“I’m Brown & I’m Proud!” When you grew up, how were you taught to cherish and celebrate your natural skin? As a young brown Filipina girl, I remember thinking my brown skin was something that would be “prettier” if it was lighter. I sometimes used whitening soaps and stayed out of the sun. I never thought too much of it, until later when I realize this played into the larger beauty standard of fairer skin and deemed my brownness as not attractive.. growing up I know I would’ve LOVED a power anthem teaching me to celebrate being BROWN & PROUD.

Ella Jay Basco is a Filipina-Korean American actress best known for her breakout role as Cassandra Cain on Birds of Prey (2020)

Ruby Ibarra is a Filipina American rapper from the Bay Area best known for her viral hits “Us” and “Now”.

Leslie Alejadro is a Filipina American digital and documentary filmmaker, photographer, and musician. She is currently working as a partner/executive director in a digital magazine where her work was featured on Vanity Fair, Vogue, Variety Magazine, GQ, Men’s Health, Teen Vogue, Women’s Health, The Wrap, Nylon Magazine.

In this episode we’ll cover…

  • The story behind the release of the GOLD music video performed by Ella Jay Basco and Ruby Ibarra and directed by Leslie Alejandro and its message to empower Pinays to love and cherish the brown skin that she’s in.
  • What being Filipina American means, whether you are 1.5 generation, second generation, or even half.
  • The importance of the music video speaks to themes of colonialism, Western beauty standards, colorism, the importance of community and women empowering women, healing, and inclusivity. 
  • How the production of GOLD was run and orchestrated by a predominately Filipino run set. 
  • What it means to be a rolemodel for the Filipino American community especially with the collaboration between the younger and older generation of Pinays coming together to make an impactful music video 
  • The true example of inclusivity on set and coming together to represent the Filipino American community in entertainment.

The importance of this episode celebrates the appreciation of Filipina beauty and the coming together of strong Pinay women to create an inspirational music video that reminds us to love the skin that we’re in.

After the GOLD music video was written by Ella Jay Basco and her brother, they brought in Ruby Ibarra (rapper) and Leslie Alejandro (director) to help execute Ella’s vision to a reality. This shows the importance of what Filipino American representation looks like both in front of and behind the camera to create a cultural product that allows our community to raise our voices in the entertainment industry. 

During the production of the music video, Ella, Ruby, and Leslie emphasized the importance of creating a tight-knit, familial bond that reminded them of their purpose to empower Filipina around the world but to also serve as role models that the community, both young and old, can look up to.

Last but not least, identity plays a huge role in the music and in how the artists behind the production each have their own version of what being Filipina American means to them. Ruby Ibarra is 1.5 generation, Leslie Alejandro is first generation Fil-Am, and Ella Jay Basco is half Filipina and half Korean, however, they all embody the Filipina American spirit which is what makes GOLD a special music video that celebrates our unity and solidarity as a community.

Watch the GOLD Music Video

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