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Contestants compete for Big Asian on Campus title for Asian Pacific American Heritage Week, Curtis Lee announced judge's fav Credit: Jennu Hu , Jennu Hu

From rapping to spoken word to male stripping, a variety of talents took the stage Friday night at the annual Big Asian on Campus contest.

College sophomore Curtis Lee won the hearts of the judges Friday night with his talents of singing, playing guitar, rapping and dancing to become Mr. Big Asian on Campus.

College and Wharton sophomore Peixin Mo joined him as Ms. Big Asian on Campus and the winner of the audience vote with her rendition of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” dance.

The event, which took place in the Hall of Flags, is part of the 20th Asian Pacific American Heritage Week. Other APAHW events included a visit by actor Kal Penn, a 5K run/walk and a charity gala. Eight different student groups participated by sending a nominee from their group to perform.

Lee, who represented Penn Taiwanese Society, sang Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning” while playing guitar, broke out into rap and — last but not least — danced a hip-hop routine with a small group of friends.

Growing up, Lee watched many YouTube videos of creative musical artists, who inspired his performance. He has also played the guitar since middle school.

“I just decided to put a lot of my musical interests together into one performance, and I felt like it really encompassed who I am and what I love to do,” Lee said.

Judge Peter Van Do, the director for Pan-Asian American Community House, praised Lee for going above and beyond in his performance to display not one, but multiple talents.

“You represented the Asian-American community very well and played to win,” Van Do said. “I have to say that you were an overachiever.”

Mo won the audience vote, supported by a large crowd of her fellow Sigma Psi Zeta sisters, including four sisters who came out on stage to dance with her.

“I had a great time doing it, and it’s a lot of fun to see everyone out for the night,” Mo said. As a member of Penn Yalla, a bellydance troupe, Mo said she was grateful for an opportunity to dance another style on stage.

Asian-interest sorority alpha Kappa Delta Phi, whose representative won Ms. Big Asian on Campus last year, sent College sophomore Manna Fujiu as its nominee this year. One of two performers to sing Adele, she performed a cover of “Make You Feel My Love.” She also played guitar, which she began playing two and a half years ago. “I’ve never performed before in front of a large group of people,” Fujiu said. “I thought it would be a good experience.”

College senior Mak Hussain, who represented the Muslim Students Association, performed an original spoken-word piece about emotions, bringing a serious tone to the event and earning many snaps from the crowd.

While MSA is a religious organization, rather than an Asian cultural one, Hussain said he felt it was a valuable opportunity to participate.

“Being a representative came from the perspective of understanding and supporting other minorities and the importance of different minority groups to come together, celebrate and support diversity and identity,” Hussain said.

Wharton junior Kenji Tulman surprised the crowd as the last performer with an interpretive “Magic Mike”-esque group dance as the nominee from Japan Students Association. While Penn Hawaii did not formally enter in the competition, Tulman also represented the group during the event.

Mo reflected on the night, noting that while the event is a lot of fun, it was also “an opportunity to symbolize the Asian culture and the Asian community here at Penn and the talents of the Asian community.”

“I definitely think there is an element of some seriousness to the competition in the opportunity to represent the community at large,” she said.

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