Rep. Tokuda congratulates Hawaiʻi-born American Idol winner, Iam Tongi
Representative Jill Tokuda (HI-02) addressed the US House of Representatives to congratulate Hawaiʻi-born performer, Iam Tongi, on winning American Idol’s Season 21.
Tongi won the title during a finale on May 21, after an emotional performance of the song “Monsters,” which honored his late father. He also shared some island music before the national audience with an upbeat performance of the song “Cool Down” by Kolohe Kai. His debut single “Iʻll be seeing you,” was released on May 19.
While Hawaiʻi has fielded successful contestants and top finishers in the past, Tongi’s title is the first for a Hawaiʻi-born and Pacific Islander contestant.
“Like many kamaʻāina, Iam and his family were forced to move to the continent because of the high cost of living. Our children have become our greatest exports. That’s not pono. We must make Hawaiʻi more affordable so families like Iam’s don’t have to leave their home,” said Representative Jill Tokuda in a floor address on May 23, 2023.
In extending her congratulations, Rep. Tokuda said, “Your music, your story, and your spirit have inspired us all. Hawai‘i is so proud of you— wherever you go, we will always be your ʻohana.”
Just days before winning the title, Tongi visited Hawaiʻi and was welcomed home by the Kahuku community where he was raised. The moments were captured by show producers who followed Iam on his journey and shared highlights in the finale broadcast.