“Who is your role model?”

Such a simple question can be difficult for many Asian and Pacific Islander (API) youths to answer. American mainstream media has been extremely limiting for APIs who face under-representation and unfair portrayals.

Since it’s founding ten years ago, Kollaboration, a popular, national API talent competition and movement, has been setting the stage for many talented API’s. Many well-known and up-and-coming musical artists are involved with Kollaboration, including the Far Eat Movement – who is enjoying top status on the Billboard charts, Youtube singer David Choi, and former Kollaboration winner and singer Clara Chung, who recently performed at the White House. These young participants of Kollaboration have dedicated themselves to challenge stereotypes in hopes of inspiring other young APIs and encourage role models to emerge. Now this wave of empowering movement has reached Seattle.

As Kollaboration’s first show in Seattle and also its final bow of the 2010 season, the anticipation level is intensely high for this one-of-a-kind event. Eight finalists will give their all, competing for the $1000 grand prize.

“It’s pretty nerve-wrecking to be one of the first to perform on the stage of Kollaboration Seattle,” said Jesse Oh from The Melancholics, one of Kollaboration Seattle’s contestants. “It’s not even about winning or losing anymore, we just appreciate the support and encouragement we get from Kollaboration to pursue our passion for music.”

Empowering the young API generation is what inspired P.K. Paul Kim to start the Kollaboration Movement in 2000. Taking root in Los Angeles, Kollaboration is now a non-profit organization featured in 10 major U.S cities as a talent competition show where API youths showcase what they’re passionate about.

“Kollaboration provides an avenue for young API’s to perform on stage,” Aaron Chang, the Public Relations manager for Kollaboration said. “Our slogan is empowerment through entertainment, let the young API’s be empowered by what they see.”

The Kollaboration movement has moved the hearts of many young APIs and is already developing a legacy in its cause.

Adds Tammy Ho, the keyboardist of The Melancholics, “We will always be part of the Kollaboration generation to continue to empower the Asian American community.”

“Don’t underestimate the Kollaboration, and don’t underestimate yourself!” exclaims Oh.

Be a part of the movement! Join the  Kollaboration talent competition on  Saturday, Oct. 23 at the Auburn Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m.. For more information please visit:www.kollaborationseattle.org.