For those of you who may not have read this, here is a link to last week's LA Weekly article on the Filipino American hip hop "invasion" of Hollywood clubs.
I'm sure we're all glad that the mainstream media is highlighting our communities. But if you read closely (or not so closely), you might find a number of errors and problems. Here are a few:
1. In the print edition, J Rocc (Beat Junkies) is the cover picture. Although he's a down brutha, J Rocc ain't Pinoy, and the story is strictly about the Fil Am "invasion." On the website, J Rocc is also featured spinning in a You Tube clip, as if he represents the Fil Am youth Slovick is trying to portray. They also list Rodney-O as a Filipino. It gets weirder...
2. Filipino youth have been involved in hip hop in LA and Hollywood since the 1980s. Why does the author Sam Slovick make it seem like this is a new thing? What a nasty insult to the OGs.
3. This sentence is disturbing: "These Fil-Am kids are serious about having a good time, and that’s about it. It’s cultural. It came from the islands. The celebratory communal music and dance go way back to tribal roots." Ok, let's ignore the Americanization (and African Americanization) of Filipinos in the Philippines since 1898. Gotcha!
4. He pits the "old" DJs against young, trendy club promoters. He calls Icy Ice part of the "first-generation" of Filipino DJs. No! Ice is probably considered the newer era of mobile DJs, because there is a whole lineage before him! He started learning from older cats at age 12!!
5. Slovick needs to justify what he means by hip hop, because the young, trendy club promoters are more the side of business and partying, rather than the cultural, aesthetic, and disciplined realm of hip hop, a dimension of hip hop that Slovick sets up in the beginning when introducing Icy Ice and other "first-generation" DJs. Bright colored sneakers, spermicidal foam, porn stars, and cars-- oh the generation that embraces these wonderful things really needs to be emancipated from dusty-fingered, disc jockeying old fogies! (Beware the coming era of Reconstruction and Jim Crow.)
6. If this is about hip hop, where are the legendary Fil Am graff artists, dancers, rappers? This is in Los Angeles, and there is no mention of Black Eyed Peas (pre-Fergie)? They were a famed dance crew before they turned to music, and very deeply influenced by the Filipino American dancers (like Regan). And Apl is Pinoy.
7. Slovick needs to learn how to insert his screwy, neoliberal, off-color interjections more craftily when he tries to write about a group he doesn't belong to or understand. This is how he ends the article: "Today, hip-hop is a form of assimilation — a way for anyone to show up in the USA and invent him or herself, to take the prevailing culture and add to it what they brought with them. God bless America. Everybody is a star, baby." No craft! You're sinkin' foo!
Red flags go up when anyone mentions assimilation. Maybe because it starts with the word "ass."
For more discussion on this, look at Oliver Wang's posting and comments on his blog:
No Hip-Hop Hurrah