Ruby Ibarra raps on Pinay empowerment, Filipino community building

SAN BRUNO, CA — Ruby Ibarra is a rising rapper who is making music that reflects the Filipino-American experience through her October 2017 album “Circa 91”.

It is raw. It is unapologetic.

And as Ruby says — it is long overdue that our stories be told.

On the album is a song entitled “Us,” which features other Pinay artists Rocky Rivera, Klassy, and Faith Santilla.

And with the growing popularity of the music video — the song has become an anthem for Pinay empowerment.

“With a lot of Pinays mentioning that they’ve cried to the video or they showed it to their younger sisters or their daughters and how much the imagery meant to them,” Ibarra shared. “Going into this representation and visibility has also been my main focus.”

The music video was Ibarra’s directorial debut, and she says she consciously made the decision to showcase all types of Filipino women.

“Since the start of Circa 91, I felt like I’m standing on so many shoulders and I’m only given a platform and a voice because of so many people who supported me and given me this platform. So I felt like ‘Us’ definitely needed to be a video that showcased the community. There is no me without the people who created the path before me.”

Ibarra says that she’s thankful for the opportunities hip-hop has given her, like being showcased by MasterCard in a commercial during the Grammys, and having her own billboard in Manhattan, New York.

But she remains humble by knowing that these opportunities come from privilege — which she wants the Fil-Am community to understand.

“To do music that was created by the black community testifies to that. Me being able to get on stage and be unapologetic, and pretty much have not too much backlash against that shows my privilege. Filipino-Americans that think we’re exempt from that we truly aren’t. We are still immigrants and people of color to this country and it’s just a matter of sharing our stories and experiences so that people know where we come from and who we are.”

Ibarra is set to release more videos from her album as she continues her tour, with stops set in Hawaii and in the Philippines.

 

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