Fil-Am rapper-scientist Ruby Ibarra wins Vilcek Prize for immigrant leaders

Ruby Ibarra Vilcek Prize
Ruby Ibarra is a trained biotech scientist, a rapper, and an immigrant community leader. Photo from Ruby Ibarra IG.

Filipino-American scientist turned rapper Ruby Ibarra has won the 2023 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Music for her hip-hop and spoken word performances which center around her heritage and experiences as an immigrant in the United States.

Ibarra, who has trained as a biotech scientist and worked on the front lines of developing a vaccine for COVID-19, was announced among the recipients of the annual Vilcek Foundation Prizes which honors immigrant leaders in the arts and sciences.

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Born in Tacloban City and raised in the Bay Area, Ibarra is a director, spoken word artist, and rapper who has toured across the United States for Filipino American cultural events, as well as the Philippines.

The Fil-Am rapper is known for the powerful lyrics in her songs that address issues such as colonialism, immigration, colorism, and misogyny, among others, including her brown pride anthem collaboration with Ella Jay Basco. She raps in English, Tagalog, Bisaya, and Waray.

Before she turned to music, Ibarra trained as a biotech scientist and worked on the front lines of developing a vaccine for COVID-19.

In 2018, Ibarra co-founded the Pinays Rising Scholarship program which provides scholarships of $500 to empower Filipina and Filipinx youth pursuing higher education. Since its establishment, Pinays Rising has awarded more than 30 scholarships each year to young students and activists.

Ibarra was honored among the three recipients of the annual prize for Creative Promise in Music in October 2022.

Awarded annually the prizes recognize and celebrate immigrant contributions to the arts, culture, and society, and build awareness of how important immigration is for intellectual and cultural life in the United States.

Ruby Ibarra was named among the 75 Most Influential Filipino-Americans of the Year (75MIFA) and received the San Francisco Immigrants Rights Commission Youth Leadership Award last year.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Filipino-American scientist and rapper Ruby Ibarra for winning the 2023 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Music!

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Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.