Filipinos in the media

9 11 2009

A couple of days ago I saw NERD at the USF homecoming concert.  Lot’s of people went, and we managed to make it to near the front of the stage.  The entire time everyone was pushing back and forth as people kept trying to get close to the stage.  At one point a fight broke out next to me between two girls.  It was moist as hell in there, and people were sweating really, really badly.  Girls kept screaming the closer Pharrell got to the crowd.  It was overall a good time.

NERD is an American rock, funk, and hip hop band.  The group was originally formed by Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams, but later added Shay Haley to become the Neptunes.  Their albums have been certified gold and they have developed a solid fan base over the years.  NERD represents one of the successful stories of Filipinos in American entertainment.

Chad Hugo was born in Portsmouth, Virginia to Filipino parents.   He represents one of the few Filipino-American representatives in American entertainment and media.  I think of Chad-Hugo as huge Filipino success story.  He has branched out and is part of a group that is known to push musical tastes.  Chad, and only a few other Filipinos I can think off, have been able to do this.  It’s impressive that Chad has been so successful in his musical career.  I know that if I were to tell my parents that I was going to pursue music, they might not take it that well.  Chad had the guts to pursue something out of the ordinary, and he succeeded doing so.  Congratulations to Chad and NERD, their music and success has meant a lot to the Filipino-American community.

I do not think Filipinos have had fair representation in the American entertainment.  Aside from the occasional musician, the only time I see Filipinos on the TV is on TFC, and that’s not even on American programming.  On a side note, I really, really don’t like watching TFC.   I guess WOWOWEE is okay since they help people, but it seems excruciating making someone play for money when that person desperately needs that money to get by.   Also the soap operas always seem to be the same: really, really mean mom and miserable kids always tend to show up somehow. I don’t want to bad mouth TFC, since a lot of people do love it, including my mom and dad (the only reason I see TFC is because they watch it all the time. Over 21 years I’ve seen my fair share).  I just think there should be more Filipinos on American programming.  Come to think of it, Filipino notoriety should extend further than just entertainment and television.  Filipinos are no doubt talented, but their exposure to mainstream America has to be more that what it has been in the past.  Filipinos seem to be content to work in the shadows, but we should be more vocal and outgoing to show all the things we are really capable of. Like Chad Hugo and the Neptunes, we may find success, and find ourselves in front of a screaming crowd.

~Ray Rebong




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