Juan Miguel Severo calls out mall for asking artists to perform for ‘free meal’
Actor and spoken word poet Juan Miguel Severo expressed his disappointment at a mall that had asked him to perform in exchange for free food.
The invitation appeared to be extended to spoken word poets for a Buwan ng Wika event to celebrate the Filipino language.
Severo said on Twitter on Friday, Aug. 2: “A mall invites me. To perform. For a free meal. And to ‘further promote’ my craft. I know I’m poor but b*tch???”
He also shared the online exchange he had with an organizer of the mall. The message said, “Was wondering if you and your team would be agreeable on an exdeal (meals) in return.”
Severo responded, “Seriously? Just free food? A mall. Inviting artists. To perform. For food?”
“Sorry, I find this invitation disrespectful to my craft and to artists,” he told the organizer. “Be better. You don’t celebrate Buwan ng Wika by exploiting artists that promote our national languages all year long.”
In his tweet, Severo said, “Fellow spoken word artists: If you receive the same message, do everyone else a favor and say no.”
In another tweet, he told the organizer, “If you aren’t willing to pay your artists cancel your event.”
Social media have become an avenue to call out the exploitation of artists. In July last year, actor Jameson Blake landed in hot water when he asked for a cover photo design in exchange for a “shout out.”
“Exposure doesn’t pay bills,” actress Chai Fonacier said, echoing a sentiment among members of the creative industry. /ra
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