Apr 21, 2023
On April 18, Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (IDEI) hosted the first AAPI Heritage Month Lecture at Georgia Tech featuring Steven Lim, CEO of Watcher Entertainment and former executive producer at Buzzfeed who created the viral food show “Worth It.”
“Given the growth in the Asian American community at Tech, we think it’s important to emphasize and increase understanding of the complexities of the cultural dimensions of Asian Americans, and we want to be part of unveiling these complexities to our campus community,” said Dr. Archie Ervin, Vice President of IDEI, as he reflected on the tragic massacre that happened two years ago in Atlanta. “This event is a result of showing Georgia Tech how important its Asian community is on campus, which is something we should all be genuinely proud of,” commented Sun Graham, president of the Asian American Student Association (AASA).
Growing up as “the Asian kid” in school, Steven struggled with finding his own identity because of the lack of Asian representation. Following in his parents’ footsteps, he became an engineer after college only to find out that it was not his passion. With support from his mother, Steven left his job and decided to tell his own stories as an Asian American like the YouTubers he admired, by doing what he has enjoyed since childhood – creating videos. After years of fruitless endeavor, a viral video he uploaded caught the attention of several media companies, including Buzzfeed, who approached him with a position as a producer.
When he pitched “Worth It,” it was not favored and he was told to replace himself as the host with two other more popular talents at the time. But he “trusted his gut” and created the most-viewed video in Buzzfeed’s history.
“I had a very clear vision of what I wanted to do, even though people told me to replace myself and that it wasn’t a good idea… Your intuition will grow as you get older, and you will feel and see things that don’t seem right,” said Steven as he recalled his experience making the show.
When asked about his opinions on the future Asian representation in media, he said, “All that happens to the present day is a collection of the groundwork that has been set for many years… For a long time, we had to support everything [Asian] because it was our moment. Knowing where we are today, I feel hopeful that there are so many opportunities [for Asian American talents], and the best thing we can do as consumers is to support them by putting the dollars behind it, watching the content, and using social media to encourage these studios to make more".
For more AAPI Heritage Month events, follow AASA on Instagram @gtaasa. Click here to view photos of this event.