Asian Diaspora Coalition, Solarity Organizers Co- Host Asian Night Market x Solarity RADIANCE


Abe Frat

Asian Diaspora Coalition and Solarity are collaborating to put on Asian Night Market x Solarity RADIANCE.

Solarity and the Asian Diaspora Coalition will combine for Asian Night Market x Solarity RADIANCE tonight. The leaders of both organizations hope that the event will chart a new course of outreach for each event.

“I feel like we’re definitely being a little bit insane,” College fourth-year and ADC Public Outreach board member Anokha Venugopal said. “With how we’ve been planning it, there [are] so many moving parts.”

Those moving parts can partly be attributed to the ways RADIANCE is unique from prior ANMs. The venue, Heisman Club Field House, is larger than previous locations and, on top of the typical vendors and the addition of Solarity performances, RADIANCE will introduce a temporary gallery space showcasing the work of Asian student artists.

This is the first time ANM has been a collaboration between organizers of distinct events, and the practice is off to a strong start with RADIANCE poised to host two headlining artists. The first headliner, Red Baraat, is a band playing “a merging of hard driving North Indian bhangra with elements of hip-hop, jazz, and raw punk energy,” according to its label. The second headliner, TiaCorine, is a rapper of Japanese heritage.

“We were really intentional about wanting at least one Asian artist headliner — and we got two,” Venugopal said.

If the pair of artists seems to be opposites, it’s not just you. College fourth-year and chair of the Asian Diaspora Coalition Zack Lee said that the two headliners were intentionally chosen to be as different as possible.

“[Solarity] … definitely used to have this stereotype for being just not an inclusive space for everyone,” College fourth-year and Solarity co-chair Tali Braun said. “I think there were lots of complaints even in the years prior about people moshing too hard and not really being respectful of the space and also just being kind of more of a white space or more of an athlete space,” “And I think hopefully by collaborating with more organizations, we can show that Solarity isn’t just for certain people.”

The choice of headliners also reflects a bid for diversified narratives within AAPI spaces on campus.

“We’ve been thinking a lot more about trying to decentralize East Asians in this sort of space and trying to find more diversity amongst all of the Asian cultures and traditions that we can represent,” Lee said. “Night market is not just for Asian students, but it is a way of highlighting our culture and our lives and the things that we love to do. That includes singing and dancing and making food and making art and making crafts and spending time together and all of those things which can all happen in this one place.”

The theme of RADIANCE was chosen in part to reflect the vast cultural palette represented in the event’s offerings.

“I think light is an integral part of a lot of cultures, especially Asian cultures,” Venugopal said. “RADIANCE felt like a good encapsulation of that.”

RADIANCE is also a fitting name in the sense that the event is a light at the end of the semester’s tunnel.

“Solarity has just always been a really good time in my experience, and just especially as being the last day of the semester, I think [it] would be a really great opportunity for people to let loose and have fun,” Braun said. “I hope that people are able to have a positive experience and association with Solarity moving forward.”

One of the goals for the leaders of ANM and Solarity was to create a space to celebrate all the work of several cultural organizations on campus.

“I’ve noticed in my time here at Oberlin that some students can feel uncomfortable showing up to cultural events that they do not personally identify with,” Braun said. “At least for ADC, sometimes the events can be purposefully all Asian-identifying people, but sometimes we also want to include other people. Also just encouraging that people show up and out for cultural orgs and then events that they hold, support them financially or in terms of attendance, and in general just raise awareness that they exist on campus and that we want people to be participate.”

Proceeds from the event will be split between Marigold Seeds Collective, a collective for LGBTQ+ South Asians and Indo-Caribbeans; Red Canary Song, a collective for Asian and migrant sex workers; and ASIA, Inc., a health and human services agency for Ohio Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.