Archive for Travis Payne

“They Don’t Really Care About Us”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 27, 2010 by kulturalguerilla

As a dancer and passionate Michael Jackson fan, just by the aesthetics alone, I was floored in amazement by this awesome performance. This is one of countless examples that Pin@ys are among the best damn dancers in the world. I give mad props to Travis Payne for even going to the Philippines and wanting to share with the inmates of Cebu Provincial Detention & Rehabilitation Center, the closest they’ll ever get to the dream of dancing with the late MJ. These prisoners, deemed criminals and banished from society, became international superstars from their now infamous YouTube performance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” all without ever leaving the prison industrial complex.

After the thrill and amazement from watching that performance, I find myself internally very conflicted. But I strongly feel that it needs to be part of our discourse as artists.

Now from a socio-political analysis, I can’t help but wonder about the sheer exploitation and abuse these prisoners go through, and in the end they get what, besides international fame? The only one I see reaping the material benefits from all of this is warden Byron Garcia. It’s very true that prison is a microcosm of society, where artists are among the most exploited by those in positions of power, like mainstream media. Like MJ said, “They Don’t Really Care About Us.”

I really would like to see if anything beyond just this video performance would happen to benefit the prisoners for their talents.

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