Sept. 15th, 2022; The International Free Expression Project and Point Park University Center for Media Innovation presented "Bad Activist," a multimedia performance by exiled Vietnamese pop star/dissident Mai Khoi.
Mai Khoi learned to play piano on a cardboard box and rose to pop stardom in Vietnam. She played arena concerts and was widely compared to Lady Gaga in the international press. But when she challenged government censors and turned her celebrity to the cause of free expression, her music was banned. She was detained, harassed and evicted by the police. She now lives in exile in Pittsburgh.
This production of "Bad Activist" is the culmination of three years of Mai Khoi working with musicians, artists, filmmakers and director/writer/activist Cynthia Croot, chair of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Theatre Arts. It features Mai Khoi telling her captivating story, playing her powerful music, and projecting images and artworks from her life and career.
For her courage in defending human rights, Mai Khoi has been awarded the Vaclav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent and the Roosevelt Four Freedoms Award for Freedom of Speech.