Census Bureau reaching Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders through music


HONOLULU (WLNS) – A music video is hoping to encourage Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) to participate in the 2020 Census.

As of 2010, approximately 1.2 million people identified as NHPI, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Over half live in just two states, Hawaii and California. Significant populations also live in Washington, Texas, Florida, Utah, New York and other states.

The collaborative video was shot in Honolulu, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and New York City.

“We chose locations with iconic scenery from some of the biggest cities in America,” said John Aeto, founder of the Kālaimoku Group, a Native Hawaiian-owned marketing agency that is part of Team Y&R, the communications agency hired by the U.S. Census Bureau to manage outreach for the 2020 Census.

The video features award-winning Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander musicians performing a cover of “This is Me” from the acclaimed film, The Greatest Showman.

It includes artists from Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, and the Marshall Islands such as Amy Hanaiali’i Gillom, Lehua Kalima, Kalenakū, Raiatea Helm, Natalie Ai Kamauʻu, Mark Keali‘i Ho‘omalu (Kumu Hula) and Teheiara Pimental as well as Jericho Seumanu, Samoan Community Development Center Choir, Lea Love, Tiana Liufau and Jerome and Tinifu Grey. Representing Tonga is Voka Mataele, Jordis Unga, Nancy Fifita (Fancy Nancy) and Ta‘u Pupu‘a and from the Marshall Islands is Dillon & Darren Bien.

“This is Me” was the winner of Best Original Song at the 75th Golden Globes Awards in 2018 and a nominee for Best Original Song at the 2018 Academy Awards. It was chosen for the video because it was originally sung by Keala Settle, a Hawaiian-born actress of Māori descent, said Aeto.

“We are especially excited as this is the first time we’ve engaged a Hawaiian-owned marketing agency to help inform our communications efforts with the NHPI community,” said Julie Lam, director of the Census Bureau’s Los Angeles Regional Office.

To date, the video has had more than 1 million views on Facebook, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

As part of this effort, Hawaiian Airlines will show the music video on all trans-Pacific flights, including every flight to Hawaii and to New Zealand and other Pacific Islands.

“We wanted to show that there are footholds of Pacific Islanders all over the nation where our people are thriving while continuing to be rooted in their cultural identities,” said Aeto.

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