Nii Turns the Lights On and Wins international gloving competition

Sasha Numazu-Fisher, Opinions and Blogs Editor

     On Sept. 10, the International Gloving League announced Senior Alex Nii as the novice grand champion for the “Lights On” gloving competition. This was the league’s fifth season and it was a worldwide online competition that began on June 10 and lasted until early October. Each week, the contestants would have to create gloving videos where they would film themselves performing “light shows” to match the beat of music that they would choose. These videos would then be sent in and judged. After judging the results of who would move on to the next round were released, this process continued for six rounds. There were 64 people in each bracket who were spread out among the three categories: professional, intermediate and novice. Despite this being the first competition that Nii competed in, she was able to win in her category and earn a 230 dollar cash prize. 

     “Gloving is another type of art form, it takes a lot from tutting and that sort of stuff. Many different types of dance can be incorporated into it and can help expand one’s techniques,” said Nii. 

     Nii decided to participate in the competition in order to learn and gain more experience with gloving. Due to its fast-paced intensity, Nii was unable to prepare or plan out her video routines, although as the rounds passed she was able to adjust and improve. “When I entered the competition, I was at three months in, now I’m at eight months in. I started because my friend Josh got me into it because I used to hang out with him a lot and he’s a really close friend of mine. He’s someone who means a lot to me and inspired me to start,” said Nii. 

     Nii’s grand champion title did not only impress judges due to the small amount of experience that she had, but it was also because Nii had been the first female competitor to make it into the grand finals of “Lights On.” Moving forward, Nii hopes to consistently hold her place as a gloving finalist for future seasons.  “I’m going to continue to do it, I’m probably going to do the same competition next season. Although, I’m going to have to move up to the intermediate level next time around,” said Nii. 

       Each season, as the competition progresses and the contestants improve, it is mandatory for every contestant to move up a category. Nii will no longer be eligible to compete at the novice level for the International Gloving League. This incentive has pushed Nii to work harder on her gloving techniques for the future season since competing against advanced glovers provides more of a challenge. “Even though there can be a somewhat competitive element to gloving, the ability to express yourself and the overall creativity of it is what really makes it enjoyable for me,”said Nii.

     Since the International Gloving League is an organization that draws in competitors from around the world, Nii was able to connect with a wide range of individuals. In fact, many of her friendships from outside of school were formed due to gloving. “I’ve talked with a lot of the competitors and they’re all really nice. They are from all over the world, from the United States to Vietnam and even Canada. Most of the people I’ve met are anywhere from my age to around their thirties,” said Nii.

     Thirty percent of the gloving league’s competitors were international, yet despite this fact, the majority of the grand final winners were from Hawai’i. With the professional winner JT Kurashige being from Kapolei, one of the intermediate winners Matt Farm from Kailua and Nii from Mililani. “I didn’t think I’d make it past round one so to actually win was crazy in itself. Twenty people from Hawai’i entered this past season and three of us won out of the five brackets so it was a pretty crazy season to be honest,” said Nii.

     Although Nii recently found joy and success within gloving, she has expressed herself through many other different creative outlets in the past. Her experience with other hobbies had helped to play a role in winning her the novice grand champion title. “I was in marching band although I had to stop because of medical complications with my knee. I also do cosmetology and surround myself with expressing creatively, hence why I enjoy gloving and the creative freedom that you can have with it,” said Nii.  

     Nii is now an active member of the Hawai’i community also known as Aloha Nation, an organization for glovers. The community holds sessions every other week where members get together to trade shows. “My friend Josh got me into it and introduced me to the community. Him and my other friend Kevin added me into the community’s Facebook page shortly after I started,” said Nii.

     After the competition had ended, Nii was recognized by the CEO of Throwlights and was taken in as a promoter. The company Throwlights is a brand that specializes and sells LED glove sets, batteries and clothing. “I was taken in as a Throwlights promoter towards the end of ‘Lights On’ after talking story with the CEO for a little bit,”said Nii.

     “The Lights On” competition takes place every six months, meaning that competitors only have two oppurtunities every year to compete in the league. The next season’s official start dates have not yet been released, although there are several other ongoing gloving competitions that are held year round. For those who are interested in watching Nii’s gloving videos or in competing, information can be found on and on Instagram @glovingofficial.