Trying to maintain relevance amid the pandemic is a tricky thing for most acts. It usually involves thorough planning. Take it away and you just might find yourself the target of ire.
MYMP learned this the hard way, recently.
Doing what most of their ilk have been doing, the band took to social media to stream a recent performance meant to celebrate Halloween.
Guitarist/leader Chin Alcantara, in what seemed to be a haplessly planned attempt to appear clever, decided it would be cool for him to dress up ala Jimi Hendrix for the occasion.
He took it further than most though, going on to apply blackface makeup.
It backfired rather dramatically.
None too soon, the group was inundated with critical reaction.
Some fans accused Alcantara of alleged “insensitivity.”
Others maintained his action amounted to “cultural appropriation.”
There are those who said he should have educated himself on such matters, while a few admonished the rest of the band for letting him do what he did.
Alcantara could have simply ducked and apologized but his ego, it seems, wouldn’t allow for it.
He eventually dug himself into a crater of a mess, clapping back at critics.
“‘Yung mga nagsasabing ‘educate yourself,’ ‘black lives matter,’ kalokohan yun,” he said.
“Kasi sini-single out ninyo lang e. Of course, ‘yung lives din natin (nagma-matter). Wala naman kasi dapat kulay. All lives matter.”
Some were quick to accept his stand, but many others were not as convinced.
One fan was succinct: “Hindi costume ang skin color!”
Obviously hurt by the criticism, Alcantara tried to explain himself again in a YouTube post.
“Hindi ibig sabihin nang makeup na itim sa mukha ko na hindi ko pinapatotohanan ang centuries na pang-aapi at pang-aabuso sa mga Blacks, sa mga African-Americans…ang ibig sabihin nito… Halloween diba? Sa tingin niyo ba kung hindi ko kinulayan ng black na makeup ang mukha ko, makukuha niyo kaya ang custome ko? Hindi di ba? Kasi hindi ko ginaya pati yung color niya (Hendrix).”
He didn’t stop there.
“Yung overly sensitive…maniwala kayo sa gusto niyong paniwalaan (pero) ang ‘black lives matter’ ay isang propaganda. Ibig sabihin niyan ginagamit ang katotohanan na may pangaapi sa mga African-Americans para sa political interest ng isang party. Iisa lang ang race natin, ang human race.”
He ended his post with a terse, “Don’t believe everything you hear or read. Not everything is as it seems. Don’t be swayed by what is (considered) popular opinion and cool.”