Critical Filipino History: Charice

- Facilitated by Alex Felipe This week’s Critical History session we’re going to look at what the life and stardom of Charice Pempengco (along with various other Filipinos in Western pop culture) can tell us about Filipino history.

Charice’s life story in short: She was born in San Pedro, Laguna Province, Philippines. Raised by a single mother (who left an abusive husband), she began singing to help support the family by joining amateur singing contests at age seven. Before making it big in America, she was shunned in the Philippines for being “too ugly,” “too short,” and “too poor.” What is the current situation for women in the country in contrast with the historical role of women?

Why was she not recognized in the Philippines, and how did class play out in how Filipinos viewed themselves?

Some people claim that she’s popular only as a freakshow in the States (see above), historically how has America viewed us? From the “Little Brown Americans” to the Filipino human zoo at the World’s Fair, Americans love us. Hotdogs anyone?

Filipinos in the media (or lack thereof) has affected the way we see ourselves and therefore the way we present ourselves. And what’s with all the imitation (where is the music with actual roots in the Phils rather than Fil takes on American music)? It seems like American validation is something Filipinos yearn for--why?

Charice worked to support her family. She’s not the only one, the stats for child labour in the Philippines is crazy. Why is this?

We'll explore these issues and more THIS WEDNESDAY!

6 p.m. at 167 Augusta Ave. Kensington Market.

See you there!