Saweetie's advice to Fil-Am artists: 'Embrace your culture'

Leah C. Salterio

Posted at Apr 29 2023 11:10 AM

Saweetie is set to perform at the FIBA World Cup draw
Saweetie is set to perform at the FIBA World Cup draw

MANILA -- Grammy-nominated Fil-American artist Saweetie is in Manila to perform at the FIBA World Cup draw later Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Saweetie, who proudly embraces her Filipino-Chinese and African-American heritage, first came to visit the Philippines a decade ago with her Filipina mom.

“I knew I had to come back,” Saweetie told ABS-CBN News.

She arrived Thursday in Manila and by Friday noon, when she met the local press at Shangri-La at the Fort, she was in her lilac Francis Libiran dress.

“I love that my team was such a joy to work with,” Saweetie said, acknowledging her glam team in Manila. “At around 11 p.m. on the night I arrived [Thursday], they literally brought the dress and tailored it to my body.

“I love our team and I can’t wait to collaborate with them again in the future.”

For her other functions, Saweetie has two other custom outfits designed for her, so that will give her two other looks.

In her first visit to the Philippines, Saweetie was able to visit Boracay, Cebu, Palawan and Manila.

When she was invited to perform at the World Cup event, she was immediately excited and didn’t have to pass up. “Absolutely,” Saweetie said. “Count me in. It was a no-brainer for me.”

Born Diamonté Quiava Valentin Harper, Saweetie headlines the performers at the FIBA World Cup draw, along with local artists Billy Crawford and Sarah Geronimo.

Although she grew up in two families, Saweetie is undoubtedly proud about her Filipino-Chinese mom, Trinidad Valentin, who hails from Tondo. Her African-American father is Johnny Harper.

“As a child, my mom was really hard on me,” Saweetie disclosed. “She was a tiger mom. But I’m really happy that she was strict. She cared about my future. It made me the woman that I am today. I really love her.”

Saweetie is set to bring her unique blend of music and style to the prestigious FIBA World Cup draw.

This performance will be a homecoming of sorts for Saweetie, as she connects with her mother's Filipino roots and celebrates her diverse background in the Philippines.

Since her breakthrough in 2017, Saweetie, who is a rapper, singer and songwriter, has released numerous successful singles and albums, garnering a loyal fanbase and solidifying her status as a leading force in the music industry.

Known for chart-topping hits like “My Type,” “Best Friend” and her debut single, “Icy Girl,” which are visually stunning, Saweetie takes her creative process seriously. Even her live shows are consistently captivating.

“I love mood boarding and researching,” Saweetie admitted. “I create my own mood board and give it to my director who brings my vision to life.

“I’m really appreciative and my director knows it. It takes days to come up with treatment.”

Saweetie proudly carries the Filipino culture to her music videos. “The Filipino culture, my DNA, is in my roots and I was raised in a traditional household,” Saweetie said.

“I’m proud of that. It made me the woman that I am today. I’m proud of my heritage.”

Growing up in two different families, it was really frustrating as a little girl for Saweetie. “As I got older, I reflect. It taught me that no two groups are the same, but you have to respect the two cultures.

“That was a big advantage for me. It didn’t limit how I viewed the world. I’m grateful to have experienced two cultures that are important to me.”

Saweetie is indeed proud about her Filipino roots. “Every time I travel to the city, there is like a Filipino tita or nanay who cooks me pancit,” she said.

Her advice to upcoming Fil-Am artists is to embrace the culture. “I feel like sometimes, when Filipinos come to America, they have to embrace the American culture,” Saweetie said.

“That makes us so special, where we come from. I love that my mom taught me some of the core values as a little girl and that stayed with me.

“We should all be proud of where we came from because if it wasn’t for the homeland, we’re not going to be what we are today and that’s what makes us unique.”

On Sunday, Saweetie is set to return to Palawan, where her mom took her 10 years ago.

“I’m really excited to see what has changed there,” she said. “The food, the water, the staff are all so amazing there, so I can’t wait to go back.

“I was also telling my team I want to get a condo in Manila. I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but I love to have a home here.

“I wasn’t born here in the Philippines, but my mom is. She thinks so much part of being a Filipina. She always tells me, ‘You need to tell the world where you are from, girl.’

“I really love that all of you guys are loving me, feeling me, embracing me and protecting me. It’s such an honor to be here again.”

Saweetie is working on her new album, her make-up line, my hair line. “I like to do things that are organic to me,” she granted.

After the Philippines, Saweetie is headed for the Kentucky Derby and then in Miami, Florida for the Formula 1 grand prix.

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