Updated: Jul 24, 2021
Scarlet Gum’s entry to this compilation benefit album is a song entitled Time to Rise, which Sheryl and I wrote especially for this project. It is a song about rejecting the model minority myth and spreading the fire of activism. It is about rising to a new reality that is far removed from what early generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have accepted. It is about having an awareness of our differences yet embracing our commonalities. Ultimately, it’s about peace and understanding.
Tonight, the music video for this song, which Sheryl directed herself, is finally out and I am moved beyond words every time I watch it. It is a work borne out of real love and care for the community. She reached out to AAPI rights organizations and attended a protest action in Chinatown, New York to film as much activists as she could. She also contacted the Day-by-Day Christian fellowship, which is predominantly Filipino, to participate. The result is a simple but powerful visual showing a community that had enough. She had the participants extend their arms and put their hands forward to execute the universal sign of “stop.” No sugar coating. No beating around bush.
Shot mostly in black and white, these powerful images combined with the haunting and inspiring vibe of the song create an experience that truly raises awareness and promote enlightenment, understanding, and acceptance. And that is the power of art.
The music is simple and true to the Scarlet Gum sound but very different in terms of lyrical substance. But while it’s our first socially relevant song to date, protest action is something Sheryl and I have known since we were practically kids. My first ever memory of being at a protest rally was EDSA 1986. My dad being a member of the the Liberal Party back then encouraged us to mobilize during those tumultuous three days. I remember handing out sandwiches that my mom and sisters made to protesters and soldiers. When EDSA came out with a sequel, Sheryl and I went and rallied. Right after the 2016 elections, Sheryl was on 5th Avenue marching and rejecting the result. Last year, disregarding any COVID-19 restrictions, we were on the streets screaming Black Lives Matter and condemning police brutality.
The music video will not be possible without the support of the following groups and people. So from the bottom of our hearts, we thank all of them:
Philip Evangelista and Christine Evangelista
Paul Zurita and Beverly Zurita
Day by Day Christian Ministries
The Boiis Co
Asians Fighting Injustice