Welcome to another edition of #WCW!! This week it was really dope to catch up with my friend and fellow US Army Soldier, Bethany Faasili. We met a couple years back in RSP training for the Hawaii Army National Guard. I’ve been out of the service for a year, choosing other career pursuits. But Bethany Faasili is a full time active duty soldier, currently stationed in Mississippi. She is a single mother, raising her son “Mana.”
She answered some questions I had for her via video chat. Check it out below!!
"Moving to Mississippi and being here as a single mother with absolutely no family and an amount of people my son and i actually interact with on one hand, im really proud. Its not just a culture shock, its another world I've enetered and I've brought my son along this journey. This state has taught me so much patience and how acceptance and kindness goes a far way between people of race. Ive brought here what any island person would have, aloha. The impact these people feel my son and I have made here feels incredible and I see how not having support and being consistently disappointed have thrown away morale in each individual in work and on the streets, so i gave my job all I've got. My time here has been so life changing. I'm a professional Human Resources Sergeant and all i had to do was follow through with my word for each one and listen to each problem and give them the chance that they felt no one else has given. Ive received 4 awards and 4 recognition coins while I'm here. Ive been brought forward in front of all those I work for and work with to be appreciated more than I could count. Looking back and thinking about all the eyes on me and smiles and genuine appreciation is the great feeling. My command called me relentless and a huge asset to the Army. I only hope that my son will look up to me and see someone he loves and feels encoraged by. to do what you can do for others in life and how much it does for yourself. To me, its not what you do, its how you make with what you do. I'm leaving mississippi this year and I'm so ready to watch myself grow in my career and impact more everyday. The traveling too!"
- Bethany Faasili
Welcome to the second installment of #WomanCrushWednesday here on #OTDHipHop blog. As I mentioned in last week’s article, I started this segment to help share the stories of all the inspiring women in my life. This week, I had a great time chatting with my friend Lanimie “LaLa” Datulayta. She is a 22-year old Barbizon graduate and aspiring music manager from Hawaii, who recently moved to Georgia. We discussed her upbringing as a local girl of Filipino descent, her longtime involvement in music and writing, and life as an ambitious single mother.
LaLa has been singing, writing songs, and dancing since she was a little girl. While her passion is in music itself, she is now focused on her career in Artist Management. Throughout the course of 2016, LaLa developed her professional network in Hawaii by attending shows and meeting various people in the local music scene, but she particularly grew towards hip hop artists and rappers. To date, she has managed Hawaii-based artists Nino Black and Czah V; and along with her friend and fellow Artist Manager Kayla Ferrell, supervised Astro Guillotine.
Jehzan: Hawaii’s music market are primarily reggae listeners, with the younger audiences geared more towards EDM. Why did you choose to link up more with hip hop artists & rappers versus other genres?
LaLa: That is a big question for me because it is why I chose to move to Georgia. Growing up in Hawaii and navigating through the local music scene, I have found nothing but a melting pot of talent. Hawaii is already known for its reggae and hawaiian music, but there is more to Hawaii’s narrative than just love songs and ukuleles. Personally, I felt compelled towards the music and stories of the hip hop artists and rappers I’ve met because they speak on other sides of living in Hawaii. There is huge talent in the local scene as well as the artists who come from the mainland for military or other purposes. I feel like now more than ever, Hawaii is closest to becoming known for its hip hop and rap music on a grander scale. We just need that “break out” artist, and I’m rooting for every local hip hop artist in the scene right now.
Jehzan: Do you have anything you'd like to share regarding your family and/or other strong people in your life?
LaLa: I want to include the fact that I wouldn't have been able to successfully have pursued my dreams in the music business without the BIGGEST help & support from my sons Grandma Trixy Tambaoan. Through my endeavors, she has taken on the roll of becoming my sons guardian as I continue to pursue this career path of mine.
Jehzan: You mention a lot of females in your life that helped shape you. Did you grow up around a lot of women?
LaLa: My sisters played a big role as well when it came to my upbringing. They helped form the responsible & strong headed female I am today. They showed me how to be a woman & the definition of strong female figures in my life.
Shouts out to this week’s #WomanCrushWednesday, “LaLa!”
Personally, I really relate to LaLa’s story especially how she is choosing to pursue her dreams despite what anyone thinks of her as being a “young single mom.” I’m sure that as LaLa gets more settled into her new home in Georgia, she will definitely be making strides for more ambitious young artists and professionals like herself to take their careers to the next level. I was raised by my single mother who has also faced similar backlash, but there is something about a woman’s ambition and relentlessness to achieve what she wants that attracts me and inspires me every day.
If you’re an artist interested in management or consultation,
please contact LaLa via email firstname.lastname@example.org
and/or follow her Instagram @LaLanimie.
The ‘Woman Crush Wednesday’ segment is something I’ve always wanted to do on #OTDHipHop but never made it consistent. The first homegirl I featured was my friend Tiana G, who was studying abroad in South Korea last year. The purpose of WCW on this blog is to showcase the strong and amazing women in my life and give them a platform to say what they want to say in a safe space. Also, as a female in the hip hop community myself, this is my way of giving women a platform to be themselves. Lastly, women inspire me in many ways and I hope by sharing some of their stories, I am able to help empower them and shed light on things they care about.
Jehzan: Your Instagram has certain rules, especially when it comes to "cyber-bullying" or disrespect. What inspires you to keep sharing your message via "provocative" or "sexual" photos despite the backlash from account users or the platform itself?
Ebone: I like the image of myself. I have always loved being sexy. I know that I am, I can't hide it on a bad day. Sexy is not a look or certain way of dressing. I just happen to like to be nude or dress proactively. I've become passionate of sharing that with other women because society has created a world that hates a confident, strong, and sexy woman who controls her own sexuality. Rape culture is a real thing and needs to be reversed.
Jehzan: Do you do other things in the community to promote your message?
Ebone: Currently I just speak to women and I’m very vocal with the women I come in contact with in life. In the near future, myself and an acquaintance along with other women in my community are planning to do outreach in schools for young women to help build self-confidence.
Jehzan: Aside from music, you and your wife actually run a business. How is the body/relaxation business going?
Ebone: It is going well actually. I am taking the business on the road this summer and will be selling body products on upcoming YDP's tour. And I’m excited to grow and expand. The cannabis side came from experimenting. I needed oils for myself and they worked so well I decided to sell them for a cheaper price than the cannabis clubs do.
You might've seen Ebone in my music video "Morning Vybez," which was directed & edited by her wife and my good friend YDP.
Shouts out to this week's #WomanCrushWednesday Ebone!!
I personally look forward to seeing how her message/movement grows in the near future, as well as all the work her and YDP put in with music and those awesome homemade body/relaxation products!
If anyone is interested in purchasing their bath bombs, you may follow Ebone via Instagram @iluvmyskin or contact her via email.
OTDHipHop is an independent music blog and network, curated by Rapper/Blogger Jehzan Exclusive.