Audacious: Proudly Claiming His Filipino Heritage

A #FilipinoAmerican Story as told by the King of Latin Soul, Joe Bataan. Read his full story below:“My father gave me my real name, Bataan Nitollano. He thought it was a strong name and was always proud of it. When the movies with John Wayne came out, like Fight of Bataan and The Blood of Bataan, he took it as a chance to introduce me to some of our history. I grew up in a neighborhood with mostly black and Latino people, and they assumed that my name was a Spanish word they just never heard before. When I was 18, I began to wonder about who the heck I was, but there were no Filipinos I could turn to. When I first started to record, I changed my name to Joe Bataan, so people would not associate me with my gangster past. I was in my early 30s when I came out with my album, Afrofilipino, to show everybody who I was. I never hid that I was Filipino, but people had assumed I was Puerto Rican or something, because of what my music had been until then—Latin boogaloo, doo-wop, funk, and salsa. In my 50s, I met Fred Cordova, I started to feel that I belonged. He and his family opened me up to an entire community! I am overwhelmed to be honored by fellow Filipino Americans for what I’ve made of my life. I feel blessed to have great success from around the world. Let me tell you, this is my father's dream. If he was alive today, I would see that smile on his face. I’m that little guy who grew up with a black mother and a Filipino father in Harlem and was able to get a piece of the pie! A few years ago, I performed at the Malasimbo Music Festival in the Philippines where some 5,000 youngsters came to watch. We tore the place down! There, I saw a lot of talent and realized that these musicians never get to leave the island! My dream is to have a world stage for Filipinos and share what we can do. I am inspired by today’s young people who step up to the plate and don’t just accept what’s given to them. They are not scared to make waves. You need to learn to accept what was given to you, know that's what you are entitled to, and go through that next step, because, damn right, you can!"About: Filipino American Disruptors is a month-long storytelling initiative powered by NextDayBetter x AARP AAPI Community celebrating the stories of Filipino Americans in a range of disciplines from community activism to tech entrepreneurship. These forward-thinking individuals are trendsetters, trailblazers, and problem-solvers in their respective fields, helping to push America and the Filipino American community forward through their leadership, creativity, and innovation. #FAHM #FAHM2017Music by: Joe Bataan - Afrofilipino (Ordinary Guy) AARP California AARP Hawaii AARP New York AARP Washington

Posted by AARP AAPI Community on Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Audacious: Proudly Claiming His Filipino Heritage

A #FilipinoAmerican Story as told by the King of Latin Soul, Joe Bataan.

“My father gave me my real name, Bataan Nitollano. He thought it was a strong name and was always proud of it. When the movies with John Wayne came out, like Fight of Bataan and The Blood of Bataan, he took it as a chance to introduce me to some of our history. I grew up in a neighborhood with mostly black and Latino people, and they assumed that my name was a Spanish word they just never heard before. When I was 18, I began to wonder about who the heck I was, but there were no Filipinos I could turn to.

When I first started to record, I changed my name to Joe Bataan, so people would not associate me with my gangster past. I was in my early 30s when I came out with my album, “Afrofilipino,” to show everybody who I was. I never hid that I was Filipino, but people had assumed I was Puerto Rican or something, because of what my music had been until then—Latin boogaloo, doo-wop, funk, and salsa.

In my 50s, I met Fred Cordova, I started to feel that I belonged. He and his family opened me up to an entire community! I am overwhelmed to be honored by fellow Filipino Americans for what I’ve made of my life. I feel blessed to have great success from around the world. Let me tell you, this is my father’s dream. If he was alive today, I would see that smile on his face. I’m that little guy who grew up with a black mother and a Filipino father in Harlem and was able to get a piece of the pie!

A few years ago, I performed at the Malasimbo Music Festival in the Philippines where some 5,000 youngsters came to watch. We tore the place down! There, I saw a lot of talent and realized that these musicians never get to leave the island! My dream is to have a world stage for Filipinos and share what we can do.

I am inspired by today’s young people who step up to the plate and don’t just accept what’s given to them. They are not scared to make waves. You need to learn to accept what was given to you, know that’s what you are entitled to, and go through that next step, because, damn right, you can!

About:
Filipino American Disruptors is a month-long storytelling initiative powered by NextDayBetter x AARP AAPI Community celebrating the stories of Filipino Americans in a range of disciplines from community activism to tech entrepreneurship. These forward-thinking individuals are trendsetters, trailblazers, and problem-solvers in their respective fields, helping to push America and the Filipino American community forward through their leadership, creativity, and innovation.

NextDayBetter Storyteller: Candice Quimpo

Music by: Joe Bataan – AfroFilipino (Ordinary Guy)