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Rapper Ruby Ibarra’s WIP: A COVID-19 vaccine (and a new album)


I’m not usually the first person to blindly type “Pinoy pride!!!!” every time a form of Western-dominated media had Filipino crumbs in it, but this is an exception: Ruby Ibarra’s not just a rapper, she’s also a woman of science.

She’s mostly known for her sold-out performances with her eight-person band, the Balikbayans, and “Us,” the ultimate morena anthem featuring three other female Filipino rappers.

But what many fans don’t know is that she’s also a scientist, which she recently revealed on Twitter.

“Since March, we work with coronavirus assays and have been helping with the test kits and now working towards a vaccine,” she wrote. “I shower immediately when I get home & throw my clothes in the hamper. I’m not tryna die at this job!”

She also took the opportunity to educate her followers on mask etiquette and reminded them that this pandemic is real as eff.

The US currently has the most COVID-19 cases recorded, at 4.85 million as of writing. On top of countless protests over masks, it’s no surprise that Ruby takes this very seriously, expressing her concerns in a chat with California-based news outlet SFGate.

“I’ll try to say this in a more calm way, and not be my usual pissed self about it,” she told SFGate. “But it really is upsetting and alarming whenever I go out in public and I see people without masks.”

This unapologetically outspoken energy seems consistent on both her social media accounts and creative works, as she champions Filipino culture in her rap verses (hopefully in her upcoming second album, too) and openly speaks up about issues she cares about―the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality and racial inequality.

“I’ve always been a firm believer in that if you have a platform, you should definitely use it to your advantage and make sure that you’re speaking for the people who feel like they don’t have a voice,” she told SFGate. “If I can be an artist that can help start the dialogue for these conversations, I’m more than willing to take that on.”

Whether she’s an artist who translates her views and advocacies into music or a scientist working on a vaccine, Ruby is making a difference in a world that continues to combat other issues on top of a pandemic.


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Still from “Us” MV



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