8/09/2006

Hot Chicks

Hot chicks Barb, Joanne, Gladys, Fritzie, and Dianna are getting down and deep into new Black Eyed Peas vids for "Bebot"

Gotta say it's a tough go, though, seein' on the one hand the limited presentations of pinays, stereotyping of men and women in the hiphop scene, and the politics of race priviledge splashed on a backdrop of Stockton pinoy history, while on the other giving props to the Little Manila Movement and highlighting the historic invisibility of pinoys.

Hearin' on the documentary about what Little Manila is all about, though, was also mixed for me. Glad to hear 'the young ones' comin' out to save what's left of those six blocks between old China and Japan-town, but it rocked my world to hear plans for the FAHNS museum there.

Mom used to tell me stories about crazy Fred Cordova, the history major, she called him, with that drop of disdain reserved for all non-medical types. She related how her classmates at the UW and in the Seattle area thought he had chosen a dead-end career. He was a kid from one of the pensionado families, old timers, not the post-WWII crowd. Hardly spoke a word of Tagalog, didn't know 'the ways.'

But he and his wife Dorothy started FAHNS back in 1982, when those old timers had started to die off, the manongs who survived the I-5 fly before there was an I-5, cutting back and forth from Washington to California and back, following the crops. The ones who worked the canneries from Seattle, up the coast of Washington and into Alaska. The ones who came after the Sakadas of Hawaii. They gathered up every photo, every story, every academic paper on Filipinos and FilAms they could, cataloging each carefully and organizing events to keep the study and research of FilAm history alive.

See that's the thing that's sticking in my brain tonight, even after seeing the vids. I guess I expect music vids to be short sighted, genre'd, specific to an audience. I don't expect as much because I know they're often that devil's bargain between art and marketing. The Bebot documentary, though, managed to render FilAm history into one narrow view, one singular narrative which, in spotlighting one group's experience and struggle to preserve historic landmarks, cast into shadow so many other experiences in Seattle, Chicago, Honolulu, Lousiana, Juneau, and other cities/states.

When Fred and Dorothy put their video together Filipino Americans: Discovering Their Past for the Future they were very careful to include all FilAm experience across the US. Their legacy is one of a larger Filipino community in the US, not just the FilAm community in California.

I agree a FilAm museum is long in coming, but let's not forget that there is already a trove of knowledge and experience housed in Seattle and in need of attention and preservation.

1 comment:

Allan from Houston said...

awesome. thanks for the information and links!