DAVAO CITY – Twenty six year-old rapper BLKD performed in a bar here Monday night for a benefit show for the schooling of indigenous people (IP) children.

In an interview with Davao Today, BLKD said this would be his first performance in the city.

BLKD, who organizes the annual rap battle league Flip Top battles in Davao with fellow rapper Anygma, said Flip Top Battles are more on exhibition matches and showing of skills of rappers.

“Pero yung career naman ng isang rapper ay yung paglikha ng kanyang musika at yung pagpopularisa ng kanyang mensahe (But the career of a rapper is making music and popularizing his message through it),” said BLKD.

BLKD said the main organizer of the event, Pele Navarro, was his mentor.

He said Navarro invited him to perform for the lumads (Mindanao IPs) and he didn’t hesitate to come.

“Siyempre mentor ko yan tsaka nakikiisa naman talaga tayo sa laban para sa karapatang pantao ng mga lumad (He was my mentor and we are in solidarity with the struggle for the human rights of the lumads),” he said.

Hundreds of youth flocked the Reggae Grill here on Monday night for the benefit concert.

Guests were not asked to pay entrance fee but donations such as school supplies and books were requested.

Local bands including Nairud sa Wabad, Kamaggong, Lost Tribe, Tortang Talong, South Breed and Kuntaw also performed.

BLKD, who also identifies himself as an activist, said his “serious rapping” is as young as Flip Top in the Philippines at five years.

BLKD told Davao Today that he joined a documentation team and listened to the stories of IP evacuees who are recently housed inside the United Church of Christ in the Philippines Haran compound.

“We visited them and documented their situation,” he said.

BLKD said he is not keen to details of the issue of the indigenous people but said the issue “made a mark among the netizens”.

He said he was shown where the commotion between the evacuees and the policemen happened last July 13.

“Parang lalong mas napalapit yung puso mo dun sa pinaglalaban mo kasi parang kelan lang pala yun tapos makikita mo yung mga bata, mga matatanda hirap sa sitwasyon nila (Your heart grows closer to what you are fighting for knowing that what took place happened recently and you see the children and the old who are having a difficult situation there),” he said.

Asked if he can comment about recent news that the IPs inside the church’s compound were “manipulated”, BLKD said he did not see them as such.

“Sa karanasan ko sa kanila, sa pakikisalamuha ko, hindi ko nakita na sila ay ginagamit (Based on my experiences and my encounters with them, I don’t see that they are being manipulated),” he said.

“Hindi logical yung ganung claim. Aminin na nating hindi komportable ang setting sa evacuation center kahit kanino, so hindi ka mag sa-sacrifice ng buong buhay mo, ng pang-araw araw mo, para lang sa mga imbento o na maging sunud-sunuran ka lang (It is illogical. Let’s admit that the situation inside an evacuation center is not comfortable for anyone. So you will not sacrifice your whole life, your daily life for the sake of make-up stories),” he said.

BLKD also said the claim is an “insult to IPs”.

“Ano bang tingin natin sa kanilang talino at pagpapasya? Offensive siya in many levels (How do we see their intelligence and their capacity to decide? It is offensive in many levels),” he said.

He said his name as a rapper, “has no deeper meaning” other than he loves how it sounds.

Balakid is a Filipino word for obstacle, but there seems to be no hindrance for BLKD’s passion to use music to forward his advocacies, including the rights of the indigenous peoples (IPs). (davaotoday.com)

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