Young Vito is known for posting a short video last December where he sings about transgender women who deceive people. He received backlash from netizens for disrespecting the trans community and perpetuating the stigma that trans women aren’t real women. The original video has since been taken down and the rapper also posted a public apology.
But if you think this stopped Vito from doing anything transphobic again, you’re wrong. His song, “Awit” is now being distributed by Viva Records. This means he’s getting paid for this problematic song and there’s a huge chance that it will become a mainstream hit.
The song’s lyric video was published on YouTube last night, Jan. 16, with the description: “[Young Vito] first released a short clip of the track on social media with the caption ‘awit may lawit‘ which then drew backlash for its message. Despite the controversy surrounding the song, ‘Awit‘ has now been turned into a full-blown bop by hip-hop producer, nexxfriday.” (We will not be linking back to the song because we don’t want it to get more traction.)
We can’t believe that Viva Records, which has artists like Sarah Geronimo and Nadine Lustre signed under their label, is capitalizing on a song’s problematic message and calling it a bop. Vito received backlash for a reason and the record label shouldn’t ignore that.
Remember that the transgender community in the Philippines have experienced hardships in the last few years. In 2019 alone, Gretchen Diez was harassed for trying to enter a female restroom, prompting discussions among government officials on whether a third restroom should be made for LGBTQ+ people. There have also been incidents wherein a trans woman wasn’t allowed inside a bar because of an alleged dress code, as well as bouncers not respecting trans women’s pronouns.
Vito may have apologized before for his offensive song, but we’re holding off any forgiveness for making money out of it once he was signed to Viva Records.