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The AAPI History I Carry With Me: Towfu

A Beautiful Resistance celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, as told to Jeneé Osterheldt

Danny “Towfu” Say.Yudo Kurita

At Super 88 on a paper plate, Danny “Towfu” Say and some friends wrote down a vision.

They were tired of DJing for other events. They wanted their own party, their own vibe, a space unique to who they were. Hip-Hop. R&B. Afrobeats. More, always more for an expansive community. Four years later, what went from a community party called “AllYouCanEat” is also creative agency. Collaborating with brands like Clarks, Converse, New Balance, Bodega, and the like, they help celebrate the intersectional cultures and sounds of Boston and beyond.

With Towfu, everybody eats.

What makes your life a beautiful resistance?

To me, my life is a beautiful resistance because I am a first generation Cambodian American who chose to take a risk. Being an artist and creative and coming from a traditional household can feel super overwhelming and unsupportive, but it pushed me to put my best foot forward with everything I do. I know how hard my parents have worked to get here, so believe it when I say I’m not here to waste anybody’s time.

The AAPI History I carry with me is that my parents survived through a genocide. The Khmer Rouge regime that killed up to 3 million Cambodians from 1975-1979 is a reminder of how blessed I am to be here this day. My parents went from survivors to refugees to hard-working business owners in the United States. I have no excuses at this point, it’s in my blood.


Towfu (left) and Yellowtechnica.Bountheng Tanakhone

When did you fall in love with DJing?

When I was a junior in high school my boy Mozes bought a pair of used Technics off of Craigslist and we would mess around with them on the daily. It inspired me to get my own pair and we learned together. It started with dancehall riddims because back then it was easier for us to blend all the different songs that would be on one riddim.


We used to go to house parties and lug all of our equipment around and DJ until the cops came. Then we’d pack up and hit the next spot. It helped sharpen our skills and gave us the experience we needed fast. I knew right there that making people dance is something I was in love with.

How has growing up in New England shaped you?

What a lot of people fail to realize is that New England is such a big melting pot. It molds you into such a diverse human when you grow up in the thick of it. My mother owned a video store in the South End on Tremont Street called “Video Magic” from ‘97 to about 2011. I was there every day for the majority of my childhood, so you could just imagine what I experienced and what inspired me roaming the South End during that time. Growing up in New England has shaped me to endure all seasons.

Why is it important to center joy when we talk about making change?

Because change can be scary. Change is uncomfortable and we need to focus on the good that change may bring even if we can’t see it just yet. It’s important to remember sometimes it’s the joy within the journey instead of at the finish line. Don’t miss out on the good times just because you were too focused on the end goal.


Follow Towfu on Instagram and learn more at allyoucaneatllc.com. Join us at bostonglobe.com/abeautifulresistance.

Jeneé Osterheldt can be reached at jenee.osterheldt@globe.com and on Twitter @sincerelyjenee and on Instagram @abeautifulresistance.