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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is a celebration of the rich culture, contributions, and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans in the United States. This month of celebration originated from Jeanie Jew who brought forth the idea to a congressional representative in the 1970s. Since the first documented arrival of Filipinos in California in 1587, Asian Americans have helped build and shape what the western world is today.

We’d like to take this time to showcase one of the most influential Asian Americans we know of in the media industry.

Benny Luo

Founder & CEO - NextShark

Founder - New Media Rockstars

Founder - The Other Asians

Co-Producer - The May Lee Show

Nextshark is the biggest online publication targeting the Asian Youth community dedicated to bringing a niche perspective on Asian American culture through captivating news stories. It has brought Benny Luo many recognitions, the biggest of which - winning
Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2018.

We here at PubGenius are honored to be working with you Benny, we take great pride in being your dedicated ad partner. And congratulations on becoming a new father!

Can you share with us your journey of being
an Asian American?

The AAPI diaspora is made up of a diverse number of people who come from many different backgrounds. As an Asian American who was born and raised in San Francisco to parents immigrated here from Mainland China in the 1980, both my family and I faced racism and discrimination growing up.

I still remember certain microaggressions starting as early as elementary school, where kids would make fun of my lunch, or a time in middle school at a movie theater where an elderly man called me “F***king Chinamen” as I was walking past him, to a time in High School where I was walking home from school and a car pulled up full of upperclassmen who called me racial slurs while throwing garbage at me.

But overall, despite many challenges or communities continue to face, I’m proud to be Asian American. There are many incredible AAPIs both past and present who have made great contributions to this country, and I’m happy to follow in their footsteps through our work at NextShark.

What does Asian Pacific American Heritage Month mean to you?

AAPIHM to me is a time to celebrate our rich history filled with diverse cultures and backgrounds. It's a time to acknowledge our ancestors who've made sacrifices to come to this country in search of a better life for them and their descendents. Most importantly, it's a time for us to honor the heroes before us who've paved the way to fight for our belonging, and the allies whose work have helped propel our movement forward.

What is your perspective on what is currently going on in the Asian American community here in America?

It’s no secret that hate crimes targeting AAPIs have skyrocketed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last year, the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center has recorded over nearly 3,800 hate incidents. While the general feelings of people in our community are not positive at the current moment, I find solace in seeing the incredible groups and individuals who have stepped up during these tumultuous times to help

#StopAsianHate

Whether it’s front-line workers putting their lives on the line to provide valuable services, to young people holding #StopAsianHate rallies in their local communities, to the influencers using their large platforms to spread the word and inspire people to contribute to the cause, I’m grateful to see that we are bringing ourselves closer together.

What were the early days of NextShark like?
And what are some future goals for NextShark?

The early days of NextShark were indeed extremely challenging as we are a bootstrapped startup working with limited resources. While things are challenging still to this day, I’m grateful for the incredible team we’ve built over and millions of supporters we’ve garnered over the years. We don’t have any specific future goals, but we hope to continue to be a trusted source for people in our community.

And what’s next for you Benny?

I’m just going to continue doing what I’m doing to support my team and take care of my family :)

Most important question, do you prefer baked or fried chicken?

C’mon! Is that really a question!? Fried chicken!