Since starting his beatboxing career in 2007, Terry Im, known by his stage name, KRNFX (pronounced “Korean FX”), has garnered over 630,000 YouTube subscribers, performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and was a finalist on “Canada’s Got Talent” in 2012. Now, the Korean Canadian beatboxer can add performing at Binghamton University’s Asian Student Union’s (ASU) Asian Night to that list.
While KRNFX was the guest performer of the night, the driving force of the event was the plethora of student performers representing different branches of the ASU. Eleven different ethnic student groups put their talents on display throughout the night, each performing under the theme of the contemporary slant that many student groups put on their art form.
“Speaking from our theme this year, which is ‘Spotlight,’ we are highlighting the lack of Asian representation in mainstream media,” said Jeffrey Wong, an event coordinator for ASU and a sophomore majoring in computer engineering. “We really just wanted to showcase what our Asian students have to offer and just how talented they are.”
The night started with the Philippine-American League (PAL) executing a traditional Filipino folk dance known as Tinikling. The dance involves the tapping of bamboo sticks, but the group put a modern twist on its routine by performing two hip-hop songs: YG’s “Big Bank” and 21 Savage, Offset and Metro Boomin’s “Ric Flair Drip.”
“I wasn’t very familiar with almost all of the acts heading into the night, and I was somewhat skeptical if I would be able to connect with the performances,” said Matt Havekotte, an undeclared sophomore who attended the event. “Hearing familiar songs throughout the night really kept me engaged.”
Furthering the message of the night, the Asian Outlook organization presented a spoken word piece on famous Asian and Asian American figures in media such as Jeremy Lin and Dumbfoundead. These two Asian celebrities have broken barriers in their respective fields of basketball and rap, and the performers relayed their essence powerfully to the crowd.
In between each performance were short, pre-recorded skits that went along the theme of “Spotlight,” which outlined the life of a young aspiring Asian actor. The shortcomings he goes through work as reminders throughout the exciting night of the purpose behind the entirety of the event and of the ASU as a whole, which is that popular media needs more Asian representation.
The final act of the opening acts before KRNFX came on was KASA MODA (Korean American Student Association Modern Dance), who hit the stage with a fluid, versatile dance performance. Dancing erratically to hard hitting hip-hop, such as Gawvi’s “Slingshot,” eventually transcended into slow-paced partner dancing that mesmerized the crowd.
To conclude the night, Im lit up the theater with a performance that displayed his impeccable beatboxing technique. Being able to replicate instruments ranging from violin to kazoo to drums allowed the beatboxer to riff with ease. KRNFX then inserted singing into his routine, as he performed Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” while simultaneously maintaining his beat.
The audience was loud and raucous to show its support for the Korean Canadian artist, as his finale did not disappoint. KRNFX began to record individual portions of a track and layer them on top of one another, eventually proving to be “Starboy” by The Weeknd. This elaborate and layered composition exhibited Im’s wide range of skills all at once, perfectly wrapping up the night.
Asian Night was not all about the entertainment, but about the appreciation of Asian culture, which was evident in all of the performances on Saturday night.