Character Media to ‘Illuminate’ API Visionaries With 20th Unforgettable Gala

This winter, “the biggest API party of the year” is set to be an unforgettable night of API pride, celebration and recognition.

The star-studded event proudly ranks as the nation’s largest and longest-running Asian Pacific Islander awards show, marking 20 years of celebrating API excellence and representation in the entertainment industry. Themed “Illuminate,” the 20th annual Unforgettable Gala, presented by Lexus and produced by Character Media, will take place on Saturday, Dec. 17 at The Beverly Hilton. Also known as UNFO, the event was founded in 2002 by James Ryu to celebrate diversity and successes within the API community, along with respective API influencers and leaders. 

“The Unforgettable Gala began shining a light on the API community 20 years ago, at a time when there was relatively little awareness and less opportunity,” says Daniel Dae Kim, who serves as chair of the 2022 UNFO Selection Committee. “Today, we’re fortunate enough to celebrate how far we’ve come as we honor both the API icons who helped pave the way, as well as the next generation of talent proudly taking us into the future.”

Journalist and host Lisa Ling was also announced as the first-ever UNFO Selection Committee co-chair. “In the over 30 years that I’ve worked in the media, I have seen the number of APIs grow quite exponentially,” says Ling. “Being represented on screens, on stage, in sports, and in business in greater numbers has been a long time coming. Especially during a time when many in our community have felt under attack, seeing APIs in all aspects of popular culture enshrines our sense of belonging.”

The annual ceremony will also feature a performance by world-renowned hip-hop icon of the Black Eyed Peas. “I’m honored to perform at the 20th anniversary of the gala, and especially excited to highlight Filipino culture,” says “It’s very cool to have this announcement made during Filipino American History Month, too. And I’ll be bringing on some special friends to mark this momentous occasion.”

This year’s event was made possible thanks to the generosity of presenting sponsor Lexus. Additional sponsors include Panda Restaurant Group, J&K Gouw Foundation, Pechanga Resort Casino, and Le Mieux. You can watch highlights from past galas on the Character Media YouTube channel.