What was Barbie’s Simu Liu doing in Birmingham this weekend?

Simu Liu at Santos coffee in Birmingham (Santos Coffee Uptown baristas)
Hey Ken! Barbie star Simu Liu stopped at Santos Coffee’s Uptown location and ordered an iced vanilla latte. (Santos Coffee Uptown baristas)

Simu Liu, Marvel breakout and star of summer blockbuster Barbie, was spotted this weekend in Birmingham according to social media posts. Liu, who played a rival Ken to Ryan Gosling’s lead Ken in the film, was seen at Santos Coffee Uptown during his visit to The Magic City.

So, what is a Ken doing outside of Barbieland– let alone in Birmingham? Keep reading to learn more.

Simu Liu’s rise to Barbie fame

If Liu looks familiar, you may recognize him from his role as Shang-Chi in Marvel’s 2021 film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings or Jung Kim in the television show Kim’s Convenience.

Most recently, Liu appeared among the star-studded cast of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, which has made nearly $600M at the US box office this summer.

Fueling up at Santos Coffee Uptown

The star, lauded for his dancing chops and backflips, made a visit to Santos Coffee in Birmingham’s Uptown District according to posts on Instagram and Facebook.

Excited and honored to have the amazing celebrity @SimuLiu visit our Uptown store! Your presence brightened our day, Thanks for stopping by!”

Santos Coffee Uptown via Instagram

According to baristas Addyson Schack and Gordon Kennedy, Liu isn’t the only star getting caffeinated at Santos. The film crew for the crime thriller starring Matthew McConaughey, The Rivals of Amizah King, have become regulars at the Uptown coffee shop.

KultureBALL 2023 in Birmingham

The actor was in Birmingham for the 2023 KultureBALL benefitting KultureCity that took place on August 19. According to their website, Liu is a board member of the organization, a non-profit based in Vestavia Hills that serves the needs of individuals with “invisible disabilities” like PTSD, autism, Down syndrome, dementia and other sensory disabilities.

Another attendee of this year’s KultureBALL, television actor Kelly AuCoin, shared photos from the event on his Facebook page. The photos featured appearances by himself and other KultureCity advocates such as Mayor Woodfin, Hamilton actor Chris Jackson, and Succession actor Arian Moayed.

Other KultureCity members

Every year, members come together at the KultureBALL to raise funds for programs benefiting individuals with sensory disabilities and promote inclusion. Some board members you may recognize include musician Jason Isbell, TV star Jenni Farley A.K.A. “J-Woww” and Alabama-native Channing Tatum who was named KultureCity Advocate of the Year 2022.

What stars have you spotted in The Magic City? Tag us @bhamnow on Facebook and Instagram and let us know!

Grace Howard
Grace Howard
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