The Coconut Connection

Recently, I had a blast spending part of my Sunday with Jade Fox and G Supreme of The Coconut Connection podcast. I have known G for a few years now, and meeting Jade for the first time was truly an honor. We talked about my research on colorism, understanding current race relations, and what are some strategies we can employ to start these difficult conversations with our families and friends. I’m on two different episodes. The links below connect you to Spotify. However, you can catch The Coconut Connection podcast on other platforms here.

While listening to Part I, The Huz had a few questions that he kindly requested I clarify. Here it goes… In our conversation, G and I talk about a film called Mano Po. The original film was released in 2002, but there are eight films in the series. In the episode, I described it as the Filipino version of Rocky. Upon more reflection, it’s really more like The Godfather (without the mob stuff) in that Mano Po focuses on family legacies. Specifically, the film centers on a Chinese-Filipino family. Yes, it was this film that forced me to think about the role of the Chinese community in the Philippines, and how their presence informs colorism within the FIlipinx community. In our conversation, I used the term Chinoy/Chinay (also referred to as Tsinoy/Tsinay). This simply refers to someone who is mixed Chinese-Filipino.

These were the only two points that The Huz had questions about. If there are any questions or points of clarification needed for either episode, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can leave a comment or email me directly at: joanne.rondilla@sjsu.edu.

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
San Mateo, CA

BLM & Skin Lightening

Kudos to Megha Rajagopalan for her current story on the BLM movement and cosmetics companies “rethinking” the sale and distribution of skin lightening products. It was a pleasure to chat about my own hesitations regarding the move. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the ways in which people are coming together to organize against racial justice. However, when major corporations declare that they will no longer sell skin lightening products, I am holding off on any major celebrations. The root of racism and inequality is capitalism. Historically, capitalist systems have ensured the subjugation of Black, Indigenous, and people of color. A single statement, followed by a donation, and a promise to “do better” does not hold a lot of weight for me. There’s too much money on the line and capitalism has always showed us that profit – not people – are central.

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
San Mateo, CA

White Pearl

Confession: I’m terrible at maintaining this site. Again, this story is about seven months late. As they say, better late than never. Back in October, I had a great conversation with journalist Kelly Ng about a play called White Pearl by Anchuli Felicia King. Until that conversation, I had not heard of the play (and I still don’t have my hands on this lovely thing). Ng’s original story of White Pearl was picked up by another journalist, N. Jamiyla Chisholm and featured on Colorlines. I’d love to hear from anyone who has seen this play (or has access to it). It sounds amazing!

on Huffington Post

This post is about two months too late. Apologies to the lovely Christine Bumatay, who wrote a very thoughtful and personal story about her experiences with using skin lightening products. You can read about it here. In addition, you should check out Christine’s piece about tourism, environmental waste, and its impact on local communities in the Philippines. Excellent work, Christine!

we’re on Vogue!

This has been the summer of pure blessings! (Sorry. I know that sounds so cliche.) I was recently contacted by Audrey Noble, a contributing writer for Vogue Magazine. She stated that she was writing a story on colorism in Asia and asked for an interview. After a short exchange, I agreed to answer some questions via email… and then time swept under me and I ended up voice recording my responses. Sigh. I’m a terrible respondent. Along with the voice recording, I sent the TFAL episode I was on, as well as a few written responses. Confession: I was super nervous about this piece because Vogue is a pretty big outlet and this is a pretty hefty story. In addition, I’m currently listening to Eliane Welteroth’s More than Enough, which amplified my feelings about Vogue! Anyhoo… I want to extend a HUGE thank you to Audrey Noble for her patience and hard work. You wrote a great piece and I hope this ignites more curiosities about the topic.

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
South San Francisco, CA

SM recommendations

Confession: I’m a media whore. I consume media any chance I get. Since becoming a supporter of CAAMedia, I have been able to watch some incredible films. Their annual film festival, which happens during the spring, features some if the best that Asian American filmmaking has to offer. In addition to the various newsletters I receive from CAAM, I take note of movie trailers and various social media that highlight up and coming films. This has been a pretty good year for diversity in filmmaking. In case you’re wondering, here’s what I’ve been watching. Depending on when you read this post, you may have to do some digging to access these works. Hope you’re able to catch some of these films!

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
San Mateo, CA

Mutiny Radio

After a humdrum July 4th holiday, The Huz and I made our way to the Mission to meet Roman Rimer of Mutiny Radio. Roman hosts a weekly radio show called The Weekly Review. We were introduced by a mutual friend, Shirley F. Rivera, the mastermind behind Anthrocubeology and An Improvised Life. In truth, I wasn’t sure what to expect with this radio appearance. In the end, I had a great time talking to Roman about various topics such as colorism, the beauty industry, Vincent Chin, my love for Duran Duran, and so much more. I come in after the 15-minute mark and we chat for the rest of the show. Enjoy!

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
South San Francisco, CA

TFAL Podcast: Episode 88

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hanging out (virtually) with the incredible team at This Filipino American Life Podcast. I’ve been listening to the podcast on and off for about a year now. Joe Bernardo, one of the hosts, is a friend from college. I knew him as a youngin’ when we were at UC Santa Barbara together. That he is involved with this podcast makes perfect sense. Joe has always been invested in and curious about the various textures of Filipino/American life.

I was so happy to be part of this episode because it allowed me to discuss further, some of the issues that weren’t covered in the Refinery29 story. Since it aired, I have received a tremendous amount of love and support from people who felt connected to the topic. For that, I am very grateful. Again, many thanks to Joe, Elaine, Ryan, and Mike of This Filipino American Life Podcast for the lovely conversation and share.

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
San Mateo, CA

coffee stories

As I was listening to an episode of This Filipino American Life, I learned that my FAVORITE coffee shop carries Philippine coffee. (As of this writing, it’s unavailable, but I’m keeping my eye out on you, Andytown!) After listening to the show, I found this story by Corazon Padilla, Andytown’s Director of Quality Control. I’m sure we all have a coffee story to share. Here, Padilla explains a brief history of Philippine coffee in the U.S. that pre-dates Starbucks. Fascinating! Cheers to your morning cuppa joe and the pan de sal you’re dunking into it.

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
South San Francisco, CA

on Refinery29

A few months ago, I was invited to be interviewed by Refinery29, a multi-media news outlet that focuses on stories that concern young women. They run a series called Shady, and were producing an episode on skin lightening products in the Philippines. I was really impressed by the team’s ability to visit and conduct interviews overseas. Their enthusiasm and curiosity was clear throughout the process. While the issue of skin tone hierarchy and discrimination is a vast one, I’m always happy with any interest surrounding it.

The interview process was a little lengthy because the team was juggling budget and location issues. After a little back and forth, we managed to meet in Southern California, where I was interviewed for about two hours. This, on top of the pre-vetting in the very beginning, I spent just under three hours total with the team. I mention this because I have received a number of comments about the feature. Please note that interviewees do not have say over the final story. Also, the feature is meant to function as a simple taste into the larger issue. If anything, this experience really inspired me to go forward the research because there is a lot to say and the Refinery29 story just scratched the surface.

The video is below, and you can find the corresponding story here. Enjoy!

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
South San Francisco, CA