On May 1, actor, activist and gay icon George Takei will deliver a talk that spans his LGBTQ advocacy, his journey as a legend in the science fiction world, and his family’s forced internment as Japanese-Americans during World War II.
The event will take place at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and will be moderated by producer and composer Jay Kuo.
Takei has developed a massive online following in recent years for his outspoken opinions about queer issues and his commitment to social justice across intersections of identity. In fact, his internet stardom didn’t actually develop until the actor was well into his 70s.
The Huffington Post chatted with Kuo last week about the upcoming BAM event and what we can expect to hear from “Uncle George” throughout the evening.
HuffPost: Why is it so important the we elevate stories like Takei’s at this tumultuous political moment?
Jay Kuo: As George likes to say, in order to not repeat the mistakes of the past, we have to understand it, to learn about it. George provides a very personal and compelling window to the past because he lived through a time when many of the same things were being said, many of the same actions were being directed at, a different group of people. He hears echoes of that past in the rhetoric of today, and because of that, he feels duty-bound to speak out.
What do you hope will result from this conversation?
George Takei has been through a lot of ups and downs in his life, having grown up in an internment camp during World War II, having lived the life of a closeted actor, and then finding and being very open and public about who he is in more recent years. His rise to Internet Stardom beginning in his 70s is certainly an unexpected turn of events for him, but it also highlights why he remains supremely optimistic, even when things look dire. Hearing George talk about his many varied experiences is a remarkable thing. He doesn’t hold back about some of his own life disappointments, particularly around the issue of coming out. Those who attend will certainly feel they got to know him a lot better.
What do you want people to take away from this event?
There’s a reason folks call him “Uncle George.” There isn’t much that George isn’t ready to speak his mind on, and he isn’t burdened by political correctness or having to consider his career, since his celebrity came from his honest and authentic approach on social media. There’s something unique about hearing that signature baritone, as well, and his infectious laugh. I think folks will come away from the event wishing they had another few hours with him, because he’s seen and been through so much, and delivers stories in such a mesmerizing way.
Takei’s talk at BAM will take place on May 1, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. Head here for more information.