Eddie Huang has achieved much over the span of his still soaring career with stints as a clothing designer, author, and restauranteur among other pursuits. With a focus on his partnership with Hennessy, Huang spoke about the significance of the brand’s Lunar New Year campaign, how he enjoys the cognac himself, along with a brief dive into his directorial debut, Boogie.
Hip-Hop Wired had the great fortune of briefly speaking with Mr. Huang as he cleared his busy schedule for a quick chat about his work with Hennessy. With honesty, Huang says his experience with the fine cognac goes back to the days of his father entertaining guests and hosting celebrations, adding that the spirit has its place in Asian culture.
“Point blank period, Hennessy is my favorite,” Huang opened up. “It’s not about branding. If they’re paying me, I’m still drinking it and buying it, if they’re not paying me, I’m still drinking and buying it, I genuinely have a love for Hennessy.”
Huang continued with, “Anytime I get to work with them, I’m very excited because it’s also a brand that Chinese people love. If you go to Asia, a lot of people get Hennessy bottle service. I remember growing up, when it was like a special event, my father or one of his friends would break out the bottle of X.O where everybody gets one little pour, that bottle would last him five to 10 years.”
“But it’s also one of those things that just, culturally, it was part of it. I remember watching Mobb Deep videos and seeing that other communities love Hennessy too. I think Hennessy has definitely brought some of these communities closer. It’s also a sign of wealth in some respects,” Huang added with a laugh.
Like his father, Huang got involved in the restaurant business and found measurable success but like many other establishments wrecked by the realities of the pandemic, his BaoHaus spot in New York shuttered its doors permanently last year. Huang spoke briefly about the impact COVID-19 has had on that industry but also was clear in stating that he has no bitterness while stating that he had 10 good years in an often unforgiving field.
“I closed my restaurant last year after 10 years. My thing is this, as a restaurant owner, if the game gives you 10 years, you bow your head and you thank everybody. It’s such a difficult business, It’s really a hard way to make money and support your family. But people coming to my restaurant and spending their hard-earned money, that meant a lot to me,” Huang said of the experience.
Huang made his peace with the loss but that didn’t remove his empathy for those who remain in that space, most especially immigrant and Mom and Pop stores struggling to keep the lights on during the still-raging pandemic. Huang also mentioned in our chat that Hennessy is graciously donating $250,000 via its Unfinished Business initiative in order to aid and support those Black, LatinX, and Asian businesses impacted because of the coronavirus spread.
We asked how Huang likes to take his Hennessy and like the wise man he is, he prefers his X.O neat, but he enjoys V.S.O.P. on the rocks if he’s out and about, enjoying both expressions preferably in a snifter when he can. Huang also says that for his birthday, he’ll mix V.S.O.P., 99 Bananas, cold brew coffee, and horchata, which sounds like a knockout of a cocktail.
Shifting to Huang’s directorial debut, Boogie, starring Taylor Takahashi as Alfred “Boogie” Chin, the film focuses on Chin’s hoop dreams juxtaposed with his experience as a Chinese-American in New York. While it would be easy to assume that the story of Taiwanese-American basketball star Jeremy Lin informed part of the backdrop for Boogie, Huang says he drew more inspiration from retired NBA big man Yao Ming due to his reverence and deep connection to China and its basketball tradition. Boogie also stars Taylour Paige and the late Pop Smoke.
This Thursday (Feb. 18), the Hennessy X.O OX Lunar New Year Celebration hosted by global brand ambassador and Henry Golding and AtomicMari will kick off at 9:00 PM ET.
Eddie Huang will join the event and share his favorite Lunar New Year dish, Lion’s Head Meatballs, along with signature Hennessy Lunar New Year cocktails with mixologist Cari Hah. Live performances from Jay Park, Dumbfoundead, Year of the Ox, MILCK, and Kinjaz round out the entertainment for the evening.
In addition, Hennessy has unveiled its Lunar New Year Collection with bottle designs from Liu Wei for their X.O and V.S.O.P Privilège expressions. The special edition bottles are available via select retailers nationwide.
Learn more about the Hennessy X.O OX Lunar New Year Celebration by clicking this link.