AJ Rafael, FilAm singer and songwriter to host “A Night of “‘Pinoy’tainment”

by Jay Domingo, PDM Staff Writer

NEW YORK – This Sunday, August 29, at 10:30 p.m. EST (7:30 p.m. PST), AJ Rafael, singer and songwriter and a well-known Filipino American in the entertainment industry, will host A Night of “Pinoy”tainment at The Ford Theater in Los Angeles.

The show will feature Jules Aurora, JR De Guzman, Erick Esteban, Ruby Ibarra, Lila Hart, Jasmine Rafael, VJ Rosales, Kaba Modern, Rex Navarete and Apl.de.ap. Ted Benito, a producer at the Ford Theater, crafted the idea for this show. Rafael said that Benito had known everyone in the Filipino American entertainment industry for several years.

The show was canceled last year, and Benito invited some of the greatest Filipino American talents to participate in this Sunday night’s “‘Pinoy”tainment.”

AJ Rafael ” Screengrabbed from the video “Our Friend, Larry Itliong

As a singer and songwriter, Rafael recently composed Our Friend, Larry Itliong, a music video, to honor Filipino American labor leader Larry Itliong, one of the leaders who led the historic 1965 Delano Grape Strike, which paved the way to the passage of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act in 1975.

In the video, Rafael describes Itliong as a 15-year-old Filipino immigrant who came to America to study law in the music video. Instead, he became a farmworker and worked in Alaska, Washington state, and California for small money. He worked under poor conditions and lost three fingers, earning him the monicker “Seven Fingers.”

Rafael came to know the life of the famed labor leader by reading the book Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong, written by Dawn Bohulano Mabalon and Gayle Romasanta and illustrated by Andre Sibayan. Although a children’s book, it allows adults to read about one of the earlier Filipino Americans called “Manongs” who came to America in the 1920s.

Rafael filmed the video in Delano, San Jose, where a park was recently named Delano Manongs Park. In the video, Rafael raps to communicate to a younger audience.

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