Q&A with Ruby Ibarra at Apple Union Square

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Ruby Ibarra & MISTER Rey perform at Apple. Photo by Christina Luna

Although different from the usual night-time performances, the mighty Ruby Ibarra still got the crowd hyped up and jumping at Apple Union Square in the middle of the afternoon. With a focus on her highly acclaimed album, Circa 91, Ruby performed a set including “Background,” “Someday,” with Charito Soriano of Astralogik, “Playbill$,” and “Us.”  As an avid fan and follower of Ruby, it was an honor to moderate the Q&A portion of the program. Watching Ruby pour her energy into every performance, break into mainstream media with a voice for representation, direct her own music video documentary “Nothing on Us,” with Evelyn Obamos, and starting up the Pinay Rising Scholarship with Dr. Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales— needless to say— has been nothing short of incredible. The Q&A was an opportunity to highlight some of these amazing things that Ruby accomplished alongside her album, Circa 91, and although I had many questions in mind, we kept it to four pre-set questions due to time constraints, and opened up the floor for audience questions.

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Photo courtesy of Janice Sapigao

For those who missed the Q&A, here are the questions I asked:

    • Around this time last year, you were working on Circa 91. There are a lot of different elements of vulnerability within the stories that are told through your personal experiences. What were some of the driving forces behind the making of Circa 91?
    • Watch this video of Ruby’s responses on Facebook
      (courtesy of Asian American Music Conference)

    • The music video for your song, “Us,” was not only making waves globally on the internet, but the making of the video was also phenomenal and inspiring to witness in person—with a cast of over 200 Pinays, ranging on the spectrums of age, professions, and gender, and an incredible documentary to show for it. As a rapper and director, what has your creative experience been like— switching gears between performing in front of the camera and directing from behind the camera?
  • Recently, you and Professor Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales, who is the founding director of Pin@y Educational Partnerships (PEP), joined forces to create the Pinay Rising Scholarship. How did this scholarship to fruition?
  • Since releasing Circa 91 in October 2017, you have been performing all over the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Seattle, Hawaii, Long Beach, and the Philippines, to name a few. From face to face interaction on-stage, to meeting fans after the show, what’s the most memorable part of your interactions with your audience?

Hip Hop teaches us to stay authentic to our truths, and to spark positive change, and every part of herself that she has offered to us through her music has planted seeds across generations. The turnout at Apple Union Square was so large that the venue hit maximum capacity, with a diverse crowd including creatives, educators, Hip Hop enthusiasts, titas, moms, families, and ten year-old Soluna Ibarra-Tacdol, who rapped every single word of “7000 Miles” for Ruby. (Video by @RDPDILLA. See Tweet:)

As a role model for many young Asian American and Filipina womxn, Ruby’s fearlessness to reach deeply into politics and culture at personal, local, and global levels within her music and her videos shapes Ruby as an iconic influence for our generation in a time of grave injustices across the United States. Keep making waves sis!

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Photo courtesy of Lauren Daus

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Hella recommended
Ruby Ibarra | Website / YouTube
Astralogik | Website / Instagram
Evelyn Obamos | Website
Pinay Rising Scholarship | Website
Pin@y Educational Partnerships (PEP) | Website

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