“Whether a creator or connoisseur of the art form—no matter if you rap, deejay, spray paint, breakdance, design apparel or promote events—hip-hop demands that you do it in a way that is true to the best part of who you are. It assumes, in true American form, that everyone has a voice. For Fil-Ams fighting a mentality designed to erase individuality and silence voices, hip-hop is an obnoxiously loud vehicle in which they can’t help but to be seen.”
—Excerpt from, “Being Filipeanut-American,” a magazine story about the life of amateur rapper Albert Balbutin, Jr.
While studying for my master’s in journalism at U.C. Berkeley, I covered Filipino Hip-Hop Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area for my master’s project. The following stories touch on identity, self-expression, the marginalization of Filipinos in mainstream hip-hop, and the balancing of Filipino, American and hip-hop culture.
The full series:
- Meet Emcee Nomi (video)
- Meet Deejay Fonzzilla (video)
- B-girling in a B-boy’s World (video)
- Being Filipeanut-American (long-form print)