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Jimmie Awards Mark Dispelling of Race Stereotypes

The Assn. of Asian-Pacific American Artists handed out its fifth annual Media Awards at the Beverly Hilton on Monday night, honoring film and television producers, playwrights and a veteran talent agent for working to dispel racial stereotypes.

The Jimmie awards, as they are called, are named for the late Academy Award-winning cinematographer James Wong Howe.

Yue-Sai Kan, Chinese-born producer and host of two magazine-style television series, “One World” and “Looking East,” seen on UHF and cable stations in this country and on Chinese television, won the group’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Other winners included the film “The Moderns” for its casting of an Asian-American, John Lone, in a starring role “neither conceived as nor written for a person of color.”

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“Coming Into Passion--Song for a Sansei,” written by Jude Narita, took the best-play honor.

“I learned a lot from this play,” Narita said. “I learned that people respond to what comes from your heart and I learned that the time for accepting identities that are demeaning and dismissible caricatures of whole nationalities . . . that that time is over.”

David Henry Hwang won a playwright award for his body of work. Last year, he won a Tony award for his Broadway play “M Butterfly,” becoming the first Asian-American to win a Tony.

Playwright Kan Gotanda also was honored for his body of work, which includes “The Wash” and “Yankee Dawg You Die.”

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“Who Killed Vincent Chin?"--co-produced by Christine Choy and Renee Tajima--was judged the best documentary. It chronicled the events surrounding the baseball-bat bludgeoning of a young Chinese-American in Detroit by auto factory workers who mistook him for a Japanese.

“Murphy’s Law” was honored as best television series and was cited as the first network series to co-star an Asian-American, Maggie Han, and “utilize the performer in a non-stereotypical manner.”

Talent agent Bessie Loo won the Pioneer Award for starting a talent agency that specializes in Asian-American artists.

The two-hour awards show, hosted by television commentator Mario Machado, will be televised in Mandarin on KSCI, Channel 18, on April 23 at 7:30 p.m., and then in English on KLCS, Channel 58, on May 2 at 9 p.m.


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