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The lyrics were personal, written entirely in Tagalog, the dominant language of the Philippines. The Filipino American community is famous for putting its cultural identity behind assimilation. There is a historic Filipinotown west of downtown L.
Many Filipinos arrive in the United States speaking English, immediately making assimilation easier. So, early this year, he financed two music videos for the song. It showed how migrant workers toiled to provide money for their families back home and offered a glimpse of the racism early immigrants encountered. But Pineda now had a bigger goal. Though his record label felt the videos had limited prospects because they were sung in Tagalog, he hoped to prove the label wrong.
His mother was Filipino. He never met his father, who was an American in the U. Air Force, Pineda said. His first connection to the U. Pineda had problems with his eyes, so his sponsor -- a lawyer named Joe Ben Hudgens -- wanted to adopt him so he could receive better medical care in the U. His mother agreed, and after seven years of waiting, he arrived to live with Hudgens, a deputy Los Angeles County counsel.
It was ; Pineda was Hudgens was living in the Wilshire district at the time but decided to look for a neighborhood where there were mostly Filipinos.
The best he could find was a block in Atwater Village, a diverse section of northeast L. Hudgens, a single parent who spent long hours at work, encouraged Pineda to have friends over any time. Soon, they were practicing rap and dancing.
He loves to entertain. Pineda attended John Marshall High School, which, like the surrounding neighborhood, was a mix of cultures. Despite the cultural shift, he was thrilled to be in America. By 16, he was immersing himself in the local hip-hop scene. He went to parties at homes and nightclubs across Southern California, where he made connections that led to the formation of the Black Eyed Peas.
The group rose to prominence in the late s with an upbeat brand of rap and stunning dance moves. Their multiculturalism -- Filipino, Latino and black members -- set them apart. But Pineda said that despite the success, he still felt a yearning to write and sing about his culture.
He wanted to pen a song about his roots that people could dance to. Bandmate Will.
In the modern video, the band arrives at a party riding a Jeepney, the ubiquitous mini-bus seen in the Philippines. The historic video resonated in other ways. Set init begins with Pineda working in a Stockton asparagus field. They were farmers doing the same thing they do in the Philippines. And their main objective was sending money back home too. The Little Manila Foundation has been trying for years to generate interest in preserving the Rizal Social Club and other structures on the decaying Stockton street that once was filled with Filipino farmworkers. Both the modern and the historic videos are filled with beautiful Filipino women dancing.
Pineda said the portrayal of women in the video is a loving one, based on his memories of growing up.
Liza Marie S. Erpelo, 33, a language arts professor in Northern California, said it felt stereotypical to her. By the fall, Pineda was more sanguine. He was pleased the song was a hit in Asia. After a few words of thanks in Tagalog, Pineda dedicated the award to his Filipino mother and adoptive father, both of whom beamed from the audience. All Sections.
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