Fil-Am YouTube stars unite vs bullying

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Jul 03 2014 12:35 PM | Updated as of Jul 03 2014 08:35 PM

TORRANCE, California – Music can be a reflection for the soul, for the good, and the bad.

In this case, Fil-Am musician Brenna Bates and his band "Above Seclusion" like to express some life experiences, including being bullied.

'All of us were bullied. It was called 'Above Seclusion' because we were basically above secluding people into groups because that’s how people got bullied," said Bates.

Before he became a renowned YouTube anime pianist followed by hundreds of thousands, Philippine-born Ishmael Ramos was also a bullying victim as he perfected his craft.

"The anime culture in general is very unique. It’s very extreme. So when I was a kid, I watched anime. I was bullied in high school, middle school, and as a musician we’re very emotional," recalled Ramos.

They will join other acts popular in the anime community at this Thursday’s AniPiano at the Downtown Los Angeles Club Nokia.

Proceeds from the upcoming AniPiano concert event will help fund Jade Against Bullying, a campaign that educates on, and prevents bullying, founded by a Filipino-American Jade Archer, a once suicidal bullying victim turned advocate.

"I really want to expand against bullying. I really want to open up a term center one day where kids can be who they are and express themselves and I want to see bullying go away," said Archer.

The benefit concert comes as several cities are trying to find ways to combat bullying within their own communities.

Last week Rancho Santa Margarita, California introduced an anti-bullying ordinance, but passing laws to punish bullies can be difficult. The heavily Pinoy populated city of Carson was unsuccessful in criminalizing bullying last May.

An appeals court this week struck down an ordinance in Albany County, NY because language in the law aimed to criminalize bullying violates the constitution.

"Nothing is being done and it’s just so heartbreaking to see because if one city can pass it, it would make such an impact," Archer said.