Filipino-American Musicians You Should Check Out Pt. 1

By Czaerra Ucol, FINDink Contributor

As a musician and frequent attendee of concerts, I am always happy seeing myself represented in the music industry. In order to get this ball of representation in media rolling, I decided to make a playlist of Filipino-American musicians (spanning a wide range of genres) that everyone should check out!

Mndsgn

Ringgo Ancheta, born in California and raised in New Jersey, is a hip-hop producer raised on Gospel music and your usual Filipino B-boy culture at home. His track “Abeja” with Sofie may seem like your usual chillhop, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg of his talents.

Toro y Moi

Born and raised in South Carolina, Chazwick Bundick’s first album Causers of This was released in 2010, and thus made his break into the chillwave genre. He’s known not only as a producer but also a singer-songwriter. While my personal favorite song of his is “Empty Nesters”, I’ve decided to include his song “Talamak” (Tagalog for, in some translations, “serious”) for its title and simple-yet-poingnant lyrics on love.

Yeek

Bringing a lot of "Filipino Rex Orange County” vibes to the playlist is this emerging, experimental artist. He’s a little bit of everything - songwriter, singer, and rapper - and his song “I’m Not Ready” evokes the feel of sitting on one’s porch on a nice summer day.

Aye Nako

Punk band Aye Nako, based out of Brooklyn, promotes their "community-oriented, anti-capitalist, LGBTQ-friendly ideology” throughout their entire discography. Mars Ganito, their guitarist and one of their vocalists, coined the name of their band after “what [his] mom used to yell at [him].” Their song “Particle Mace” is a fun song one could mindlessly mosh to with, but also provides deeper, politically-charged themes calling out various institutions.

June Marieezy

Marieezy was born in Dallas, Texas, and moved to the Philippines for a bit before returning to the US. Her vocal timbre and style of composition reminds me a lot of Ravyn Lenae, and her song “Fly” is just an example of her talent and her possible future.

Bambu

Jonah Deocampo is an activist and rapper from LA who is bringing people’s attention to the problems within the Filipino diaspora on the US. His song “Golden Era Shower” featuring Drunken Tiger, Ruby Ibarra, Dumbfoundead, and Gloc 9 features lyrics about various issues in the Filipino-American community, and even some bars in Tagalog!

Low Leaf

Experimental in sound, singer-songwriter Angelica Lopez has even been noticed by Flying Lotus for her combination of both analog and digital sounds. Her song “Bahay Kubo” is just one of the tracks off her album Akashaalay, based on a previous month-long trip to the Philippines.

Manila Killa

As one of the bigger names in this article, I’d honestly be a bit surprised if you hadn’t already heard of producer Chris Gavino’s stage name - or his duo Hotel Garuda with Candle Weather. Featured in this playlist is “All That’s Left”, a collaboration with Joni Fatora on vocals. It puts the listener in a bit of a dream state, and is good for listening to on long contemplative walks home.

Shawn Wasabi

Similar to the previous artist, this LA-based musician is also becoming a bit of a household name amongst the EDM community. His song “Marble Soda” kind of makes me feel like I’m in an arcade - a lot of the samples used are (if not at least sound like) they are from video games. It’s very happy and a good way to start the day!

Monica Laire

Laire’s pitch-perfect soprano voice is what immediately drew my attention to her track “Nothin’”. From Castro Valley, California, she actually reached the Top 48 on American Idol in 2015. Hopefully, as we’ve seen in past seasons, the (usually more talented) runner-ups will take their career very far.

Jess Connelly

Discovered through 88rising’s Fresh Delivery series, R&B singer Jess Connelly and producer LUSTBASS provide a soulful jam through “Turn Me Down”. Her voice’s rich quality is the shining star against the backdrop of calming electronic/chillhop beats.

Honorable Mention

Not to say she’s not just as important - this is only because none of her tracks are actually on Spotify - but Kehlani’s partner-in-crime, Noodles, is a Filipina DJ that has been rising in popularity since the two started touring together in 2014. Featured here is her mix for HYPEBAE.

Here’s the playlist in full! Happy listening!

 

Disclaimer: The views of the author do not necessarily represent the views of FIND, Inc. 

Art Crawl

By Eliza De Guzman, FINDink Contributor

Most people grow up identifying certain animated series or films to a distinct part of their childhood. The premise of most cartoons are fictional and often humorous, which makes it a go-to for leisurely watching or even a cult following. However, sometimes the messages that these films or series try to convey are overshadowed by its purpose of entertainment. Bob’s Burgers is one of my favorite cartoons of all time. First off, the beach town setting reminds me of the Jersey Shore and they often throw in local references that are nostalgic. The sarcastic humor of the Belcher family mixed with the satirical plot lines of its episodes really call for a good time. One episode in particular has really caught my attention. In Art Crawl (Season 1, Episode 8), the Belcher family finds themselves in the middle of their town’s yearly art crawl. Linda’s sister, Gayle, displays her work at the restaurant, but to Bob’s surprise, he finds the walls of Bob’s Burgers decorated with paintings of animal anuses! At first, he was afraid that the lewd artworks would drive his customers away. But when an elderly couple approaches him to take it off the walls because they found the paintings “offensive,” Bob refuses, out of spite. This episode poses the question of “should artwork be subjected to censorship if certain people find it offensive?”

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Back in March of this year, the Whitney Museum was subjected to this question due to the controversial painting of white artist Dana Schultz of depicting Emmett Till in his coffin, titled “Open Casket.” Many argued that she did not have the right to take on creating artwork that did not directly affect her heritage or personal history, which seems as if she was appropriating history for the sake of her art. The painting sparked protests, with the demand of the Whitney to take it off its walls.

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The idea of suppressing a medium of expression is rather tricky, considering that artwork does serve the purpose to provoke thought. What draws the line in between difference of what is pushing boundaries and what is socially unacceptable?  



Disclaimer: The views of the author do not necessarily represent the views of FIND, Inc. 

 

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/27/arts/design/emmett-till-whitney-biennial-schutz.html

http://www.ign.com/wikis/bobs-burgers/Episode_8_-_Art_Crawl

A Reflection of Representation

By Aleisha Flores, FINDink Contributor

Growing up, my world was mostly white. The movies and television shows I watched, the people who presented the news, the athletes who were the champions in their fields, the models walking down the runways, and gracing the covers of magazines at the supermarket. It was just normal in America.

Sure, there were (and are) great media and arts icons of color I could look up to as a child – Naomi Campbell, Lucy Liu, maybe even people like Jackie Chan – but not seeing someone like myself, a young Filipino-American girl, staring back at me from my TV screen was a little disheartening. Yeah, there were famous Asian people, but even then, most of the time they weren’t Filipino. As I got older, it left the impression on me that careers like acting, or singing, playing sports or even being a news anchor weren’t for people like me.

As we’ve seen become more prevalent, people are starting to speak out more on the lack of representation and inclusivity for people of color (along with other marginalized groups) in mainstream media, the arts, sports, and other industries. The acknowledgement that the United States of America is a country whose diversity is one of its most distinguishing traits. Those who expressed their discontent with white people playing roles meant for people of color – for example, Carey Mulligan playing a role originally written to be a Latina woman in Drive, Scarlett Johansson’s casting in the live-action adaptation of the anime Ghost in the Shell, Tilda Swinton’s casting as the Ancient One (a Tibetan man in the comics) in Marvel’s Doctor Strange, to name a few – were frequently shut down and accused of “turning everything into a race issue” or ignored entirely as haters.

But recently that cycle of being silenced has been shaken up – actor Ed Skrein, who happens to be white, announced via his official Twitter account that he would be stepping down from his role in the Hellboy reboot to make room for role of Major Ben Daimio to be appropriately and accurately cast as a Japanese American man. “It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people, and that to neglect this responsibility would continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the Arts,” he wrote.

At first glance, it seems like Skrein is a cultural hero. This is a rare occasion in that this never happens, at least not this publicly. It’s as if our concerns are finally being listened to. And perhaps they are. Skrein was given praise and kudos from people both white and non-white for his decision to drop out of the film.

It’s kind of sad that after years of whitewashing in media, it took until 2017 for someone to turn down a role not meant for them, risking their career in the process. But before we continue to applaud people like Skrein for their bravery and boldness, let’s remember that we shouldn’t be putting people on a pedestal for doing the good and decent things that they should have been done in the first place.

 

Disclaimer: The views of the author do not necessarily represent the views of FIND, Inc.
 

Links: https://twitter.com/edskrein/status/902244967296491520