Date of Graduation

Spring 5-5-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

James Zarsadiaz

Second Advisor

John Zarobell


For close to two decades, an established network of Filipino American rap artists have developed on the West Coast of the United States. These artists share musical narratives exploring their working-class immigrant experiences as well as the impact of colonization in the Philippines. Outside of music, these artists often engage in community organizing and activism, but few scholars have explored hip hop's effect within these spaces. Recently, a younger generation of Filipino American youth actively make use of hip hop in community organizations and activist groups. This paper will specifically examine how the identity of 1.5 and second generation Filipino youth were shaped by the use of rap in grassroots organizing and activism. They exhibit how rap provides a useful space in activism and is a culturally relevant method for analyzing lived realities. I argue that rap and community work help transform “Filipino-ness” into a sight of political identification. I also argue that this identification is rooted in anti-colonialism and social projects/community initiatives, which allows youth to bridge geographical and conceptual gaps between the diaspora and the “homeland.”

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Signed Advisor Agreement