Date of Award

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Music



First Advisor

Gillian Rodger

Committee Members

Timothy Sterner Miller


Filipino, hip-hop, jazz, musical theater, United States, women


This thesis examines contemporary Filipinx-American women artists and the ways in which they use their music to construct their identity against Western portrayals of the Filipinx/a woman. Unlike other Asian Americans, Filipinx Americans try to attain the status of the "model minority" because they were at one point in history considered US nationals with American training, but they also do not adhere to it in the same way that Japanese and Indian Americans do. The model minority myth is the notion that Asian Americans have to overcome a certain struggle or challenge in order to achieve the American Dream. Of all the Asian American ethnic groups, Filipinxs have historically had an easier time assimilating to American culture, but because of colorism, sexism, multi-colonial histories, intergenerational trauma, and classism, Filipinxs are not held to the same levels of "expectations" as East and South Asian Americans. These experiences and struggles are examined through three case studies: Lea Salonga within musical theater, Charmaine Clamor within jazz, and Rocky Rivera within hip-hop. By considering all of these Filipinx/a American women and efforts to represent themselves through their artistry and performance, I will seek to identify how these women's self construction is at odds with the objectifying stereotypes associated with their racialized identities.