Kimchi: That’s great that you recognize that and it’s important to show respect to your parents still even though you disagree with them because that’s how we program it and how we have been programmed coming from another country. We come here for security. A young kid reminding them that we come here, we live in America, it’s for freedom. Freedom to each person is different. We follow our dreams and do what we love. That’s freedom. I’m a parent myself. I have two adult children and I don’t tell them what to do. I support them. If they tell me that they want to do something, I always ask them to think it through and help them to see things differently. At the end of the day, it’s their life, it’s their choice. Bao, you started out as a dancer?

Bao: I did.

Kimchi: Your role is behind the scene, behind the camera, technical support and you name it. You make this thing work, you make this organization work. Did you miss dancing and competing?

Bao: I still compete. I still dance. It’s not like I left it behind. I was able to increase my capacity of things I’m able to do and it’s even become more fulfilling for me. I like to believe I am a jack of all trades. I like to think that I can do everything and I will try to accomplish as much of it as I can. Truly my approach to things is multidisciplinary and I’m always a student. I’m willing to learn how to do something. I will always go back to my roots as a dancer. The things I’ve learned through dancing and the things I’ve learned through either going out to all these jams and events or competing or what have you. Those things I take into my approach when it comes to the nonprofit itself. Luckily, I get to be the creative director of the nonprofit, which allows me a lot of freedom in what I do. Having all that freedom comes with learning how to be intentional with your artwork, our messages and what we put out into the world. All of that has been driven by what I’ve learned through dancing.

Kimchi: If there’s a choice, let’s say, your organization grows big, you can afford somebody to do the background work. Would you prefer to be a dancer full-time joining Brian and Jane?  

Bao: I do everything full-time. I find a lot of joy in the work that I do the nitty-gritty work. Even if we do have the people power for it, I will still always enjoy it and I take a lot of pleasure in knowing that I was able to contribute a lot like the growth of the nonprofit and the growth of it in the future. If I were to do dancing full-time, I would love to do that. That would be amazing. Be able to have a source of income? Yes, but we have a lot of responsibility to the people.

Kimchi: Jane, in 2018, you were the Chapter Director of Everybody Dance Now! The intention of that organization is to uplift and educate youth in social and emotional learning. Share with us the benefit of dancing and how it would help with social and emotional learning in youth. 

Jane: Funny story, Everybody Dance Now! I’m not affiliated with them anymore. They’re still a great organization, but we decided to move the schools that we were operating in under our branch. Our nonprofit, The Flavor Continues, we have three different teachers in six different schools. I teach social-emotional learning through the artist street dance. SEL is Social-Emotional Learning. It divides into five different ways that you can think about it, which is self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, social management, and then relationship building skills. Dance comes in because it’s something as you are moving, as you’re finding out who you are physically, you also find out who you are emotionally. If you get frustrated with choreography, then that tells you can be aware of that and say, “Maybe I’m a little bit frustrated.” How do you go about managing it? You figure out how you manage it through, “Maybe practicing more for me, maybe I’ll be less frustrated or maybe I should work with other people and that’s how I become less frustrated.” For example, in Krump specifically, we teach Krump in a few schools. We have these things called sessions. What a session is it’s a group of people that all dances together and one person goes in at a time. You have a group of people and then one person dances and then that one person goes out, someone else goes in. In a session, the point of it is to uplift people, to respect people, to give them the space of freedom and expression.

That one person goes in, we can teach the aspects of respect.  What does it mean to show respect to somebody? What does it mean to allow them the space to express themselves fully? What does it mean to create a safe space so that people can express themselves without the feeling of being judged? You teach the kids, you can hype them up, you can yell at them like, “Yeah, let’s go.” Everyone gets into it and everybody loves it. The kids find out a way of, “This is what it feels like to be supported. This is how I can support other people. This is what it means to respect people, give them my time, have them share with us their time,” which is also important how do you take and how to receive it. Those are a few lessons that dance offers. Another cool thing about street dance in particular and why it’s important is because it came from these neighborhoods that these kids are in. We operate within the title one school. Within Roxbury and Dorchester in Boston, the average income over there is $35,000 a year. Usually, either at the poverty level, below the poverty line, you’re working with the Black, African-American, Latin community.

The thing is these dances came from there. When you tell the kids, “The dances that we’re teaching you, it came from your neighborhood. Your brother used to do this, your dad used to do this, your grandpa used to do this in the backyard.” It gives them a real sense of empowerment because they know that this is something that their culture has created and their culture has cultivated here. That gives them so much power and pride. That’s what’s important about street dance because when you take ballet and modern, all of that and jazz and everything, you go into these schools, they may take a lot out of it. They don’t necessarily get that heartfelt connection with the true culture and the true meaning of art.

Kimchi: That’s wonderful that you do that. You teach dance, not just one entertainment or a physical workout, but it’s also connecting them and honors the history where their parents come from and the dancing history, the art. That’s wonderful, Jane. Brian, tell us about Entering ShaoLynn and what’s your role in it?  

Brian: I’ve been a part of various already preestablished breaking events in Massachusetts. I got brought on board first as the master of ceremony. Through being a master of ceremony and they saw how a lot of people gravitate toward me and respected my values and my opinion, how I saw the whole game in general. All of that was built up through me as a competitor and me as a performer for more than a decade prior to that. Working with these different groups and being a consultant with them, it’s never your peer vision. It’s you collaborating with them and at the end of the day, they have the final word. It was cool. I was able to have the voice of the community be heard because my voice is the voice of the community. It’s not, “This is what I want to do and I’m going to do it.” This is what the community would like. This is what the community needs. These are the dynamics that have been going on in the community for X amount of years, or this is what’s going on. This is something that could address that. This is something that could be meaningful and impactful with everything that’s going on. That’s how I operate when I’m curating events. All of those events I was helping consult with were all collegiate events. I thought it was super important to have an event that is not collegiate at all. It’s grassroots. It’s completely by the community for the community. That’s what Entering ShaoLynn is.

As Asians we think of Shaolin, we think of Shaolin Kung Fu but I’m from Lynn, Massachusetts. ShaoLynn has almost three meanings to it. Hip hop has a love affair with Kung Fu and the old style in movies. If you listen to things like Wu-Tang Clan and such and they reference Long Island as Shaolin. Throughout a lot of their tracks in their discography, you can hear them shout one out of Shaolin. That’s where a lot of the people in the hip hop community got familiar with the terminology of Shaolin. Also, my grandparents do come from China. My last name is Lim, which if you write it in Chinese character is the same character you would write if you write Shaolin in Chinese as well.  Being that last names were a tribal thing. I have the blood of Shaolin in my veins. At the same time, I’m from Lynn, Massachusetts. It’s hip hop, my ancestry and also the city I’m born and raised in all in one. That’s what makes Entering ShaoLynn. It’s for the people and it’s strictly by people that come from within the community. It’s not an outside organization. It’s not an outside entity that’s come in. When I do these events, these are done for the people that saw me grow up in the scene. Instead of me being the little kid competing that they saw growing up and climbed the ranks and such, it’s me putting it on for them so that more people come and can enjoy and build together. It’s for that next person to come and climb up the ranks as well.

The Flavor Continues: Hip hop is not just the dance moves, the music, or the way to dress. It’s a whole culture.

It’s a peer vision without any outside entity or if there is an outside entity that comes in. Whether they want to be sponsorship or a vendor or work with us in any way, it’s well-known that we are the residents of this community. If you’re coming in, you’re a tourist and we’re not going to change anything here to appease to the tourists. We’re going to keep it focused on the people in the community here at home. The community is full of those that don’t come from prominent backgrounds and such. That’s why these street dance styles have flourished so much. This is a dance that was started by black people from impoverished places from New York. All different impoverished groups have added their own things to it afterward. This is what makes it powerful. My parents were refugees that moved into the country to affluent towns. That’s what makes me honoring my hometown and my ancestry and to do this for the community. That’s what gives it the impact that it has because it’s not an outsider coming in and trying to do something for you. It’s the people from the scenes see me grow up and they see me climb up the ranks and they see me changed my position from the competitive performance such to becoming maybe a master of ceremony. Turning it around and saying, “This isn’t my peer vision. I want to give you guys something different to giving them something different.” That’s what’s made it grow fast over the years.

We’re in the anticipation for what Entering Shaolynn is going to be for the next one is at an all-time high where we had to change venues because there were too many people coming in. We had to adjust the event because it was too many people. This whole time I thought it was going to be a nice little small local event. Entering ShaoLynn is the event that gave The Flavor Continues its platform, I believe. Entering ShaoLynn has been going on for years, but The Flavor Continues is less than a year old. The nonprofit has been reversed engineered. Most people when they start an organization get the business part of it all done and then they need to get it out to the masses they know about it. The masses already knew about us because of work like that over the years. It’s us reverse engineering and making sure the business side of things is all done and said. It’s getting the word out more to outside of our immediate street dance audience, such as The Asian Women of Power show.

Kimchi: Do Asians have a type of dance that Americans will recognize?  

Brian: To be honest, I don’t know. I don’t think so. There are a lot of traditional dances, but it’s not as dynamic as we’re used to. I could be wrong. Excuse me if I’ve spoken ignorantly and naively on that topic, but in Asian cultures, their form of movement has more been things like Kung Fu. If there are dances, I’m thinking of in Cambodia with the Apsara. It’s elegant. It’s almost transient. I don’t think there’s too much movement that corresponds with the American dance where it’s sporadic and it’s upbeat. It’s flashy, almost. It’s eye-catching. The dances in Asian cultures are a lot more contextual-based, whereas this is more of almost a ritualistic dance. These are dances that are done for these particular types of ceremonies, whereas for American dances, it’s expressive. This is what I’m feeling and here it is. It’s a lot more sporadic. I don’t think there are too many things in Asian culture that are too sporadic, to be honest. I could be speaking naively and ignorantly on that and I apologize for it.

Kimchi: Your observation is right on. I noticed that too because of the culture. We are conservative. Our dance is either using the hands’ gesture or maybe the eye and the head and upper part or the foot but not the whole body, not shaking the hip. Those are Hispanic people and breaking, the whole thing like African people. The type of dance that we invent or do is based on our culture and how we would think or how we express ourselves. Bao, what were your biggest challenges that you faced personally and professionally as an Asian-American dancer?

Bao: I feel like some of the challenges that I had to get through were deciding if this was the right path for me. I came here for school. That was my intention of coming to Boston. That was originally the plan that I had going forward with my life and deciding that it wasn’t going to fulfill me for the rest of my years. That’s a lot of internal turmoil. That’s deciding if I can leave all this behind and knowing that my parents did support me in this way. That’s feeling like it’s going to waste. A lot of people do feel like the upbringing that they had was to for you to get to a certain point in your life. If you don’t get there, you’re a failure. You’re not going to be able to have this life that you envisioned. When I was going through that transition with school and leaving that part of my life, closing that chapter was challenging in terms of coming to the point that I felt like there was closure. I’m ready to move forward doing the artistic thing full time. In a sense, it does feel like I became my true self, which ultimately is rewarding and something that every day I’m grateful for. It takes a lot to get here.

My parents are supportive of what I do, but that’s not to say that they weren’t upset at first. They didn’t see where I was going with this nonprofit or going on with my creative journey. It comes to a point where you have to say that you’re ready to take that leap of faith. Luckily, I’m able to do that, but there have been tons of challenges along the way. I don’t like to dwell on them for too long because I feel like I have to keep looking forward and there are new challenges to take on.

Kimchi: Every decade that you are staying alive and trying to survive, you’re trying to figure out what you are supposed to do? Is this your purpose? Some will have that question and thinking about it, “Is this my purpose of doing this?” Most people never think about it. I would say it’s like The Walking Dead or whatever. They are walking, but inside they are dead. They are not aware of what they’re doing. To have no more passion in mind. 

Brian: They accept it lying on the status quo. Do things as that is the way that things have been done.

Kimchi: I would recommend that you continue asking that question and the way that you can answer that question, “Is this what I’m supposed to do?” Your answer is, “Am I still happy doing this?” If you are happy and if you stay true to who you are, then that’s what you’re supposed to do. Sometime down the road your interest has changed, then move on to try new things.  

Bao: I also want to say that we don’t have to be stuck doing certain things for the rest of our lives. A lot of people are wary of change and they are hesitant to take on a new hobby or a new career path or whatever. If you don’t take these chances and you don’t take these leaps of faith, you’re going to end up where you are for a long time and that’s time wasted. If you have these opportunities, I would highly encourage you to take these chances. Explore different avenues of things that you’re interested in, even if you’re bad at them. What are you going to lose by trying it out? What are you going to lose by investing yourself in it? At least you get to say that you did it and maybe it’s fulfilling.

Kimchi: Jane?

Jane: Starting from when I was small, the first challenge I remember thinking is you have this idea of what an Asian American woman is supposed to be like. It’s supposed to be this person that is quiet and reserved. You shouldn’t speak up much. You don’t talk to authority. You don’t talk back to anyone. You dress feminine, you act feminine in some way, shape or form. Ever since I was little, I realized I was not that. I grew up being a tomboy. I grew up liking what is labeled as guy stuff than girl stuff. I grew up liking to dress and buy clothes and loose jeans as opposed to everyone else were wearing tank tops and short shorts. That trajectory continues going off the rest of my life whether it was fighting against the reserved dress code that the Asian American woman has. I was talking with one of my professors, what happened was we had this one project that was going on, I’m supposed to be doing a research project on Asian American mental health. It was a public health type of thing. I was doing my Master’s thesis on it and I went up to my advisor and I have gotten up to the point where I was speaking up a little bit but then I got afraid of that. I asked her, “Am I doing the right thing? I was a mentee. I don’t want to be stepping on your toes as a mentor and everything like that.” She was like, “You do realize that if you’re a white man, you wouldn’t even be asking that question?” I was like, “How fascinating.”

That was when I realized at least for me, the fact that I was put in this bubble, I subconsciously started to adopt that bubble. I didn’t speak up to authority. I was hesitant about raising my hand in class. I was scared to talk with my professors. I was afraid of being able to interact with adults because I didn’t know how to do so. It was through dance and it was through the power and the confidence that dance gave me and being involved in the street scene when I started thinking to myself, “I do have a voice. Maybe it’s okay if I speak my voice. Maybe it’s okay if I talk about how I feel or express how I feel.” There’s a group of people that’s willing to listen and take my words. It’s okay to disagree with other people and adults and it’s okay to talk back to your professors because that’s how new ideas are generated. For a long time, it was a big challenge for me knowing that it’s okay to speak out loud and it’s okay to disagree. If I’m honest, it’s still a challenge. I find myself sometimes hesitating or feeling like I don’t want to be too disagreeable with somebody or feeling like, “I don’t have the right or the voice or I don’t have a place to say what I want to say.” That’s a common constant reminder that I would give myself like, “No, if I am given a place on this earth and if I am placed in a position that I am, then I deserve to say what I want to say.”

Kimchi: Brian, what was the biggest challenge that you have faced personally or professionally as an Asian American dancer? 

Brian: The identity crisis. Especially, being the first generation born in the USA that I’m growing up in a household where inside the house, this is Chinese culture, this is Cambodian culture. I go to school and this is American culture. To be honest, the way growing up, I hated the household and I hated school. This is Chinese school, this Cambodian culture. I hate all of that. Everything is an obligation. Everything’s pushed on you. There’s no choice of your own whatsoever. You go to school, it feels the same way. You have to do this, everything is rules. Traditional Asian households are strict already to begin with. I stumble across something like hip hop and breaking and you learn about that. That’s black culture. The dance form also, and when you go to these events, it’s a lot of black people. There are a lot of Latino people. To be Asian at that time when I came into that scene was to be a minority in that dance space. It was that identity crisis where I feel more at home with that crowd. If there was a room full of Chinese people, Cambodian people, Americans and a room full of people that love hip hop, I want to be in the room with people that love hip hop because that’s the room where I feel at home. That’s the room that I resonate with. There’s that identity crisis where it’s like, “Maybe you can’t speak your native tongue as well or maybe you’re not knowledgeable on the traditions.”

“You’re not Asian enough and maybe you get that from your elders, your grandmother, your aunts or something, especially at the big family gatherings.” Where someone was like, “I’m not Asian enough or something.” You go to school and you’re treated a bit like an alien with all the white kids. You go to these dance spaces. You’re learning how to dance but black culture and Latino culture got dance in their culture. They’ve got music all the time since they’re young. I didn’t grow up in a household with music. I started listening to music only when I started dancing. For me, it wasn’t even learning. At first, when you see breaking, you want to learn the moves, it’s cool, but then it’s not just the moves, there’s music to it and it’s not background music. It’s done to the music because music is the mother of dance. You learn the cultural context of it. At the same time, looking back at it, I believe every gift is also a curse. That was my curse with the identity crisis and then to dig deeper into it and ask yourself those questions like you were talking about. To not be afraid to give yourself the hard truth of those answers to those questions. I feel like that’s become my greatest strength where I’m sure of my identity. Growing up even a lot of times in society, they want you to be one or the other. You got to either be right or left or you got to be this or that.

The Flavor Continues: It’s one thing to create something and put it out into the world. It’s another to do it proudly and unapologetically.

They try to throw you into all these labels. That’s the beauty of the generation that we’re in, where it’s like, “That’s not the case.” We’re creatives. I’ve created this new space. I’ve created my space in that space. I’ve proven my worth here time and time again and shoot, “You’re new to this space. I’ve been in this space longer than you.” Like, “I remember when you first came in here.” It’s a long journey. I think about that identity crisis early on, but learning so much on all sides because I’ve done my fair share yet to learn a lot and study Chinese culture and the Chinese system. I’ve done my fair share to learn Cambodian culture and Cambodian history in American culture and American history. I also did the same thing learning hip hop culture and hip hop history because to me it’s learning culture. Growing up in America was like, “This is what our culture is, this is Chinese culture and this is Cambodian culture.” When you find hip hop, it’s not just the dance moves, the music, the way to dress, it’s a whole culture. The only difference is hip hop culture is global and it’s not bound by a geographic border like Chinese culture, Cambodian culture and American culture would be. That’s why it’s time where hip hop culture is such a dominant, thriving force in the world makes something like our mission powerful.

Kimchi: I understand the identity crisis and I experienced it as well and that’s what led me to do what I do. I’m a coach. I focus more on working with Asian American men and women, mostly women. Asian American women, 1st and 2nd generation, to help them speak up, show up, and stand up powerfully and confidently, to let them know who they are and to let them know that they don’t have to choose one or the other. They are Asian American. They are not Asian and they’re not American. Like what you recognize, you don’t have to choose. You integrate those cultures in your life so that you feel comfortable. You feel that you are at home no matter where you are at. Adaptation is the number one key in here. Wherever we live, we need to adapt. Otherwise, we’re going to die. 

Brian: I would always say like, “I’m not a one-way street. I’m a traffic circle.” You’ve got all those different streets coming into that center. Some people want you to be a one-way street whereas I’m a traffic circle.

Kimchi: What do you know that you wish you knew before? Let’s start with Bao. 

Bao: I wish I knew that we could create unapologetically. I feel like it’s one thing to create and put it out into the world. It’s another thing to do it proudly. To do it confidently, to do it for the sake of art, for the sake of our culture, for the sake of hip hop. To put these things out there and know that they’re meant to take up this space. Before, I was hesitant in my work. I was critical of everything that I did because I didn’t know if it would live up to certain expectations. I didn’t know if this is worth people looking at it, if it’s worth people understanding what I did and why I did it? Now I create things for the sake of creating, curating spaces, organizing events, doing whatever else that I do. I do it because I know that this is what I meant to do and then I do it unapologetically. I’m proud to be able to do that with our great team because we get to have that freedom to work alongside the community. We get to work with students, with the youth, and with our elders, getting that knowledge from them and are able to be a bridge to take up the generations. We are in a special spot with our work. To do so, it’s a privilege, but I wish I knew I was able to do that a long time ago because I don’t know where my art would be. I wish I knew that a little bit sooner.

Kimchi: Jane? 

Jane: Life is unpredictable. Your truth will change every day and everything will be okay at the end of the day. Even if you go through lows and highs, they’re all going to be temporary. You don’t know when the next journey is going to take you. You don’t know where it’s going to take you. You don’t know when it’s going to start. As long as you continue to live the truth that you are on that day, everything works out.

Kimchi: Brian?

Brian: The importance of believing in yourself, especially growing up Asian American, more often if you’re pursuing something outside of the status quo of what your elders and your parents and your family have placed upon you. You can have a lot of doubt about what you do or if not even doubt what you do, the long-term possibilities of what you do. Whereas like, “I was still in school, but I was still going out to compete every weekend.” In my head, I’m thinking, “When I’m done with school, this is all said and done because I’m going to go on. I’m going to get a big boy job.” I didn’t believe at that time that this was something that would extend far beyond when I became a real adult. If I was able to go back and I do this a lot when I teach younger students as well is to get them to believe in themselves. Get them to honor what makes them special and whatever it is. Everybody has something special to them. I’ll always tell like whatever gets you a gold medal is not going to get me a gold medal. Your gold is different than my gold. You should focus on whatever special thing it is that’s going to get you whatever gold medal it is that you’re going to get. Whatever gold medal that I’m going to get is different. Whatever gold medal is Jane’s going to get is different. Whatever gold medal Bao’s going to get is different. Find whatever that unique thing it is that gets you your gold medal and go in that direction.

Maybe you don’t know what’s going to come out of it, but you’re not supposed to. You never have all the answers until you get your test back, but you have to stick with it until you get your test back. If there’s anything I learned in school, because you did bad on a test, don’t mean it’s over. To believe in yourself, especially as a dancer too, you can see self-doubt in your movement. You can see low self-esteem in your movement. You could have a small, simple movement done with the utmost confidence and it’ll be way more impactful than such a dynamic, difficult movement done with insecurity. In dance, we say it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. It’s simple, to believe in yourself. It sounds like something corny you heard on a Disney Channel movie, believe in yourself. Those things are true. Be in the moment. Follow your passion. Those are the corny things we hear in the movies until you get to a certain age where you can understand the importance of it. Those aren’t things you can teach. Those are only things that you can share by leading by example, which is why the mission that we’re on is important because we lead by example.

Kimchi: You’re talking about the body gesture, body movement that when you look at somebody who dances, you can tell whether this person is confident or not?

Brian: That’s why I know and know Jane talked about social-emotional learning. It all connects together. Dancing when people first see it and when I first got involved in it, and maybe Jane and Bao can speak for themselves on this one.  I got into it because it was flashy with the entertainment purposes of it. On my journey when I started studying the culture and the context of the dance and what it was and what it stood for, that’s when you get into the social-emotional learning parts of it, that’s when you get into the deep end of things. It parallels learning about Asian culture. You can invite somebody outside of the culture into a New Year celebration and this is what the culture is. What’s the context of all this? Why is it that we have these mooncakes? Why is it that it’s supposed to be good luck to eat fish and noodles? Why is it that we have the incense, pray to the ancestors, have the feast before them, and we don’t touch the food until a certain amount of time afterward? Why is it that we do those things? To understand those practices and contexts, I took that same approach when learning about Asian culture.

I learned about it through hip hop culture first. After I learned about it in hip hop culture, I took that same mental approach and I applied it to then learn about my Asian culture. For me, I learned that principle from hip hop first, not from Asian culture, but that’s why it’s powerful to pull it all together. I believe through dancing and rarely being a person in your craft, you learn everything you need to learn to be successful at whatever it is you want to do because you learn discipline. You learn persistence and reflection and you have to give those harsh truths to yourself. Otherwise, you’re not going to grow as a dancer and then take that parallel out into your everyday life. The world is yours.

Kimchi: What’s your personal motto, Bao?

Bao: My motto is to create and destroy and do it again with what you learned. I take this approach and all the things I do. You have to keep creating. You have to keep putting your things out there. That’s what we’re meant to do as creatives. We’re meant to put art into this world and we’re meant to put our whole selves into what we do. I don’t believe in holding onto something that is not going to be impactful for yourself and your growth. I don’t think that I’m a hoarder when it comes to my art either. I like to put my artwork out there, but there are things that I like, things I don’t like. I’ll take what I like and I’ll apply it again to something different. That’s how I’ve been able to grow in the crafts that I’ve been invested in. It’s also something I’ve been applying to normal life too with the transition of coming from a heavily medical background to the art world. I was able to understand that like, “This doesn’t serve my purpose anymore and that’s okay.” I’m able to move on to something else because I took what I learned from that and applied it to something else that I’m more passionate about than deep into. That’s how I like to approach a lot of the things I do in my life.

Kimchi: Jane?  

Jane: My motto is to stay naive, stay foolish, and the reason why I say that is because I feel through naivete is how you find new ways of doing things. Too many times there are these ways and these paths that are, “Set out for us.” I don’t think they’re necessarily the way. When I was an undergrad bringing an event back to what it used to be, we had 800 members and we’re trying to get this event to be back up to the 3,000 number of people. Everyone that was telling me like, “There’s no way you’re going to hold an internship, do your classes, and also do this coordinating at the same time.” When I tried it and when I tried all these options that everyone was saying, “You can’t do that or you’re not going to be able to do that or this is going to be a dead-end,” that was what led me to success. It was important to follow your instincts. It’s important to constantly explore new paths even when other people are saying, “This isn’t a good idea.” If you know in your heart it is a good idea, you should follow that idea. That’s something that I always look by. One of my dreams in the future is to have a hospital. Imagine you have a hospital and then next to the hospital is the community center. The patient first goes in and they see this community center that’s filled with people dancing or people do art. Let’s say you’re a diabetic patient and you’re like, “I can exercise with other people that are like me. I can get active with other people who also have diabetes.”

You first meet a psychologist and then you see an art therapist discover which one would be better or might be more right for you. You eventually go and see your doctor after that. It’s such wholesome care that this individual receives that’s more holistic as opposed to the traditional ways of medicine where you go in and get your physical examination seen. You neglect the spiritual, mental, and emotional side of it. That’s one of the things I want to do. I’ve heard people that are like, “I don’t know that’s a great idea.” There are a lot of people that think about it. For me, that’s something that I want to pursue and that’s something for me that I will continuously want to pursue. Holding onto the phrase like, “Stay naive, stay foolish, continue to do what you want against the grains.” That’s how you get new ideas out and that’s how you explore all these things that the world has for you.

Kimchi: I support those ideas, Jane. That’s creative and empowering. This holistic because people stuck in the hospital, they need to work out, they need to move their bodies. Not just bodies but emotional and spiritual as well. How do we do that? By dancing, by doing some breaking. Maybe they already started. There was some community, maybe not in the United States, but in another country where they have retirement homes next to daycare homes so that children can come and play with elderly people who are retired. These are two extreme generations. They need each other. The retired generation can teach the young ones something and a young one brings youth, naive and things like that. They said a human touch comes to full circle. I will support that. If there’s such thing as that and they’re asking for investment in it, I probably would invest in that idea as well. I need to reserve a place for me in the next few years. Brian, what’s your motto?  


The Flavor Continues: You could have a small, very simple movement done with utmost confidence and it will be way more impactful than a dynamic, difficult movement done with insecurity.

Brian: The funny thing is my motto is The Flavor Continues. That’s how we got the name for the nonprofit. That was something I was saying for years before we became an actual nonprofit. There was always something coming up. There was always something next. There are a couple of different layers to the meaning of The Flavor Continues as well. I’m a big hip hop fan and there’s an artist who passed away by the name of Nipsey Hussle and he had a slogan, “The Marathon Continues.” What the marathon stood for was doing what’s best for the long-term. You could run a marathon and you could be the first place for the first few miles, but can you keep it up for all 26? The importance of pacing yourself and not rushing into things and finishing the mission. It’s also a play off of his, “The Marathon Continues.” Also as dancers, we always talk about flavor. What’s your flavor? We brought it up earlier like, “You need to touch the things. What’s your Midas touch to it? What gets you your gold?” As dances, we call that Our Flavor. Also, if you think about it from a culinary perspective where we could all be in the same kitchen with the same ingredients.

We could all chefs up something completely different depending on everybody. The way that you cook has their particular flavor to things. We could all make the same dish and we could make it all with different flavors. Maybe I want to use a bit more of this ingredient and not use those ingredients at all. You might choose to use those ingredients in your dish. It’s that curating process. When you take all those things, the traffic circle of all those things coming together, that to me is what The Flavor Continues stands for.

Kimchi: To be honest with you, when I first heard The Flavor Continues, automatically I was like, “They must be related to food. They must own some food packaging company or food processing company or something.” It’s interesting and unique. What is your proudest moment to date, Jane? 

Jane: I feel like for me it’s not one single moment that I have. It’s probably the little moments that I have where I have breakthroughs or little moments where I would be stuck in the mindset and then find out a different way of doing something or being able to like expand out of my boundaries. It varies from day-to-day. Some days it’s waking up and doing something. Some days it’s like, “Cleaning my room.” Some days it’s like, “We landed a grant.” Other days it’s like, “I’m doing a presentation for my Master’s thesis.” Whether it’ll be big or small, it varies. I don’t think I have one single moment that I can pinpoint to be my proudest.

Kimchi: Brian?

Brian: I’m a bit on the same lines as Jane. Maybe that’s the way we’re hardwired, which is why we’re teammates. There is no proudest moment and maybe that comes from my history of competing where for some people it’s like, “My proudest moment is I won this.” It’s like, “Next year, that event’s happening again. What if you don’t win it?” Are you unworthy? Are you unvalidated? I try not to let those things like that validate me in terms of my worth and my experience. More so, you take all those moments that maybe you’re proud of. Maybe those things that other people use to validate you and you use those things as your stepping stone. I don’t like to put any of those things on a pedestal. Instead, those are things that once you achieve it, it’s okay. That’s a step. I’m on top of that step and I’m not even thinking about those things. I’m looking at the steps up ahead because I’m going to keep aiming high.

Kimchi: Bao? 

Bao: I realize I don’t have moments I’m particularly proud of. The way my brain operates is that you are supposed to do this. We’re already meant to do this and it’s like, “I want to celebrate this moment.” Not that I put myself into that narrative saying that, “I am proud of this.” These are great moments that we do celebrate, hold space for, and recognize, but I don’t feel like I have to put myself into that narrative.

Kimchi: I realized that the proudest moment, as we go through life, there’s this moment that we are proud at that time, but that moment keeps changing. Tomorrow I might be proud of something. I am making progress. I’m proud of that too. 

Brian: It’s also asking three creative people that question for us to be like, “I’m proud of this.” Holding onto that strongly will be what gets you stuck in a status quo, what gets you stuck in that dogma. We as a team thrive much on not being held back by any of that, not being handcuffed to anything in almost any way, whether it’s in the creative professional or even I have an accounting degree. I’m not handcuffed by that either. Whereas some people are like, “You’re not using your degree.” A degree is a ticket of opportunity, not a handcuff to a profession. Keep pushing as creatives to find somehow a way to make it all come full circle, which all three of us have been on this team as a nonprofit.

Kimchi: Why did you create this organization as a nonprofit instead of a for-profit? 

Brian: I hustle for my people. I don’t hustle my people. Maybe this is particular to the street dance event space where I see a lot of people speak on the narrative that they do things for the community. Maybe they’ve got the same type of narrative as us, but then when you show up to those spaces that they put together, it feels more exploited than anything. It’s like, “Are you for the people or are you here to exploit us for your own selfish whatever it is?” For me, it was being fed up and tired of that. I’m not one to complain, so I did something about it instead. We curate something where we don’t also the people. We’re hustling for the people. That’s why we have that type of support in the platform that we do have. You can’t lie about this. I’ve been in the scene for years. It’s like, “My reputation with the community started when we did the nonprofit.” No, my reputation and the branding with the scene started when I stepped in at 10, 11 years old and how I conducted myself throughout in between and who I chose to associate myself with. We have this platform and this organization and what we choose to do and how we choose to do it.

Jane: We wanted to give a space where we can have people from outside of the community be able to contribute to people who are within our community. We didn’t want to make a living off of it. We didn’t want to make any money off of this. What we did want to do is be able to spread certain messages around. For example, what hip hop is, what street dancing is. Why is it important for education? Why is it important for other people outside the community to understand it? We wanted to put light on those missions and values to these events that we’re holding to show the true power of hip hop and the street dance scene behind all of that. We wanted to show all of this to everyone. Whether we got profit or nonprofit, most of the time, we don’t make anything off it. That was our mission and that was our heart and that was our goal is to be able to do this for the community. To take profit and value to care about the value system, at least for me, it didn’t feel like it fit a purpose into our goals or it wasn’t a goal that we had. It was never about how much money we can make off an event. It was never about how much profit we can get out of something. It was always about how much we can give.

Brian: Also, if my focus were to make money, I would’ve stayed an accountant.

Kimchi: I know that’s the reason that people start a nonprofit because they have the heart to serve the community. Somehow, someway, you would need to think about how to make money for that nonprofit organization. How to raise money so that you can survive? If you don’t have food to eat and things like that, how would you survive? How would the organization survive?  

Brian: There are various business models to go to addressing that where it doesn’t have to be charging the attendees of those events who are members of our dance communities some premium rate. You could get that through sponsorship, you get that through endorsements, you could get that through consultation with these institutions and organizations because these dances are in those spaces. I consult with Boston University, Harvard University, Tufts University, and Boston College. I’ve done work with the US Department of State. I’ve done work with the Boston Celtics. I’ve done work with these high-caliber institutions and organizations. When I work with them, that to me, I’ll use those opportunities with them to give maybe those full premium rates. If I’m doing an event for the dance community for the people that are of the same community I’m from, my main objective is not to charge them premium rates. The work I do for them is cultural. The work I do for those other institutions and businesses are transactional. They want a piece of our culture, but these people that are in our culture, were here to celebrate our culture together. Those other outside institutions aren’t here to celebrate our culture with us. They want a piece of the pie. It’s also empowering for our communities to work and to have our business model in that frame. When we say it’s for the people, this is for the people.

Kimchi: If people want to follow your footsteps, they want to become a dancer or they will become the curator for the event and things like that, what are the three things that you would suggest to them to do or begin? Let’s start with Bao. 

Bao: To echo what they were saying, we are doing it for the people that we have these relationships within our community. The first thing I would always recommend to people is to show up and show out for your people. Support your local grassroots communities and their events. Show them that you do care. If you don’t know who you’re servicing and who you’re doing all of this for, what’s the point of your work? I’ve been going to events and supporting my home community back in Portland. Being able to do that here and having that be a transplant here in Boston, it doesn’t feel any different. I still want to show up to my community and see what they’re doing and support their mission and their goals. The second thing is to question everything. If you’re going to approach something, if you’re going to do what we do here as creatives you have to question everything like, “Why does this happen? Why are you doing this a certain way? Why do we do this in our community? Why is this important?”

To get that knowledge, that understanding, and that context is vital to thriving in these different types of cultural communities. You can’t come in and do whatever you want it. You can, but you’re not going to get far. I would say get that knowledge, question, everything, and we have the resources to provide to you if you do want to learn from us, from the culture. Maybe the last thing is more on the creating side is to do it. If you have time to contemplate, you have time to think about it, you have time to do it, try it out, follow your gut, and follow your instincts. I’ve been doing that my whole life and doing okay. Those are my three things.

The Flavor Continues: It’s good to take inspirations from other people, but to create your own path, you have to know who you are and what you want to do.

Kimchi: Jane?  

Jane: For me, number one, search for things that inspire you and that doesn’t necessarily mean anything that’s within the field. For example, if you’re a dancer, it might be a poem that inspires you. If you are a poet, it might be the way some scientist breaks down the molecules and science. There are a lot of different ways and there are a lot of different types of inspiration out there, but there will be things that resonate with you. It’s important to find out for yourself whom things resonate and for you to go about your craft in that way. My number two advice is never to follow anyone’s path and always create your own. It was good to take inspiration from people. It’s good to take quotes. It’s good to take things that they have done, learn from other people’s mistakes, bits and pieces. In terms of curating what you want to do for yourself, you have to know who you are and you have to know what you want to do. Through those things, you’re creating your path. That’s essentially the way that you go where you want to go.

Kimchi: Brian, the three things you would suggest others to do or to begin if they want to follow your footsteps?  

Brian: I say the first thing would be to dance-wise make it your mission to become as skilled as possible in whatever form it is you practice. I say that because there are things you learn in the craftsmanship of being an artist, whether you’re a dancer or whatever dance style it is. Maybe you’re a visual painter or maybe you like to knit, whatever it is. Whatever art form you practice, strive to achieve the highest skill level that you can, because that journey that you take in that art form, you’re going to learn many things. Not just learn things within that art form, but you’re going to learn about yourself and you’re going to learn some real timeless, classic principles that are going to apply to many other areas of your life. We see it all the time. Maybe it’s only cool when a famous athlete endorses it rather than coming from a dancer like me or something. If you look across the board, those are things that parallel. Kobe Bryant calls it Mamba Mentality and we celebrate that. If you were to meet somebody who started and that they have that same mentality, you don’t quite celebrate it because they’re only a few years in and they haven’t achieved that high caliber of skill yet. Their principle and their mind frame are already on that path. That’s the first one. Attain the higher skill level you can in whatever art form of craft it is that you practice.

Number two, learn to articulate. As creatives, we could have some of the craziest ideas ever, but if you can’t articulate it, how are you going to share that idea? How are you going to share that gold, especially if there’s somebody from outside of your realm of things? If we’re speaking amongst dances, maybe we can use a particular vocabulary that they all understand. Now that we’re talking to you, Kimchi, how can we articulate our ideas so that you can understand it because you don’t come from the dance space that we’re in? Try to get you to understand where we’re coming from and where we want to take it not just the importance of sharing your ideas, but whatever journey I’m on and whatever journey you’re on, somewhere along maybe there’s an intersection of those two roads. We’re at that intersection. That’s why we’re here. Your journey might have nothing to do with dancing. Our journey might have nothing to do with whatever yours is, but there’s an intersection point. At that intersection point, we can collaborate and we can build something beautiful. After this, we would go about our journeys. Who knows? Maybe our journeys cross again. To articulate and to be able to express your vision, that’s important as dances because we have that from a physical perspective. We have the, “It’d be crazy if I did this and I do this.” Instead of articulation, which is more of a mental approach, we think of it as execution, the physical approach of our dance and about our movement.

Skill level, articulation, as a creative, as somebody that’s paving new ways, as somebody that’s not stuck in the status quo, as somebody that’s not trapped by dogma not to be afraid to be misunderstood. If you’re paving a new way, you are going to be misunderstood. Not everyone’s going to understand and that’s okay. If you know your purpose and you’d know the direction that you’re going into, even if you can’t see far ahead but you’re in line with your purpose, you’re going to be misunderstood. You have to have faith in yourself and to keep going in that way. At the end of it all, everyone else is going to catch that late bus to you.

Kimchi: That part I liked, so I’m going to use the word leader. You don’t want to use entrepreneur, you don’t want to use the word, visionary, or whatever. I would say the leader because you lead your own path. Any path requires a leader, somebody who walked first. I would say as a leader, it’s okay to be misunderstood. If you are afraid of people to misunderstand you, then you would not try to do things that people might not understand yet. It’s required for them to catch up to what you’re thinking. I like that. 

Brian: I don’t like the word leader either.

Kimchi: What’s the word that you prefer? 

Brian: I’m a Millennial man. I don’t like those words thrown at me.

Kimchi: Trailblazer, I’m going to use that word too. 

Brian: I want to be that little kid that came onto the scene.

Kimchi: It’s time to have some fun. Bao is going to share with us some work that the team, The Flavor Continues, has been working on or has produced. 

Bao: I want to share a video that I put together from an event that all of us had our hands in. It’s not our event per se, but we did have Brian as the master of ceremony and he’s always also helping consult them on how to present this event to the public, into our community. We had Jane who was also a battle contestant who made it to the finals, which is crazy. I was on the media side of things. Helping produce this visual so that people understand what goes on at these events. It is called Overdrive, which is the event that happens annually. It’s put on by students at Boston University. A portion of the event during the day is focused on the freestyle side of things. It’s a competition. People come and compete. The show is more geared towards the choreography side. They put on the showcase. People can enjoy that aspect of it as well, but I’ll go ahead and share that with you all.

Bao: I am on the backend of this project. I spent a lot of the day getting these great moments of people enjoying their time there. That’s how I approach a lot of my projects. I’m intentional with what I put out. For this particular project, I wanted to showcase how much people enjoy being in these spaces together. You can tell it’s a generational thing too. You have all the kids up at the front, you have a lot of people who have been in the scene for a long time. That’s being passed on to them. We do a little bit of everything and we’re multifaceted people here on the team. That showcases a lot through what we do for the community.

Brian: I also want to add that this event for us was the beginning of what we had planned going into 2020, but due to COVID-19 and the Coronavirus scares, we had four other events of this caliber planned out and ready to go. Between those four that we had outside of the one that you saw, all had to be canceled or postponed because of COVID-19 or the Coronavirus. We put in a lot of work to get these things off the ground and they were all ready to go. Sometimes you’ve got to stay humble or life humbles you.

Kimchi: That’s what we can do. Most of us stay at home and we have to rethink or we rest. It’s time to recuperate or learn new skills. How can people reach out to you either individually or as a group? 

Bao: We are active on our Facebook and Instagram, both @TheFlavorContinues. We’re also on LinkedIn. We also have a Patreon page as well. There are lots of ways for people to support us whether it’s through sharing our content or donating financially if they’re able to and they have the capacity to do so. Even reaching out to us if they have questions about what we do. That way we can create those connections like we are doing with you and we get to be part of this. Anyone can find this through, @TheFlavorContinues.

Kimchi: We hope that you enjoyed this. Please share with friends, family members and also on social media. Use the #AsianWomenOfPower. Until next time, live, life, loud. Thank you. 

Links Mentioned:

Episode Quotes

"I felt in love with freedom."
"When you dance, you will find out who you are physically and who you are emotionally."
"Every gift is also a curse."
"Honor what makes you special."
"Never follow anyone's path; create your own."
"As a trail blazer, be okay to be misunderstood."

About Jane Duan

Starting her dance journey in San Diego at the age of 20, Jane was originally involved in choreography before dedicating her time to various street and club dance forms. She was the previous co-founder of FUSION Dance competition as well as an organizer of numerous events. A dancer and teacher, she believes in the importance of culture within the art form, seeking to uphold history and knowledge within the practice. She looks forward to being the Executive Director at TFC, collaborating with others through education, science, technology, art, and leadership, with her number one priority being to serve the community. Jane received her Master’s in Medical Biological Sciences, Bachelors of Arts in Music Performance and Neuroscience & Physiology.

About Bao Pham

Raised in Portland (OR), Bao transitioned to the Boston area in 2018 after receiving her Bachelors in Public Health. Her dance experience stems from her homegrown freestyle community, with branches in hip-hop, house, and break culture. Moving beyond participation in battles and sessions, Bao shifted to event organizing in her local scene with the ADAPT team.

A firm believer in serving the community through different avenues, her interdisciplinary approach was influenced by the collaborative efforts of those within and beyond her hometown. Moving forward as the Creative Director of The Flavor Continues, she also aspires to produce elevated visual experiences, reflecting the values and intentions of the non-profit, the collaborations, and the community.

About Brian Lim

Beginning at age 11, Brian Pistols’ breaking journey has led him to become a multi-faceted resource in the Massachusetts breaking community; competing, performing, organizing, hosting, judging, or teaching. In between the dancing, he graduated from Suffolk University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Business Management. Brian curates one of New England’s most highly anticipated events “Entering ShaoLynn”. His motto “the flavor continues” has now manifested into the moniker of the nonprofit before you today. Currently, he serves as the Administrative Director, bringing this passion project to life.

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