Half-Black, Half Filipino artists Toro Y Moi, H.E.R., and Dominic Fike

Since 1979, the United States has celebrated African American Music Appreciation Month every June to honor and recognize the influence African-American singers, composers, and songwriters have had in the country’s music scene. Whether it be country, jazz, or rock, African-Americans have played a big role in shaping the music we enjoy today.

This year, a number of artists have released songs to both celebrate African American contributions as well as to highlight the need to confront and defeat racism.

Many of the songs were released on Juneteenth, the June 19th holiday that commemorates the official end of slavery in the U.S.

Chaz Bundick, a “chillwave” genre artist known under the moniker Toro y Moi, released a cover of a 1967 song titled “Ordinary Guy” that was originally written and performed by Afro-Filipino artist Joe Bataan.

“I’m super excited to announce this release. It’s a cover of a song by a fellow Afro-Filipino, Joe Bataan,” Bundick wrote on Instagram. He had first heard Bataan’s song in 2009 when his friend Ryan Kattner of the band Man Man played it for him.

 

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I’m super excited to announce this release. It’s a cover of a song by a fellow Afro-Filipino, Joe Bataan. His music first caught my ear back in 2009 when Ryan Kattner of Man Man played it for me. I was immediately hooked by Joe’s music because, to me, he represented the impossible–he felt so comfortable in his skin and he had so much confidence and appeal. I had the pleasure of meeting Joe at an incredible dinner with friends at Jeepney, a Filipino restaurant in New York City. Joe was at the center of the table, talking to us like we were family. I played Joe the cover that night through the restaurant stereo and he was so happy to hear that his music stood the test of time and reached me. Now, 45 years after the original song hit the airwaves, I’m honored to bring this song to new ears. Thank you for your support.⁣ ⁣ 100% of @bandcamp sales for this track today will go to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (@naacp_ldf) – we will be donating all our proceeds as well.⁣ ⁣ Link in bio!

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Sharing a similar 1970’s-New York-Latin soul sound, Bundick sings the same lyrics, “I don’t drive a beautiful car and I don’t have an elegant home. I don’t have thousands to spend or a seaside cottage for the weekend. I’m just an ordinary Afro-Filipino, average sort of guy. That’s what I am. Ordinary man you left behind.”

“I was immediately hooked by Joe’s music because, to me, he represented the impossible—he felt so comfortable in his skin and he had so much confidence and appeal,” added Bundick.

Bundick said he had a chance of not only meeting Bataan at a dinner with friends in New York City’s famous Filipino restaurant Jeepney, but was also able to play his version of Bataan’s song through the restaurant’s stereo.

“He was so happy to hear that his music stood the test of time and reached me. Now, 45 years after the original song hit the airwaves, I’m honored to bring this song to new ears,” said Bundick.

Proceeds from the song will be donated to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Gabriella Wilson, known professionally as H.E.R., released a song titled “I Can’t Breathe” in reference to the words said by George Floyd who died after a police officer knelt on his neck.

 

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#ICantBreathe is out everywhere now. #BlackLivesMatter

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The song talks about the current conversations around Black lives in the U.S. and the injustices they’ve endured for generations.

In the chorus, Wilson sings, “I can’t breathe, you’re taking my life from me. I can’t breathe, will anyone fight for me?”

Making a cameo on a new track by Korean-Black artist Anderson .Paak — real name Brandon Paak Anderson — was Black Fil-Am singer, songwriter, and rapper Dominic Fike.

 

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???? @anderson._paak

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The track “Lockdown” also focuses on racial injustice, police brutality, and the recent protests that have been happening around the world.

The lyrics capture the energy felt in the past month during which protestors battle both the current COVID-19 pandemic and systemic racism.

“Sicker than the COVID, how they did him on the ground. Speaking of the COVID, is it still going’ around,” says one line of the song.

Visuals to the accompanying music video feature Anderson and Fike with other artists Syd, Jay Rock, Andra Day, Inglewood Sir, and Dumbfounded wearing masks and holding signs reading “I can’t breathe,” “Stop Killing Us,” and “Black Lives Matter.”

The video ends with a list of the many victims of police brutality including Floyd and Breonna Taylor who was shot in her apartment by Louisville Metro Police Department officers who were at the wrong location. Salaries for the video’s cast and crew were donated to the non-profit organization, Dream Defenders.

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