It was a good weekend, indeed.

  • The first Sama Sama workshop of the summer. I can’t believe this is already our fourth summer in a row that we’ve been doing these!

  • Ice cream and tacos in Wilmington.

  • Building with one of the Seattle kasamas who’s in town for the week. I’m excited to get a studio session in with him — the brotha’s nice on the mic.

  • Chill kickback at my apartment on Saturday night - cooking, Chappelle’s Show, and libations. I don’t know how it started, but we also had a really good late night debate/discussion about the separate use of the words “nigga” and “bitch” and how different groups have either appropriated or reclaimed the terms. Although there were differing opinions, I love how kasamas all genuinely listened to each other instead of just waiting for their turn to speak (y’all know how these kind of things can get out of hand sometimes! lol).

  • Backyard boogie/BBQ — lots of sunshine, good food, good people, and good vibes. Of course, when you get that many rappers in the same space, a freestyle cypher is inevitable. It was especially dope because there were kasamas from up and down the West Coast (SEA —> SF —> LBC). We really gotta start building on that music tip…fo’ real.

  • Testing out my new fisheye lens all weekend. After shooting with the same lens for a year, it’s nice to have something else to throw in the mix. :)

Finally…

After months of uncertainty (which is still kind of there), venting to friends, being semi-emo, and posting ambiguous blogs, I’d like to think that tonight was a huge breakthrough for me. This last week or so has given me a chance to really analyze things and get over the pettiness (on my end) of the situation, but tonight really seemed to be the culmination of all that.

I was able to kick it with one of the homies/kasamas who has always been able to help me sort through things and help me see stuff from an objective perspective. There were some things that deep down I knew for myself but was either in denial of or because I only chose to focus on specific things instead of seeing the bigger picture, so regardless of what happened in the past, it’s a lesson learned and I’m ready to keep moving forward. For the first time in a long time, my heart and mind feel free. And damn it feels good!

I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I’m definitely excited for whatever will come my way. Word up, son.

Out of all the music footage I shot in Chicago, I think this was my favorite performance of the night. I remember listening in on one of their run throughs the day before and thinking, “Daaaamn…not only are they dope MCs, but they’re also droppin’ knowledge too?! Word.”

I’ve said it before, but the Pacific Northwest has been my favorite region for the last couple of years as far as Hip Hop is concerned. Blue Scholars, Macklemore, Grynch, Gabriel Teodros, and a whole lot more have had steady rotation in my iPod, but I can’t believe I never knew about the Seattle kasamas until a couple weeks ago!!

I just found out that one of them is coming down to LA at the end of June too, so you know we ‘bout to get in a studio session or two. Be on the lookout for that SEA to LA collab!!

Me and some of the Anakbayan LA kasamas at the founding assembly of the U.S. chapter of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) in Chicago last weekend. It’s an honor to work alongside these folks — their dedication and love for The People is a constant source of inspiration…forreal.

A quick side note: we were waiting in line in the hallway outside of this room, and being the rambunctious bunch that we are, somehow ended up starting a Soul Train line while a band played in the next room. Whether you were waiting for a picture or not, everyone who walked down that hallway had to dance their way through it. It was crackin’!! Definitely one of my favorite moments from that weekend! =)

(Photo Credit: Pablo Serrano)

Me and some of the Anakbayan LA kasamas at the founding assembly of the U.S. chapter of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) in Chicago last weekend. It’s an honor to work alongside these folks — their dedication and love for The People is a constant source of inspiration…forreal.

A quick side note: we were waiting in line in the hallway outside of this room, and being the rambunctious bunch that we are, somehow ended up starting a Soul Train line while a band played in the next room. Whether you were waiting for a picture or not, everyone who walked down that hallway had to dance their way through it. It was crackin’!! Definitely one of my favorite moments from that weekend! =)

(Photo Credit: Pablo Serrano)

Chicago: Part One…

I don’t know if it’s because I’m still trying to catch up on all the sleep I missed out on or if I’m slightly overwhelmed by everything that happened in Chicago this weekend, but I’m having a difficult time putting the whole experience into words — there’s just so much to talk about!!

The way I feel right now is exactly how I felt when I came back from my exposure trip in the Philippines. Meeting kasamas (comrades) from across the country and seeing the strength and resiliency of our people was an amazing, inspiring, and empowering thing to experience.

This is going to be a multi-part series of blogs because there’s way too much to cover in one post, but a few things come to mind for now:

1.) I love seeing all the new Facebook friendships/connections being formed over the last couple of days. Although social networking can sometimes hinder actual human interaction, I see these new friendships going far beyond the “Add you as a friend but never talk to you again” formula that we often see on Facebook.

2.) It was an honor to be part of the documentation team for the weekend. I still need to learn a lot about photography and filming (especially editing video), but I’m glad that I was able to help out in any way possible. Seeing all the photos and videos that people are posting does have me feeling really anxious to check out the stuff that I shot though. As part of the documentation team, I had to leave my memory cards with the point person so we can consolidate everything in one location, so I’m eagerly awaiting that package in the mail!! lol.

3.) At one point throughout the weekend, there was a photo backdrop setup in one room where people were able to pose with different props and signs. When it was Anakbayan LA’s turn to go up, there was one sign that just spoke to me, “I’m proud to be in the National Democratic Movement”. It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of.

cinemilitancy:

kiwizzo:

The National Democratic movement of the Philippines - Bay Area style. 15 years and counting. Honored to be a part of it. And the work ain’t done yet. ISULONG!

Our people’s movement have come along way. Its an honor to be part of this protracted struggle. An honor to struggle with kasamas who want to shed light to the injustices in our society. I am thankful that this movement has taught me how to be a revolutionary. This is where i learned how to put theory into practice, how to be accountable and responsible to the people i am serving, where i learned to love the people as much as self, where i learned how to remold my backwards thinking, and more importantly, where i learned how to value the relationships in this movement. Lookin forward to the future. Lookin forward to the people that will eventually organize. Lookin forward for people to actually understand how to make concrete community change and see revolution in the future. 

hindi pa tapos ang labang to, Isulong!

(via cinemilitancy-deactivated201301)

International Women’s Day…

To all the women out there, Thank You. While I don’t want to take away from the significance of this specific day, this isn’t just a one time deal for me. It’s no exaggeration when I say that I’m extremely blessed to be surrounded by so many strong, resilient women and am reminded of this on an almost daily basis.

This is for the kasamas (comrades) who I organize with. These strong women have carried on the militant tradition and spirit of those that came before us and continue the fight for freedom. In addition to that, they’ll not only check a random dude for getting out of line, but they’ll also let the male kasamas know if we’re subconsciously exerting our own male privilege as well. It’s not in a way that’s meant to antagonize, but rather, to help us realize our shortcomings in this patriarchal society and work to become better people and organizers.

This is for my co-workers who, despite being in a sexist, hypocritical environment, will speak their minds and never hold back. Now although they don’t need me to play the role of Male Savior, the least I can do is get their back and let it be known that I don’t want any part of the “boys club” that I’m often invited into joining. This is no joke y’all — my actual manhood was called into question because I adamantly disagreed with some outdated, ass-backwards notion of gender roles in a relationship. Even though it was presented in a joking fashion, I know that the sentiment was still there, “Look here — let me tell you what it means to be a MAN.” To my female co-workers: you know I got your back!!

This is for my friends who’ve become extremely successful in their careers and did it because they earned it through hard work, not because they’re just another pretty face (as some of their male counterparts have implied).

This is for my aunt, who is not only a breast cancer survivor, but who recently got a kidney transplant after waiting for over ten years. She never gave up throughout the process and she’s still fighting to this day.

This is for both of my grandmothers, who were left with the tremendous task of raising all the kids while their husbands were forced to leave the Philippines in search of better work opportunities abroad. Although my grandfathers provided the financial support, the role that my grandmothers took on can never be overlooked.

This is for my mom. I will never be able to fully put into words what she means to me and how much of an impact she’s had in shaping the person that I am today. Whenever the weight of the world becomes too much to take on by myself, she’s always there to lighten the load and put things into perspective. Like I said in a song I wrote for her a few years ago, “even though most of the time it’s over the phone / it’s the sound of [her] voice that I associate with home.” She always has a way of making everything alright.

This is for all the strong, beautiful women out there. Thank You.

Album Art

jlcsantos:

Blue Scholars | Opening Salvo

Romance isn’t the only love that’s relevant.

Peace to my Third World equivalent,
Even if I can’t fight beside you, I write what I can
To get our fam in other lands to understand your pain
‘Cause your beef is mine and we one and the same
And I know about this privilege
But if you’re from where I’m from
Then you know a bigger burden comes with it
And that’s what I carry when you see me on a hustle
I’m talking as a walking document of our struggle
Kasamas, hold me down, and remember that I love you…

This is a DOPE album. As I continue to sharpen my analysis on Philippine society and the National Democratic movement through discussions and readings, I’m starting to catch/understand more and more of the references that Geo makes in his lyrics. He’s definitely one of the smartest, well-read MCs that I’ve listened to.

(via iheartbluescholars)

ArtistBlue Scholars
TitleOpening Salvo
AlbumBayani Redux