Multimedia Storyteller

Being Filipeanut-American

Can a young San Francisco-born man find his Filipino roots, and channel his frustrations via hip-hop? by Angela J. Bass Amateur rapper Albert Balbutin, Jr., 27, regrets that he wasn’t raised speaking Tagalog or knowing much about his Filipino heritage beyond its colorful cuisine. It wasn’t until 2003, when he pledged a Filipino fraternity at San Francisco State University, that he finally got the Philippine national anthem, “Lupang Hinirang,” down pat. Not long after, his mother suffered a stroke that sent her back to the warmth and tranquility of her native Bohol province in the Philippines. Crushed, Balbutin dropped out of school. “I just didn’t care anymore after that,” he says, sitting at a table in a Subway sandwich shop in Daly City on a mid-October evening. Still starving for knowledge and the knack to convey it to others, Balbutin threw himself into studying, exploring and defining his Filipino identity. And hip-hop became the tool he used to share the gamut of his newfound knowledge. Like Balbutin, thousands of Fil-Am youth in the San Francisco Bay Area have used the elements of hip-hop to explore both the Filipino and American sides of their culture and identity. Although the Bay Area […]

B-girling in a B-boy’s World

Meet Pinay b-girl Sharon "Shaboogie" Mendoza, 35. The San Diego native moved to the Bay Area in 1998 to get down on its famous dance floors. As the mother of a 10-year-old daughter, Mendoza struggles to find time to practice her b-girling skills, a must for any breakdancer who expects to be taken seriously in the game.

Meet Emcee Nomi

Meet MC Nomi, aka Mario de Mira, 30, of Filipino rap group Power Struggle. The Nigeria-born, Minnesota-raised artist moved to the Bay Area in 2004. He performs around the Bay with his group and he works as an organizer at the Filipino Community Center (FCC) in San Francisco, specializing in employee rights and hip-hop workshops for youth. In this video, he discusses the cross between hip-hop and community organizing.

Filipino Folklore Art Grips the Bay

Hip hop culture has beckoned legions of Filipino Americans in search of identity and belonging to its creative forefront. Stay tuned for an in-depth print story, documentary photo essay...
ECHO Emily Allen

The Baltimore Sun: Camp Preps Girls for Health Careers

Ashley Jones was set on becoming a professional soccer player, but by the end of a summer health camp for teens, she was chasing a career in nursing. Jones, now 21, participated in the first annual Camp ECHO (Exploring Careers in Healthcare Organization). The five-day summer immersion program is now in its sixth year at Saint Agnes Hospital. It exposes Maryland high schoolers to the many sides of the health-care profession.
Ronda Badiang

The Baltimore Sun: Non-profit Aids Breast Cancer Patients

After more than a year juggling the family finances to handle the expense of battling breast cancer, Ronda Badiang was surprised a few months back when she found she was unable to pay a $1,000 deductible for her treatment. She was even more surprised when the Red Devils stepped in to settle the bill, no questions asked.

Flash of Life: Ending Mother-to-child HIV in South Africa

Durban, South Africa boasts some of the most beautiful beaches and busiest ports in the country, but the country is also known for its staggering HIV rate among women and children. In March 2009, I traveled to South Africa to report on the innovative ways that researchers and public health experts are helping HIV-positive mothers breastfeed their babies without transmitting the virus. This video examines the pros and cons of a PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child transmission) method called "flash heating," as told by experts and a 34-year-old HIV-positive mother of one, Nosipho Hilda-Dludla.

Dancer Leaves Hollywood for Oakland Youth

Choreographer and Oakland native Carla Service has performed with the likes of Madonna and taught the art of dance to hundreds. But success didn’t come easy. During her youth, she danced away the pain of an abusive upbringing, leaving home at the age of 15. By 17, she was dominating dance floors in San Francisco nightclubs. She quickly found her way to Hollywood fame and a well-deserved reputation as a "master of movement." But the untrained dancer wanted more. In 1994, at age 30, she traded the Hollywood spotlight for a job teaching Oakland youth how to dance to the beat of life.

Activist Mama CoAtl on Femicide

Aired on KPFA Saturday Evening News, November 24, 2007. The United Nations implemented UNiTE to End Violence Against Women as a call to action against violence towards women and girls everywhere. The action was prompted by the 1960 murders of three anti-government activists in the Dominican Republic: the Mirabal sisters.

Protesting Big-Box Stores and Other Stories for KPFA News

An internship at 94.1 FM KPFA Radio News in 2007 resulted in stories about The National Day of Action Against Big Box Chain Stores, The United Nations' UNiTE to End Violence Against Women Day, a nationwide rally against global warming and a San Francisco protest against U.S. government support for what some Pakistani Americans are calling a military dictatorship in the South Asia country.