SOUNDS FAMILIARBaby A. Gil – The Philippine Star

September 22, 2021 | 12:00am

The lovely hip-hop star Saweetie was one of the most talked about and I must add, most looked-at celebrities at the recent Costume Institute Gala held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York last Sept. 13.

This is in spite of the fact that almost all of the biggest names in the arts, fashion, entertainment, sports, etc. attended the event. The reason was because Saweetie’s fantastic look for the evening chose to honor her Filipino and Black American roots.

Saweetie is a singer, rapper, songwriter, social media influencer and occasional actress, currently on the verge of superstardom. She is the new face of Mac cosmetics. She has Platinum-selling hits like High Maintenance, My Type and Tap In.

Saweetie’s latest recording Best Friend featuring Doja Cat, was a winner at the recent MTV Video Music Awards for Best Art Direction. Her first full-length studio album, Pretty Bitch Music, is due for release soon on her own Icy label.

Saweetie is 28 years old. She was born Diamonte Quiava Valentin Harper in California. How her name became Saweetie I still have to find out. Her father is the Black American former football player Johnny Harper and her mother is the beautiful Filipino model Trinidad Valentin. And I mean Mommy beautiful as the pics I saw online show.

It was a close-knit family where her grandmother took care of Saweetie while her parents worked. Music, particularly hip-hop, was a part of her life from the start. The rap legend MC Hammer of U Can’t Touch This fame is an uncle, while her mother was featured in some hip-hop music videos, including Ride wit Me by Nelly and What The Really Want by DMX featuring SisQuo.

Now back to the Met Gala, which is one glamorous event. This is the first time that Saweetie was invited and she wanted to be true to this year’s theme, America, a Lexicon of Fashion. So she showed up in simple make-up with a jeweled platinum hairdo, diamond chandelier earrings and a stunning red gown studded with 10 million crystals.

Created by Christian Cowan, the glittery dress had a cut-out bodice, tight skirt with a long slit and two long panels on both sides. One panel had the red and black colors of the Black American flag. The other one had the red, white, blue and yellow colors of the Filipino flag. When asked about what those colors meant to her, Saweetie told interviewers that being black and Filipino is what makes her an American girl.

Very well put and although Pinoys only got one panel and I do not know how Filipino Saweetie was while growing up, she does make all of us proud.

Now, if J. Rey Soul were wearing those two panels, those will be both in our red, white and blue with sparkling stars. This is because although her father, who she never met, was black American, J. Rey Soul is Filipino in every way.

J. Rey Soul grew up as Jessica Reynoso in Pampanga. She was discovered by Black Eyed Pea during his stint as a coach in The Voice Philippines. Jessica sang, spun his chair around and that was it. The door to international stardom has opened for Jessica.

J. Rey Soul did not win The Voice. She won the Black Eyed Peas instead, who recruited her for their Masters of the Sun, Vol. 1 project. She next joined the famous group on tour and two years ago was featured in two notable tracks in the album Translation, Tonta Love and Mamacita with Latino superstar Ozuna.

And now the Peas have given J. Rey Soul the most important break of all, her very own single. Titled Pull Up, it is a funky dance track with some hip-hop thrown into it. The song is a collaboration with the great Pea, will. and features the legendary Nile Rodgers of the disco group Chic.

That is quite a line-up, one guaranteed for J. Rey Soul to make it big. In fact, Pull Up is already on its way. The track was recently chosen as the theme of the new promo campaign of Mercedes Benz. That is huge. I have a feeling that come next Met Gala, one of those we will be watching is J. Rey Soul.

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