Every June 12, Filipinos across the globe commemorate their homeland’s declaration of independence from Spanish occupation in 1898. Amidst the lumpia, tinikling dances, and street parades, FenaxiZ humbly entreats his kasamas worldwide to pause for a moment of reflection and acknowledge a past mired with bloodshed, subjugation, and resistance.

Borrowing its title from the Rudyard Kipling poem about the Filipino-American war, “White Man’s Burden” is a critical analysis of the widespread effects that imperialism has wreaked upon a 7000-island archipelago once known as “The Pearl Of The Orient.” From a Labour Export Policy that seperates parents from children to the internalized racism that fuels identity issues of the youth, FenaxiZ covers many pressing issues that today’s Filipinos face; yet, he is also aware of the incomplete picture he paints as he muses, “and this rap ain’t even scratching the surface of our collective experience.”

FenaxiZ states, “To properly capture 600 years of a country’s history in a 5 minute song is impossible, but I hope my words can mobilize my audience to walk away with a desire to educate themselves on the issues. I want us to truly think about our current situation, discuss amongst ourselves, and question if we are, in fact, an independent republic. If my lyrics can instill some pride and provide a stepping stone to a Filipino youth’s journey of understanding his or her identity, then I’ve done my job.”

And while the image may be bleak, FenaxiZ adds, “If history has taught us anything, it is that Filipinos are survivors; we are a resilient people. From Lapu-Lapu to the People Power Revolution, Filipinos have resisted oppression from internal and external forces and we will continue to do so until we take our rightful place as a respected, self-sufficient, first-class prosperous nation. It may not happen in my lifetime or the next, but it will happen one day.”

“White Man’s Burden” is produced by The Quarter Inch Kings and features Joshua “JLatte” Lopez on guitar. It appears on the album Vintage.

Directed & Edited by Minerva Group (www.minervastudio.ca)