Pinoy pop group ALAMAT makes bold anti-hate statement with art pieces

Published July 8, 2021, 4:59 PM

by Punch Liwanag

The boyband is dipping its feet into relevant issues through art.

ALAMAT, the 8-member pop group who recently made waves in Pinoy pop with their distinct Filipino-centric aesthetics, is espousing brotherhood and peace.

Or Pinoy anti-hate to be specific in a series of artsy teaser photos the group posted on their social media accounts.

Said photos featured several members, namely Tomas, Jao and Valfer wearing repurposed plastic headpieces crafted by contemporary artist Leeroy New, who in 2011 created a “muscle dress” for Lady Gaga for her “Marry The Night” music video.

The teaser photos featured the designer’s “Muhi” and “Migrante” pieces as worn by the ALAMAT members. The inspiration for the set “tackle long-forgotten and widely unknown issues of anti-Filipino sentiments abroad, especially in America,” according to their press release.  It added that “Alamat’s headpieces feature real slurs or slogans that have been used against Filipinos from as early as late 19th century to as recent as late 2010s.”

Informative as well as sounding like a reader commentating on a model walking down a ramp, the description for the pieces went as thus:

“Tomas’ headpiece, for example, has the word “goo-goo” plastered across the face. Unbeknown to many Filipinos, this derogatory word was used by American troops against Filipinos during the Philippine-American war. “Work no Filipinos,” says Valfer’s headpiece—alluding to the anti-Filipino violence and racism faced by migrant farmers in California when the Philippines was still a US colony. Jao’s headpiece, which contains the phrase “orange savage,” references a more recent case of Filipino hate. In 2017, a woman in the US was caught on video delivering a racist rant against her Filipino neighbor. A part of her hate speech describes Filipinos as orange savages.”

ALAMAT’s social media pages elaborated that, “The ‘Muhi’ set takes inspiration from the #StopAsianHate campaign, reminding our fellow Filipinos that we, too, have always been subject to hate, dehumanization and prejudice throughout history. But in spite of the hate thrown against us, we shall not be broken down. We shall persist and continue to thrive. We shall endure. For we are strong. We are KASMALA.”

On that end, ALAMAT is set to release a new single titled “Kasmala” on the second week of July. “Kasmala” is a disjointed, stylized play on the word ‘Malakas,’ meaning strong.  

The “Migrante” themed post “continues the theme of anti-Filipino sentiments. This time, they focus on a specific group of Filipinos—the so-called ‘manong’ generation, the first generation Filipino immigrants to arrive en masse to the US, specifically in Hawaii and California.”

Alamat members are photographed wearing clothes designed by Mark dela Pena “inspired by the outfits worn by manongs while working on the field.”

ALAMAT creative director Jason Paul Laxamana said: “These stories, despite being significant, are not known by many Filipinos,” imbuing the upcoming music video of “Kasmala” with said themes, “we wanted to elevate the material by choosing to educate people about this dark chapter in the lives of Filipinos. It’s our way of paying tribute to the Filipinos who suffered and endured hate in a foreign land; instead of looking at them as victims, we wish to look up to them as brave and strong men whose stories need to be shared to the next generation.”

ALAMAT members include Taneo, Mo, Gami, Jao, R-Ji, Valfer, Tomas and Alas. The group made it’s debut back in Feb. 14 with their single titled “kbye.”

 
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