88Rising: Reshaping Popular Culture
by: David Sun
Earlier this month, as BTS stormed the United States charts with their best-selling album Love Yourself: 結 ‘Answer’ and Crazy Rich Asians became the highest grossing film in America for a while, the creative work of traditionally unseen minority voices became the most popular media that Americans were consuming. As the new order of respect for Asian Americans in popular culture becomes more prominent, the distinct moment of holistic ubiquity also includes a multimedia/management enterprise that Sean Miyashiro had planned to take over the world all along: 88Rising.
In 2015, Miyashiro started the label as CXSHXNLY to pursue a movement to put on Asian Americans in popular culture. To Forbes, Miyashiro stated, “There are four billion Asian people. There are two billion millennials between 16-34. They’ve been waiting for a media brand that speaks to their taste but also celebrates and communicates that to people outside of Asia. We want to not just cover culture, but we want to create it. We want to create big moments.”
Through 88Rising, Brian Imanuel (aka Rich Brian) quickly elevated himself from a novel reputation to an artistic sensation, opening up for an entire class of aspiring artists of East Asian descent. Following him are six other contemporary artists making their way into Western spaces that previously were devoid of such cross-cultural pollination.
Not only is the group bringing Asian artists to America, however, but also American artists out to Asia. They serve as a link between two contrasting sides of the globe that rarely simultaneously connect, with relationships based on organic mutual interest and shared instincts rather that market strategy. Rather than assimilate to an existing framework, 88Rising instead has included their likeness in the definitional edges of artistry in music.
As 88Rising broadcasts native Asian culture for the rest of the world, Miyashiro’s efforts now exist as part of a continuum of multimedia shifts: the moment that Asian culture in America finally felt like simply culture.