Just to be clear: this is not us endorsing an alleged transphobic artist who is dropping his music on a global streaming service.
This is us reporting the fact that, while local rapper Erich Gabriel Bongon, better known as Young Vito, had taken flak for some less-than-tolerant, LGBT-unfriendly lyrics early in December — which he subsequently apologized for — that same song was still greenlit by music label Viva Records, and was just released today on Spotify.
In the offending rap song’s first incarnation, Vito talks about meeting a beautiful woman while drinking at a bar. During the course of the two-minute song he talks about their flirtation, and how, while dancing, he felt something “stab his leg” that was “hard as a baton,” before cursing in surprise and, well, you get where this is going — she turns out to be transgender.
Save for being cleaned up of expletives, the newly released song’s actual offending lyrics remain intact. Titled “Awit” (“Song”), Vito playfully describes it as “awit may lawit,” which translates to “the song of a person with something dangling down there.”
Back in early December, actress Jasmine Curtis-Smith called out the rapper for the flagrantly retrograde lyrics after she learned about their trashy content on Twitter (as you do).
“Is there a problem if there are beautiful [women] who have something dangling? I think there’s something wrong with you. It will be 2020 soon, stop this narrow-mindedness, please,” Curtis-Smith said.
Anong problema mo sa mga magagandang may lawit?
Ikaw ata may mali. Mag 2020 na soon, tigilan na yang pagkakitid ng utak pls.
Report this BS. https://t.co/tuBWvKk7En
— Jasmine (@jascurtissmith) December 6, 2019
A flurry of comments from other netizens supported the actress’s sentiments.
Feeling the heat, Vito took down his post on Twitter and publicly apologized, saying, “My recent video drew a lot of attention recently for both the right and wrong reasons.”
“I want to apologize to anyone [whom] I have offended with my lyrics for the video. At the time, it seemed like a small thing to mention. But I have recently found out how much words can personally affect other people. For this, I am sorry.”
Despite the controversy, the up-and-coming rapper from Parañaque was given a deal by Viva Records, a major studio, in December, which led to the song’s mainstream release. Neither Viva Records nor Young Vito has yet to comment on the fresh wave of controversy unleashed by the song.
Remember the guy who made an entire song perpetuating stigma against trans women (that we exist only to deceive people)?
Well he has a record label now + his transphobic song is now being monetized and I’m just in disbelief.
Nakakapagod naman lumaban para sa sarili namin. pic.twitter.com/BXKT7AlKM3
— Gigi on YouTube (@gigiesguerra) January 17, 2020
As transwoman influencer Gigi Esguerra was compelled to point out on Twitter today: “Remember the guy who made an entire song perpetuating stigma against trans women (that we exist only to deceive people)? Well he has a record label now + his transphobic song is now being monetized and I’m just in disbelief.”
“It’s getting tiring to fight for ourselves,” Esguerra added.
Now please, remind us again, Young Vito, how sorry were you?
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This article, Despite being slammed for transphobic lyrics, FIlipino rapper’s song streams on Spotify, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!