Kris "BerjaBeatz" Berja is an up-and-coming producer based out of San Francisco, California. Born and raised in The City, Kris is currently pursuing the craft of music production—consistently releasing beats and collaborating with local artists. We open this episode with a beat he threw together IN 15 MINUTES—dude can work fast. We also have a few more freestyle sessions throughout our talk, with Kris walking through his process of producing beats, from finding a melody that he likes to building the percussion of the song. This one is a fun and bouncy episode!
Aristel "Aristyles" De La Cruz is a Filipino American rapper, producer, poet, and teacher. Born and raised in San Francisco, he developed a love for hip hop through community exposure and cyphers, leading him to release multiple projects and collaborate with various local musicians, like Mister REY. As an alumnus of Balboa High School, he eventually returned there to teach an ethnic studies class through Pin@y Educational Partnerships (PEP). This experience solidified his desire to pursue a career in education. Graduating from San Francisco State University—like 80% of the other guests on this podcast—he worked in various local schools, before establishing himself at South San Francisco High School. Over the years, he's taught Ethnic Studies at this campus, eventually transitioning into his current focus of teaching English Language Development (ELD) to multiple grades.
Kim Davalos is an accomplished Filipina American educator, community artist, and counselor. Born and raised in Stockton, California, she moved quickly through academia, finishing her undergrad at San Diego State University and her Masters in Counseling at San Francisco State University—all by the age of 21. At the same time, she worked on her craft as a poet—participating in open mics and winning a slam competition during her undergrad—eventually taking on photography as well. She's currently working as a counselor at Skyline College. She teaches for CIPHER, the first West Coast hip hop learning community in the country. Using hip hop as a platform to engage students and promote academic success, she's now taking on the position of lead Coordinator for Rock the School Bells—a conference that uses hip hop and arts to engage and empower youth to excel in higher education.
Patrick Racela is a Filipino musician and community organizer based out of San Francisco. Originally from Pittsburgh, California, Pat shares his transition from student to organizer throughout his years at San Francisco State University. He became politicized though the League of Filipino Students (LFS) at SFSU and was also a member of the historic Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor (PACE). Currently, he works as a coordinator for Kabataan at the Filipino Community Center—a high school youth program—while also organizing for Kabataan Alliance, a national coalition of various youth and student organizations across the United States. In this episode, Pat shares a few raps and poems inspired by his life experiences and political education. We also talk about his various community exposure trips throughout the Philippines with Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network and his continuing advocacy work for Filipino issues and concerns.
Rey Timosa Novicio Jr. is a Pinoy musician, producer, community mentor, and mental health advocate. He goes by the stage name of Mister REY and has released both instrumental and solo albums. He also recently produced the whole Native Immigrant album of Ro3lay. Born and raised in Makati, Philippines, he immigrated to the US when he was 12 and moved into the Mission District of San Francisco. He participated in multiple youth programs such as Youth Speaks and has now transitioned into the role of facilitator. He has coordinated afterschool programs in the South of Market (SOMA) neighborhood—some specifically targeting at-risk 1st generation Filipino American you who were on probation. He has used music to support and youth and provide spaces for expression and growth. Currently, he’s the Program Coordinator for Filipino Mental Health Initiative, an organization based out of the Bayanihan Resource Center, which aims to provide community services and end the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Kevyn Lorenza just came back from his first trip in the Philipines! He was able to visit different communities in Luzon and Mindanao, with the specific goal of learning about the education system and the struggles of the various sectors in the country. He went with Laya Migrant Youth for Change and Action, based out of Daly City, and this episode has a few reflections on the trip, specifically about the struggles of the Aeta and Lumad communities. Our local hosts in the Philippines were PSET and Salupongan International. We talk about the shifting educational system with K-12, the problems in indigenous communities, and the exposure to martial law in Mindanao.