"The Promise"... HYPE song recording...

676 (Neti Taumoepeau wrote and composed a song for the HYPE MOVEMENT called The Promise which she plans to release as her first single of her upcoming album to be released in 2009. The Promise incorporates the voices of our young people as they promise to live their dreams and reach their greatest potential

It was a wonderful experience for all those who were involved. The young ones loved being able to go into the studio and record their parts and also get to listen to themselves afterwards. It was truly an empowering experience for them and for us!

The Bolonga Fungi film crew was also their to film the whole experience and also to conduct some interviews with the parents and children involved.

Stay tuned for the video...coming soon...

Many thanks to all who were part of making this possible! I am honored to share this journey with all of you!

'Ofa lahi atu!!!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hefa Tuita-- HYPE in Action...

[Hefa Tuita Jr. Reppin' HYPE]

I have received many emails inquiring about my process in choosing who would be part of the HYPE Photoshoot.

There was really only 3 simple criterias:

1) They needed to be from here in Utah (mainly for logistical reasons)
2) They had to be Pacific Islander
3) Their lives had to fully reflect the meaning behind the HYPE Movement

Many of these young people I had previously known and had worked with on various projects; some had been my students, others I have written about or have worked with in some type of capacity.

However, there was only one, who I actually never really formally met (well only once, but it was just in passing), but it was a conversation that I had with his father about a year ago, that fully convinced me that his son had to be part of this photoshoot.

[Hefa Tuita Jr.]

I am of course talking about Hefa Tuita Jr. the star dancer on Nickelodeon's new dance show, Dance On Sunset. He was also in High School Musical 2 and Unaccompanied Minors and has shared the stage with many amazing dance choreograpahers and superstars; singer Rihanna being one of them.

[Hefa Tuita Jr.]

However, it wasn't just his great resume of success that made me track him down for this photoshoot (I was almost borderline stalking by the time I finally was able to secure a date/time/location for the photoshoot... we literally confirmed everything between the hours of midnight to 3am...hahaha...yes, that's how much I wanted him to be part of this photoshoot)!!!

[Hefa Tuita Jr.]

In December 2007, I was organizing a Bone Marrow Registry Drive in our Pacific Islander Community, which was connected to a concert that featured various Pacific Islander music artists.

[Hefa Tuita Jr.]

At an informal dress rehearsal held a couple of days before the concert, Hefa Sr. (Hefa's father) had brought his sons to the University of Utah for a quick rehearsal. I had never heard of the Tuita boys, but was assured by everyone present that they were the real deal--talented, handsome, and most of all humble-- and they proved to be exactly that!

[Hefa Tuita Jr.]

Immediately after the dress rehearsal I met their father and we talked for a short while about our Tongan community and some of the things I was hoping to do in the community. I specifically remember him talking about how proud he was of his sons and how he had raised them with the two most important values in the Tongan culture--Respect and Service!!! He then said to me "my boys are very proud to be Tongan and I hope they do good things for our Tongan community"! Our conversation lasted for probably only ten minutes, but I knew then that this father had instilled in his sons not only a fierce love for their Tongan culture but also a sense of responsibilty in regards to the power of service!

[Hefa Tuita Jr. Reppin' his father's Firefighter Uniform]

When I decided that we would do a professional HYPE photoshoot, Hefa Jr.'s name was one of the first on the list because I knew he represented everything that the HYPE MOVEMENT is about, but mostly because of my brief conversation with his father about a year ago.

Unfortunately, his father passed away before we could actually do this photoshoot, but I hope that through the HYPE Movement, a new generation of Pacific Islanders will be able to actualize the yearnings of many of our grandparents and parents, who had always envisioned a future of endless possibilities for us!

Rest in Love Hefa Tuita Sr., even in your absence, you still continue to inspire us!

[Hefa Tuita Jr. in his father's Firefighter Uniform-- and the Legacy Lives On...]

[Tuita Boys Tribute to their father the late Hefa Tuita Sr.]

**Many thanks to Karley Tuita, Teresa Tuimaseve, Lavinia Taumoepeau, Abby Langi, our amazing photographer Naomi Masina --and of course Hefa Jr. and all others who were there for making this photoshoot possible...***

Monday, December 29, 2008

More HYPE All-Stars...

Here are some more pictures of our HYPE MOVEMENT all-stars photoshoot part 3!

['Eseta Schaaf]

"Education is Powerful but Learning is Revolutionary!"
--'Eseta Schaaf

['Eseta Schaaf]

[Moana 'Uluave]

"Intelligence is Powerful but Gratitude is Revolutionary!"
--Moana 'Uluave

[Moana 'Uluave]

[Selaafu Tauteoli]

"The Mind is Powerful but Attitude is Revolutionary!"
--Selaafu Tauteoli

[Selaafu Tauteoli]

Always Livin' the HYPE!

I met today with some awesome Samoan brothers (and our Latino brother! love you too bro!) who are the masterminds behind the Bolonga Fungi Film Company!!!

They will be doing some film work for the HYPE MOVEMENT and are a great example of what it means to live the HYPE on a daily basis!!! They are completely rooted in community and are all about helping Pacific Islanders to reach their greatest potential! Always inspiring to meet such great individuals!

Here is a sample of their work (and this was something they just threw together last minute...so awesome!)

Check out more of their work HERE

Monday, December 22, 2008


The HYPE Movement can only be successful if we invest in all our children! It is never too early to encourage our children to dream dreams that surpasses the status quo and to live their lives to the fullest!

The HYPE Motto is "Transforming the World One Child at a Time" and I have no doubt that our children will play a critical role in transforming this world that we live in!

[Transforming the World...One Child at a Time]

In choosing which kids to include in the HYPE photoshoot...I specifically began by choosing their moms! I chose mom's who I knew believed in the HYPE Movement and would get up early on a saturday morning, get their kids ready and drive through the snow blizzard to show their support for the HYPE Movement and dedication to their children! Much love and respect to all the mother's who do this day in and day out... you are the unsung heroes in this world!!!

Introducing the HYPE KIDS...

[L to R: Liahona Fiame, Kyala Brown, Kaufo'ou Motu'apuaka, Saione Matagi, 'Ilaise Matagi, Zac Tipton]

[L to R: Kyala Brown, Kaufo'ou Motu'apuaka, Zac Tipton, Saione Matagi, Liahona Fiame]

[L to R: Liahona Fiame, Kyala Brown, Kaufo'ou Motu'apuaka, Saione Matagi, 'Ilaise Matagi, Zac Tipton]

[L to R: Kyala Brown, Kaufo'ou Motu'apuaka, Zac Tipton, Saione Matagi, Liahona Fiame]

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Livin' the HYPE!!!

Here are some more pictures from our HYPE photoshoot this past Saturday..

As I mentioned in my previous blog entry...I had asked each individual chosen for the HYPE photoshoot to finish the following sentence: "____________ is Powerful, but ___________ is Revolutionary!" Here is what they came up with, which I feel truly reflect who they are and what they are passionate about...

[Anau Faleao]

"Speech is Powerful but Actions are Revolutionary!"
--Anau Faleao

[Anau Faleao]

[Neti "676" Taumoepeau]

"Dreams are Powerful but Living Your Dreams is Revolutionary!"
--Neti "676" Taumoepeau

[Neti "676" Taumoepeau]

[Jake "Cubworld" Kongaika]

"Music is Powerful but Love is Revolutionary!"
--Jake "Cubworld" Kongaika

[Jake "Cubworld" Kongaika]

[Asaeli Matelau]

"Words are Powerful but Thoughts from the Liver (Heart) are Revolutionary!"
--Asaeli Matelau

[Asaeli Matelau]

Friday, December 19, 2008

HYPE Photoshoot 2008

[Kimo Watanabe]

This past weekend we conducted our first HYPE professional photoshoot with one of the most amazing photographers there is--Naomi Masina! I had come across her work a couple of months ago and knew right away that if we were ever to do professional photos for the HYPE Movement promotional materials, that she would definitely be my first choice and so far she she has turned out to be exactly what I had expected and so much more. Please check out her work...I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

[Tevita Uesi]

The day of the photoshoot started with a snow storm and lasted throughout the photoshoot. That morning I woke up and looked outside and considered cancelling the shoot, but then got text messages from those who were involved informing me that they were already making their way down to Salt Lake City in the crazy weather...and so I decided to just move forward with it and hoped that it would all turn out for the best!

It turned out to be just as I expected...crazy, snowy, hectic, and freezing, but also extremely fun! I picked the best individuals to be part of this photoshoot because not once did I hear them complain as we moved from building to building or as we were driving through the crazy snow! They just went with the flow and in the end it all turned out well. Thanks everyone! Love you all!!!

[Tessi Toluta'u]

I specifically chose each individual (there are 20 all together) who was part of the photoshoot because I felt that their lives expemplify what it means to LIVE THE HYPE! They are amazing young people who live and dwell in possibilities regardless of the negative stereotypes that maybe projected toward them! They move forward proud of their cultural heritage! They recognize that although they haven't asked for the title of "role model" its been put on them and they try to always represent to the fullest! They make me proud and hopeful everytime I think of them and the struggles and challenges they go through on a daily basis to live their dreams--yet they continue to keep focused and keep on keepin' on!

[Meagan HoChing Palelei]

Prior to the photoshoot I had asked each of them to finish the following sentence: "____________ is Powerful, but ___________ is Revolutionary!" Here is what they came up with, which I feel truly reflect who they are and what they are passionate about...(pictures copied from our photographer Naomi Masina's Blog).

[Tessi Toluta'u]

“Motivation is Powerful but Love is Revolutionary!"
--Tessi Toluta'u

[Tevita Uesi]

“God is Powerful but Music is Revolutionary!"
--Tevita Uesi

[Meagan HoChing Palelei]

“Words are Powerful but Action is Revolutionary!"
--Meagan HoChing Palelei

[Kimo Watanabe]

“Music is Powerful but Good Music is Revolutionary!"
--Kimo Watanabe

Stay tuned for full featured articles on each indivdiual in January 2009!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Get on the HYPE!!!

In the past weeks I have received many email inquiries about the HYPE MOVEMENT!

Instead of responding to everyone separately, I am going to attempt to answer your questions via this blog entry.

What is the HYPE MOVEMENT?
Please click here to learn what the HYPE MOVEMENT is all about…

How can we help further the cause of the HYPE MOVEMENT?
First of all I want to thank everyone who has helped in so many different ways, whether it’s by reppin’ the HYPE wristbands, telling your friends about the movement, taking pictures for our photo gallery , or just sending me emails of support! All your support (in all its different forms) means so much to me and is greatly appreciated.

At this time, we are currently in the first phase of the HYPE MOVEMENT, which is focused on saturating our community with the HYPE wristbands and making sure that everyone knows what it stands for and understands that living the HYPE begins with you! We can only reach out to help others, if we are currently pursuing our dreams, living to our fullest potential, and breaking down the stereotypes that often seek to confine our imaginations.

The 2nd and 3rd phase of the HYPE MOVEMENT will include programming, school assemblies, film documentaries, youth conferences, etc., but for right now, we want to focus on just getting the word out and making sure that every young person we come across knows what HYPE is about and are reppin’ the wristbands.

We are always in need of more people to get the word out to our communities, if you are interested in spreading the good word about the HYPE MOVEMENT, please email me at anapesikaili@gmail.com

What are you going to do about some of the youth who rep the bracelets but aren’t living the HYPE?
I want to be clear that the HYPE MOVEMENT is not about policing young people’s behaviors; it’s about changing their consciousness so that they can expand their thinking and live their dreams. It is our hope that in the process of changing one’s consciousness that we also begin to change our lives to be reflective of our beliefs and outlook on life.

It is inevitable that there will be some young people who rep the wristbands but are still struggling with their own challenges, this is the case for everyone, which is why this movement is so needed. It serves as a constant reminder that even in our weakest moments, we can still rise above! In fact, there would be no need for this movement if everyone was perfect! The HYPE MOVEMENT is not about perfection, it’s about imperfect people learning from their mistakes and still reaching to achieve their greatest potential.

Is the HYPE MOVEMENT a response to violence?
Folola Takapu, who is the young Tongan student, who coined the phrase HYPE and what it stands for, created this movement as a response to the current realities of many of our young people, who have suffered from gang violence, discrimination, negative stereotypes, internalized racism, etc. When she approached me this past summer to help in organizing the movement, I saw this movement as much more than just a reaction to the harsh realities that many of our young people face on a daily basis, but rather that it is also a reclaiming of who we are as Pacific Islanders.

We are descendants of the most amazing voyagers and navigators in the history of this world! Our ancestors sailed the Pacific Ocean for thousands of years using only the stars, the wind, and the natural elements of the earth. Therefore, I absolutely refuse to listen to anyone who says we should settle for being average! Average is not even part of our DNA! The HYPE MOVEMENT is about reclaiming that legacy that has always been part of who we are! In other words, our ancestors were livin’ the HYPE even back then! Yes…they were down with the HYPE MOVEMENT, I know they were!!! Hahaha!

Is the HYPE MOVEMENT the same as the American Dream?
Aside from the fact that one is a movement and the other is an ideology, there are some similarities between the two as they both are about working hard and becoming whatever you want to be in this life. However, there are some drastic differences between the two concepts. The American Dream is grounded on the idea of meritocracy, which focuses only on hard work, but FAILS to take into account the structural inequities and institutional racism that unfortunately is part of the world we currently live in.

The HYPE MOVEMENT on the other hand acknowledges that these structural inequities are real, that institutional racism is alive, that classism, sexism, and racism impacts our daily lives, however, we are consciously choosing to move forward, not with a blind eye to the reality of our circumstances but being clearly aware of it while seeking to change that reality, to shape it, to deconstruct it, and to make sure that in the 21st century we are not just spectators in the game of life, but that we are engaged in the process and making the decisions that determine the outcome of our lives!

Forget the American Dream this is about YOUR dream so live it!!!

Final Thoughts…
Don’t sit around and hope something changes someday! Don’t let someone else determine your future! Don’t accept mediocrity! Don’t get caught up in hoping that someday when you become rich and famous you will do something positive! Don’t wait for someone close to you to die, drop out of school, be in rehab, etc. etc. before you decide to stand up and do something about it! This is the time for you to take a stand!!! STAND UP and GET ON THE HYPE!!!!

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise! (Maya Angelou)
Rise up Pacific People…It’s Our Time!!!

Check out the HYPE photos at http://photos.planet-tonga.com/

For more information on how to GET ON THE HYPE email ‘Anapesi Ka’ili

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mover and Shaker

I recently interviewed Paul "Big Paul" Tu'ivai for an article written for Spasifik Magazine.

Our latest MOVER AND SHAKER is Paul Tu’ivai, known widely as BIG PAUL, a Tongan, who has been at the top of the music industry as an executive at Universal-Motown for the past decade. He tells his story to US correspondent ‘ANAPESI KAILI; from humble beginnings as a child growing up in Tonga, to emerging radio jock in San Francisco, to the man behind the successful careers of international artists such as Nelly and Lil’ Wayne. His inspirational story and words of wisdom make this feature a must read for all SPASIFIK fans. (quoted from Spasifik Magazine)
Subscribe to Spasifik Magazine to read the article.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Words from the Wise--Dr. J. Kehaulani Kauanui

[Dr. J. Kehaulani Kauanui]

Dr. J. Kehaulani Kauanui is an associate professor of American studies and anthropology at Wesleyan University, where she teaches courses on Native American sovereignty issues, U.S. colonialism in the Pacific Islands, and U.S. racial formations, and critical race methodologies. Her first book, Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Indigeneity and Sovereignty, is forthcoming from Duke University Press in October 2008. She is currently co-editing a book with Andrea Lee Smith, Native Feminisms: Without Apology (under review, University of Minnesota Press) and is currently embarking on two new book monographs: Mana Wahine Hawaiian Decolonization that explores gender politics in indigenous Hawaiian nationalist struggles, and Hawaiian New England: The Grammar of American Colonialism. She is also the host and producer of a weekly public affairs radio program, Indigenous Politics: From Native New England and Beyond, at WESU, Middletown, Conn., which is syndicated through the Pacifica radio-network.

[Kauanui's first book- Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Indigeneity and Sovereignty]

Dr. Kauanui on the dangers of having Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders subsumed under the general ethnic categories of Asian-Pacific American (APA) and Asian Pacific Islander (API)

The problematic terms “Asian-Pacific American” (APA) and “Asian Pacific Islander” (API) not only offer no recognition that Pacific Islanders already constitute a pan-ethnic group that is distinct from Asian Americans, they also efface Pacific political claims based on indigeneity. For example, indigenous Pacific Islanders who have ties to islands that were forcibly incorporated into the United States (Hawai`i, Guam, American Samoa) have outstanding sovereignty and land claims, based on international principles of self-determination, which get erased by the categorization with Asians. Hence the frameworks for understanding the ills affecting Pacific peoples and their political claims are shaped by imperialism and settler colonialism, not simply civil rights.
--Dr. J. Kehaulani Kauanui
Read more articles by Dr. Kauanui HERE

Sunday, November 30, 2008

No thanks to Racist Traditions...

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

I know that during the holiday season we tend to become intoxicated by how everything becomes so commercialized, desensitized and packaged into a neat little "holiday" that gives us time off work, time to spend with family, and time to eat lots of great food... oh yeah and did I mention eat lots of great food? hahaha!!!

It becomes difficult to spend some time really reflecting on some of the injustices that we continue to perpetuate in the name of "American Traditions" without ever giving a second thought to its origins.

One of these annoying traditions is consistently practiced in our educational institutions throughout our nation which involves dressing up young kids as Pilgrims and Indians while re-enacting a watered-down-happy-go-lucky-everyone-live-in-peace version of the so called first Thanksgiving!

In Claremont, CA. many parents protested against these Thanksgiving costumes! I think these parents should be commended for taking a stand on this issue! We can only progress as a nation if we face up to the truth--which is the fact that dressing up as a racial stereotype is not cute nor is it educational!

[Kelley Davis, left and Andrew Loeffler dress up as pilgrim and Indian in Claremont, CA. (picture by Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)]

For decades, Claremont kindergartners have celebrated Thanksgiving by dressing up as pilgrims and Native Americans and sharing a feast. But on Tuesday, when the youngsters meet for their turkey and songs, they won't be wearing their hand-made bonnets, headdresses and fringed vests.

Raheja, whose mother is a Seneca, wrote the letter upon hearing of a four-decade district tradition, where kindergartners at Condit and Mountain View elementary schools take annual turns dressing up and visiting the other school for a Thanksgiving feast. This year, the Mountain View children would have dressed as Native Americans and walked to Condit, whose students would have dressed as Pilgrims.

Raheja, an English professor at UC Riverside who specializes in Native American literature, said she met with teachers and administrators in hopes that the district could hold a public forum to discuss alternatives that celebrate thankfulness without "dehumanizing" her daughter's ancestry.

"There is nothing to be served by dressing up as a racist stereotype," she said. Read more here.

Here is another great response from a parent whose Kindergartner attends the same school district.

As a parent of kindergarteners, one who has been in “de-program” mode all week around this very subject, I celebrate Professor Raheja’s courage—even as I am ashamed of my own silence up to this point. More persons must actively resist oppressive narratives that only prove to indoctrinate another generation into the lies we live within. Reenacting this nation’s egregious history of European conquest and genocide as if it was an innocent gathering of ol’ friends amounts to intellectual child abuse. And like all forms of destructive behavior, we must name it and seek healing from it lest we normalize the absurd and reenact the abuse on another generation.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my son to be that idiot standing in front of a kindergarten in thirty years doing the tomahawk chop with construction paper taped to his brow.

Some traditions we have no reason to be thankful for!

Read more here
For those of you who still don't really know the real story behind Thanksgiving (because its been strategically left out of all US History Books) here is a quick and condensed version for you to read

Beauty and the Blog...

My sisters and I love to buy makeup! We have containers full of makeup that we haven't even opened or probably opened and tried once and never looked at it again. It's so ironic that we buy so much makeup but end up only using the same ones over and over (my brothers think its hilarious except for when they happen to accompany us to the store and we make them buy it...then its not so funny anymore)...LOL!!!

I always get disappointed when I buy makeup that looks great in the store and on the pictures only to find that it should remain in the store on the pictures... hahahaha!!! I wished that someone I knew would actually try it out for me first and then tell me if it's worth buying.... and what do you know... my wish has come true!

[Ane Phillips showcasing that Tongan Beauty]

My beautiful Tongan sistah Ane Phillips, who works as a model and also works in marketing has a great blog where she gives some awesome beauty tips!

Please check it out HERE. I guarantee you will love it!!!

She alerted me to the NYX cosmetics jumbo eye pencils and my sisters went and bought some to try it out and it's a big hit!!!

Check out her blog and add her to your blog-list today!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008