SAN FRANCISCO — A Filipino-American barber is speaking out after receiving numerous criticisms by netizens for the use of barber capes designed after the Philippine flag.
For the final Filipino Heritage Night at Oracle Arena, the Golden State Warriors invited Jay-R Mallari and his organization — the National Filipino Barber Association — to give fans fresh haircuts prior to game time.
Mallari says he was proud of opportunity to showcase the talent of Filipino barbers in the Bay Area.
Following the event, however, he then noticed negative comments online about his group’s use of the barber capes, designed to look like Philippine flags.
“After the event I was really, really excited. I was enthused. I was just motivated. So I was on a real good high in terms of my emotions. And it just caught me by surprise. I’m not, in any way, angry at all.”
Mallari took to Facebook to issue an apology and statement citing that his intentions were to showcase Filipino pride at the Warriors’ heritage night. He admits he did not know that according to the Philippine constitution, the flag cannot be used as drapery, nor as a costume or uniform.
“I just kept reading and reading and by the time you know it, I understood that it is in the law that you cannot use the flag that way. And it so dear to my heart I know that I don’t ever want to disrespect the Filipino culture.”
Mallari says he collected all the capes and has stored it.
“I will not use at any other event in respect to what that means to our culture. So where those capes are going to be? It’s going to be in a memory in a lot of us, especially those attending that event.”
Despite the backlash, Mallari says he is happy for everything that happened — because he and others learned a lot from the event.
“Even during these conversations online my goal is to continue to connect, to continue to build relationships, to be more aware of my culture. And as far as the National Filipino Barber Association and everyone who has participated they’re more aware of what’s going on.”
Mallari plans to continue strengthening relationships with barbers in the Philippines — so that one day, members of the National Filipino Barber Association can travel there to exchange techniques with their Philippine counterparts.