This year, the Asian American and Pacific Islander community is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit — a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity. What better way to honor the start of the new year than with a rap? That is what AARP is doing.
Called “That Lunar Cheer,” the video features the “Original Grandmoms” of the Grant Avenue Follies, a San Francisco-based performance troupe comprised of Chinese American women, and Los Angeles-based hip-hop artist Jason chu.
Chu is known for his high-energy performances which often address hope and healing. As an Asian American kid in suburban Delaware, he found a vocabulary for racial identity and liberation in rap music and hip-hop culture. Starting out freestyling with friends at school, he began recording and performing music in college.
Cynthia Yee, founder of Grant Avenue Follies, expressed her excitement about being part of this project. “As a former professional dancer in San Francisco’s Chinatown nightclub culture in the 1960s, it is exciting that the Follies and I can still share our performances with both older and younger generations,” said Yee. Watch below:
AARP created a set for the music video that included holiday foods and decorations, such as dumplings, red envelopes, and red and gold lanterns. Rapper Jason Chu added his special touch by writing lyrics that embody the culture and courageous spirit of the AAPI community.
With firm roots in Black American culture, AARP acknowledges its founders and innovators—especially as hip hop celebrates its 50th year—who have blazed a path for all cultures and generations to appreciate and participate in the rap art form.
“AARP’s collaboration with the Grant Avenue Follies and Jason Chu exemplify a powerful example of multigenerational unification that the Asian American and Pacific Islander community can emulate to continue building together,” stated Daphne Kwok, vice president of diversity, equity & inclusion, Asian American & Pacific Islander audience strategy at AARP. “The Follies personify AARP’s work of empowering people to choose how they live as they age, and as we celebrate the Lunar New Year, we hope to continue helping people navigate life transitions.”