Authenticity. Community. Legacy.

Meet Three Asian American Artists Breaking Barriers This AAPI Heritage Month

May 2024

APPI Heritage MonthAPPI Heritage Month

In honor of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Levi’s® is spotlighting three artists who are creating their own legacies in music, Hollywood, and sports. While their Asian American identities are a common thread, what unites these creatives are their commitments to authenticity, supporting their community, and being a beacon of light for others following in their footsteps.

In celebration, Levi’s® collaborated with each artist to create a commemorative patch honoring their unique identities and inspirations, dropping this AAPI Heritage Month.


thủy is a Vietnamese American singer and songwriter who is breaking cultural and musical barriers with every step she takes. She is known for her blend of soulful R&B and Pop vocals, which have catapulted the artist to a new wave of stardom. This year, she’s made history as the first Vietnamese American solo artist to play at Coachella. Although pursuing a career in music has always been a dream, it’s not one she thought could be a reality. It all began with a belief in herself.


Don’t be afraid to be loud, be authentic, be raw, be vulnerable, and it will get you very far.

The singer grew up in the Bay area, among a melting pot of ethnicities. Music was always spilling out of her childhood home, frequently filled with large family gatherings and karaoke nights. A young thủy would stand in front of her aunts and uncles and belt out beloved songs by Britney Spears. She was always met with applause and cheers, but being an artist was simply a pipe dream in her mind. “I never told them this was what I really wanted to do, and it was something I was just hiding inside.” 

As many children of immigrant Asian families in America, there are dreams that are their parents, and then, there are the dreams that their children have. thủy was on the path to pursue a career in medicine, but things soon shifted after graduating from UC Santa Barbara and she moved back in with her parents. By chance, she got in touch with a friend who had access to a studio, and would soon change her life forever. “I made my first song and I realized that this was exactly what I wanted to do, and I could just feel all my dreams that I’ve had as a little girl come back to life.” thủy’s song, “Hands on Me” won her local radio station, 106.1 KMEL’s Home Turf competition and soon, thủy’s notoriety began to grow.

Meeting thủy, she possesses an infectious energy, one of joy, optimism and confidence. It’s hard to believe she described herself as “shy” growing up. However, over the years, thủy fortified her mental toughness, especially when she was a wrestler in high school. While thủy experienced seeds of doubt in pursuit of her dreams, she continues to push forward. “I know I’m going to figure out a way if I continue to put one foot forward every single day.” For anyone feeling this way, she has wise words, “Don’t be afraid to be loud, be authentic, be raw, be vulnerable, and it will get you very far.”

Thuy Story Continued

A lot of thủy’s pride stems from her parents and her culture. “At the end of the day, I want to be an amazing artist, but I will also not ignore the fact that I’m proud of my heritage, and who I am and where I come from.” The strength and resilience her parents possessed in their sacrifices to provide her with a better life are of immense pride. However, the duality of two desires—one to be a great artist and two, to represent the Vietnamese American community can both be true and very difficult. “My biggest challenge is to continue pushing the culture forward while also just simply being an artist and existing.”

In reflecting on the past and looking ahead to the future, “I’m starting to recognize that my heritage and my culture are things that make me different and because of that, I’m proud of who I am.” thủy hopes to be the representation so many young people need in their life—who have felt seeds of doubt and isolation like herself. “Hopefully my story inspires them to love those parts of them that make them different and unique.”

In honor of AAPI month, thủy would like to leave you with this message, “Be yourself. Be authentic. Don’t be afraid to shine bright and don’t dim your light for others.”


Spirituality and mindfulness are core tenets of Raveena’s essence. Upon listening to her music, her voice instantly permeates a room, and nurtures your soul. Raveena’s songs are beautiful and tender, influenced by notes of R&B, Jazz, and Bollywood. Her unique musical blend is what sets her apart from her peers. The album, Asha’s Awakening, her first, is centered around a space princess named “Asha” and transports you to a world of dance and pop to meditative moments as you dive deeper in the album. 

Raveena Artist Intro

While it can take a lot of time for people to understand the art and cultures of marginalized communities, there is so much space and abundance for it to be understood and appreciated over time.

Raveena is an Indian Punjabi American artist who grew up in Queens, NY with immigrant parents, and a love for music that only continued to grow as she did. “I remember one of my most formative experiences was going to the Apollo as a kid, and just being there as an 11-year-old and being in awe of all the people who stood on that stage like Billie Holiday.”

As a young girl, Raveena participated in musical theater, but reality soon set in. “I thought that’s what I would do, but there weren’t really roles for little Indian girls.” Instead, Raveena began to focus on music. Then it all clicked. “It felt so authentic to me and connected to all the influences I had growing up” such as Miles Davis’ India album and artists like The Beatles and Alice Coltrane who each explored Indian influences in their music too. It’s this unique intersection of R&B, Jazz, and Bollywood that Raveena is bringing to the surface in a magical fashion.

While it’s been six years since Raveena debuted as a professional singer-songwriter, the journey has not always been easy. “The biggest challenge has been the dissonance between how women of color are viewed in society.” It is a reality that so many women of color face each and every day. The weight of Raveena’s success and representation for her community is not lost on her. “I definitely felt a responsibility in a heavier way.” After releasing Asha’s Awakening, “I realized this is a collective experience and a collective hurdle that we have to overcome. And it’s never on one person to do the work. It’s all on each other.”

Raveena Story Continued

Raveena stresses the importance to not let doubt infiltrate your mind. She encourages the AAPI community to “be steadfast and know that while it can take a lot of time for people to understand the art and cultures of marginalized communities, there is so much space and abundance for it to be understood and appreciated over time. It’s a long game of education and also the hard work of preservation.”

Her mental strength and tenacity is owed to her focus on mindfulness. Raveena follows a structured regimen each morning dedicated to meditation, yoga, and self care. “My mom and grandma both shaped my heritage through spirituality.” They would meditate for hours and often shared natural ways of healing, homeopathic and Ayurvedic remedies. “It’s a big part of their life and the way all of us live.”

Growing up, the sense of ease Raveena felt meditating is not lost on her. “How can I access this so young?” Her mother had beautiful words to share. “It’s not you at this age… It’s the combination of your whole lineage building up all the energy for you to tap into. It’s something so much bigger than you. Every person in your family has built upon that and sent that energy out into the universe. They have built this huge reserve for you to tap into.” Ultimately, “It’s just transformed my life.”

Nico Hiraga

Nico Hiraga is a bright light in the skating community and a rising actor and model. You might recognize Nico from his breakout roles in Moxie and Booksmart or on the cover of Thrasher magazine. He grew up in San Francisco surrounded by a lot of family support— seven cousins on his mom’s side and seven cousins on his dad’s —among which he is the youngest. His cousins played an integral part in his upbringing, both in skating and acting. “My cousins got me my first board when I was younger and they were better than me.”

Breaking news— it didn’t last long before Nico learned his craft and landed his first skate sponsorship. The skate community embraced him wholeheartedly and skating is when he feels freest, in all moments of life. “Do it when I’m sad, do it when I’m angry, do it when I’m stoked on life…any situation, I do it just because that’s the community that I’m closest to and the people that accepted me when I was young.”

Artist Nico AAPI Heritage Month

My pops always told me this phrase in Japanese called Nanakorobi Yaoki, and that means basically fall down seven times, stand up eight.

After a foot injury left him unable to skate temporarily, his cousins encouraged him to try acting. It was a bit serendipitous. “I just thought of it as another side hustle, and lucky enough it bounced into something bigger.” Nico soon after landed a breakout role in the Olivia Wilde directed hit, Booksmart. Ironically the actor doesn’t credit himself as traditionally booksmart, rather street smart.” When I was in middle school, I learned the stereotype that Asian people are hella smart, book smart. That wasn’t the case too much for your boy.” Nico describes himself as “city smart” and good at math, but traditional academia was not his forte. As he got older, he learned to move past the stereotype to embrace his strengths, rather than his differences. Nico credits his parents in large part for shaping the man he is today. They instilled in him a sense of positivity, support, and perseverance, even amidst hardship and challenges. “My pops always told me this phrase in Japanese called Nanakorobi Yaoki, and that means basically fall down seven times, stand up eight.” His parents have encouraged him to keep his head held high and forward. “Any chance I’m given to be loud and proud about who I am, and my race, and what I stand for, I’m going all out for it.”

In the future, Nico hopes to be a positive light for his community in every arena of his life, whether it’s the skateboarding community or the Asian community in Hollywood. After all, Nico reminds us that, “AAPI month is every month, year round, 24/7. It’s every day.”

Nico Story Continued

Custom Patches

Visit your local Levi’s® store on May 17th to receive complimentary patches inspired by the trailblazing stories of thủy, Raveena, and Nico in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month.