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Filipina-American biotech scientist-turned-rapper and music producer Ruby Ibarra has been named a recipient of the 2023 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Music by the Vilcek Foundation.

Ibarra is known as a performer with “personal and evocative hip hop and spoken word performances that center her experiences as a Filipina American woman, and as an immigrant growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and for her powerful lyrics that address colonialism, immigration, colorism, and misogyny.”

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The Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise “honor[s] immigrant professionals whose early-career work demonstrates a singular innovation, or represents a significant contribution to their field.” Three winners will each be awarded the cash prize of $50,000.

In a profile for 2021 on the American-based program Today,the rapper, scientist, and activist discusses her experience in the biotechnology sector, focusing on research to discover a cure for COVID-19 in the midst of the epidemic. She is also co-founder and director of the Pinays Rising Scholarship program, that is a result of her smash track, “Us,” and “provides the opportunity to receive $500 scholarships to help Filipina and Filipinx students seeking higher education. Since its beginning, Pinays Rising has awarded more than 30 scholarships per year to students in the midst of their studies or activists.”

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The Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise recognize professionals from the early stages of their careers whose work represents a significant breakthrough, or makes an outstanding contribution to their discipline. The winners each receive the cash prize of $50,000.

The Vilcek Foundation was established in 2000 in order to increase awareness of the contributions of immigrants to America. United States, and to encourage appreciation of the sciences and arts.

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Take a look at the full the Glow Upepisode on Ibarra here:

Find out more about our analysis of the song by Ruby Ibarra “Someday” for Behind Bars: