Whenever we hear news of a global celebrity who has Filipino blood, two things happen. Half of the group proclaims their pride that a kababayan has made it big, while the other makes fun of the first group and asks why they’re proud. The mockery has become so bad that people are more careful expressing their delight at seeing someone succeed in Hollywood or in any international platform. But why the hate?
We understand the comments if there’s only a drop of Filipino blood, but this also happens to actors who are prominently Filipino and who acknowledge their ancestry. Take for example, Darren Criss, who won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film for The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story in 2018.
He acknowledged his Cebuana mother in his speech. He said, “As we’ve seen it’s been a marvelous year for representation in Hollywood, and I am so enormously proud to be a teeny, tiny part of that as the son of a firecracker Filipino woman from Cebu that dreamed of coming to this country and getting to be invited to cool parties like this. Mom, I know you’re watching this, you are hugely responsible for most of the good things in my life. I love you dearly and I dedicate this to you.”
When we reported the story, the comments section was flooded with people who kept saying “Pinoy Pride posts coming in 3… 2… 1…” The thing was, nothing appeared. And so what if they did?
What’s wrong with celebrating someone who has Filipino blood who made it to an international stage? Just like how Asians felt represented with the success of Crazy Rich Asians, seeing celebrities being recognized in Hollywood and other platforms makes us feel seen. It’s as if they’re telling us that “I made it on the global stage. You can, too.” This is especially true for public figures who proclaim their heritage.
Of course, we can’t talk about this topic without touching on privilege. Many of these people were able to migrate and make it big because they had connections or are able to afford to. We should also recognize those who were able to achieve success simply through hard work and determination, but we shouldn’t discount the victory of those who grew up with privilege. Their triumph, especially if they are proud of their Filipino roots, is our triumph.
Most importantly, let people enjoy things. If they’re proud that Darren Criss won a Golden Globe, let them. There’s no need to bring them down.