EZ Mil defends inaccuracy in ‘Panalo,’ insists he was bullied for being biracial

Coconuts Manila
·3 min read

Filipino-American rapper EZ Mil, who has gone viral for his performance of the song Panalo (“Win”), apologized for the historical inaccuracy in his work, where he said that Lapu-Lapu was beheaded in Cebu.

Also known as Ezekiel Miller, Mil said in an interview early this week that the false information was just a way to drive buzz for his song. Lapu-Lapu, considered in the Philippines as a hero, was a chieftain who killed the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521.

“[I]n terms of the rhyming pattern, I always go to this dilemma or doubt in my head in closing out a song. Am I gonna close it out with absolute truth or am I gonna make people talk about it?” he told vlogger Hbom Segovia in English and Filipino.

Read: Life on the drip: Tapping into a country’s color obsession

“That’s me putting an exaggerated term in a ploy to drive traffic and talk. It’s, like, inaccurate but he still died. He’s dead right now. It’s not overall factual in a way but still, like … the thing that is factual about that…[is] people were still saddened,” he said.

“And I’m sorry to anybody who was offended by the fact that me being…putting inaccurate sources about our history as Filipinos,” he added.

Panalo, an ultra-nationalistic song, attracted criticism because Mil wrote several lines where he was ranting about being discriminated against in the Philippines for being fair-skinned. Fair skin is considered a currency in the country; it is viewed as more attractive and may lead to numerous career opportunities. Dark-skinned Filipinos have also complained that they find it harder to date than their fair-skinned compatriots.

Prior to the pandemic, a number of whitening clinics had propped up all over the Philippines. Meanwhile, drug stores and pharmacies continue to sell glutathione supplements and creams that brighten one’s complexion.

Read: The Color of Money: In Philippine TV and film, white still equals green

Mil said that he was treated differently in the Philippines because he is half-white, or tisoy. His mother is Filipina while his father is Caucasian.

“I think it’s just different aspects of how people view it. At first like, the general people, mostly everyone back home, you are all tanned. That’s what they portray in the media. To be beautiful, you have to be fair…They might say that if you’re called tisoy, you’re like lucky,” he said.

“What I experienced from when I was a kid, kids didn’t talk to me just because of the fact that they think that they gonna have to speak English and…in the Philippines, people are mostly shy to speak English,” he added.

The rapper also rejected accusations that he was a Duterte Diehard Supporter because of a line in his song that said “Wag nang pag-usapan ang negatibo” (“Let’s not talk about anything negative”).

“I discuss problems. That’s just to being on a positive note sometimes. We don’t have to always discuss problems, bro,” he said.

“That means let’s not discuss the problems just for the time being. Let’s just have a good time, right now, in the song. But, of course, I’m gonna talk about problems,” he said.

Mil performed Panalo for Wish 1075’s YouTube channel where it was viewed almost 20 million times since it was uploaded a week ago. A graduate of St. Louis University in Baguio City, Mil was born in Olongapo and is currently based in Las Vegas.

This article, EZ Mil defends inaccuracy in ‘Panalo,’ insists he was bullied for being biracial, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.