On July 22, BINI, BGYO, Lady Pipay, and Red Velvet graced the SM Mall of Asia Arena for the Be You event–which celebrated inclusion and diversity for differently-abled people. Despite the rainy afternoon as the gates started opening, the attendees’ energy did not waver for the much-awaited event. After all, they knew that the event celebrated not just talented performers but also amplified the voices of differently-abled minorities. The timing of the event was also perfect, as the date fell within the 44th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week, which is celebrated every 3rd week of July in the Philippines.
Beginning With Special Performers and Guest Speakers
As soon as the countdown to the concert started, the crowd filled the venue with loud cheers. The event was prefaced with quotes to highlight its theme–one of which is by Robert M. Hensel, who said, “There is no greater disability in society than the inability to see the person as more.” The hosts then introduced the event and expressed their excitement that the concert was being held in-person. Kids from the TLC SPED & Therapy Center–Rohan Nicklasus Cruz, Hans Kendrick Rimando, Kyrie Quentin Francisco, and Christian Zoey Tanay–followed with an adorable dance number of MOMOLAND’s BANANA CHACHA before the speakers and special performers took to the stage to share their experiences and talents.
Actor and host Troy Montero, the first speaker, shared about his journey upon finding out his daughter was autistic and the support that he had received.
Hasna Cabral also shared what she had uniquely learned from her autistic daughter Bash, who had peculiar fashion choices such as mismatched socks. The Ex-Pinoy Big Brother housemate and Personas With Disability (PWD) rights advocate shared, “[My daughter] told me, ‘Mom, this is what makes me happy.’ Imagine a kid with autism teaching me what’s important in life is not what people will think about you. What’s important in life is the pursuit of happiness.” She also encouraged people, “Whatever makes you happy–it will never be baduy (tacky/uncool). Be you, wear you!”
Special performances were interspersed between the speeches and included impressive vocal numbers from Peggy Geiser (Idina Menzel “Defying Gravity”), Danica Escasinas (Mariah Carey “Emotions”), and Mark Jayson Salamangkit (“You Raise Me Up”) as well as piano performances from Aldrei Louis Franco and Janine Lim.
The first performances were followed by singer and actor Aerone Mendoza’s video about his experience with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and performance of “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman. The inspiring stories continued with a video from parents who have differently-abled children. These parents shared their acceptance journey and their support for their children.
As he began his speech, the last speaker, singer and host Martin Nievera expressed that he was “so impressed with [the] audience” and proceeded to applaud them. “I’ve been doing this for 40 years and have never seen a more supportive, a more giving, [and] a more loving audience.” He then introduced his son, Santino, and talked about his journey after finding out that his son has autism. “He has made me a special father. For the rest of my life, I will be learning alongside Santino.” The Philippine Concert King further showed his dedication with an unreleased song that he wrote for Santino. As the performance came to the end, he shared the spotlight with the parents and children who had previously performed.
After the special performances and speeches officially ended, the main event started. At the mere mention of Red Velvet, the crowd grew excited. This was simply a preview of the energy that the crowd was about to show the remaining performers.
Dance Sensation Lady Pipay
Vlogger and host Lady Pipay hit the stage with an aerial gymnastics performance to her original song “Take Me Up,” showing a new side of herself contrary to her energetic K-pop dance covers. The performance included bold, breathtaking moves that wowed the audience. The 15-year-old dancer and only solo act showed the crowd that her skills were definitely not to be underestimated despite her age.
After her gymnastics performance, Lady Pipay showed yet another side with her versatility as a performer with strong covers–including Jennifer Lopez’s hits such as “Let’s Get Loud,” “On The Floor,” and “Dance Again” and Dua Lipa’s “Levitating.” Despite the event featuring mainly P-pop and K-pop acts, the crowd obviously knew the JLo superhits and Dua Lipa sensation as they sang along.
Headliners Red Velvet
To the crowd’s surprise, K-pop powerhouse and main guests Red Velvet performed right after. But as expected, the crowd was at their loudest. ReVeluvs truly missed the quintet, who last visited the Philippines back in 2019. As Red Velvet’s VCR played, the waving lightsticks lit up the whole arena.
Red Velvet started with “Feel My Rhythm” as ReVeluvs followed the group’s heartbeat with well-memorized fanchants and singing. Next came “Psycho,” and as expected, the crowd sang along to the worldwide hit as if it were an anthem.
During the ment, Red Velvet took the time to greet the crowd “Mabuhay!” and introduced themselves. Pointing to her chest, Wendy asked, “Can you feel my heartbeat right now?” to which the crowd responded with a loud, affirming yes. The girls also taught the audience some of the hand gestures in “Feel My Rhythm.”
The surprises continued as Red Velvet performed a B-side–“Hello, Sunset.” As the lanterns and sunset backdrop complemented the performance, the girls set a new mood with the ballad.
Joy then took the time to express her gratitude for the crowd’s sing-along. The girls also mentioned that they were happy to be invited to the event and hoped that they could encourage the audience to support and help differently-abled people. The crowd proceeded to chant each member’s name, with them responding in their own ways.
Singing along to the group’s hits was not enough to contain the excitement of ReVeluvs as many of them even stood up to enjoy the songs. The high-energy fanchants almost seemed indistinguishable from the crowd’s singing, as ReVeluvs effortlessly sang along to the group’s hits. This sing-along is something that is almost a Manila crowd signature with K-pop acts–one can always expect the audience’s voice to be one with the artist’s.
Bold, Strong, and Driven BINI
The night was still young, and the girls of BINI who, as their VCR rightfully called them, were “bold, strong, and driven.” The group opened with a fierce performance of “Born To Win.” During BINI’s spiel, the group also commended ReVeluvs’ energy. They mentioned that the night had more to offer and continued with “Na Na Na” and “Lagi”– the latter being a dedication to members Aiah and Gwen who were not present due to health concerns. “Lagi” was performed with a backdrop with all things sweet–cereals, cherry, and ice cream. The performance and song were as sweet as the group’s dedication to their fans and their absent members. True to their title as “young modern Filipinas” with passion to share to the world, BINI continuously delivered stable live vocals that took over the arena and left an impression on the crowd.
Aces of P-pop BGYO
Titled as “proudly Filipino” and “the aces of P-pop,” BGYO continued to champion Filipino pride. The boy group wore sequin-studded jean outfits that brightened up the stage and stunned with every flashy dance move. The slow start showcasing their vocals in “The Light” may have deceived the crowd into thinking it was a ballad, but the quintet followed with a powerful rock version of the song with a strong choreography.
Later during their spiel, BGYO remarked at how big the crowd was and thanked the crowd, as well as ReVeluvs specifically, for the support. They expressed their happiness and wished that the crowd felt the same. The quintet also performed “He’s Into Her,” a lighthearted and fun song that had them shooting love arrows at the crowd and ended with the group forming a heart. Next came “Tumitigil Ang Mundo,” the group’s latest single, as BGYO concluded the concert under the confetti.
Music for a Cause
The “Be You” event united K-pop and P-pop fans in enjoying their favorite artists’ music live and, at the same, supporting the inclusion of differently-abled people. This showed that fans were eager to combine their interests while supporting advocacies. Hopefully, the audience’s palpable support for this event inspires more cause-related fan events. The event made all sorts of dreams come true–from fans seeing their favorite artists live to minority groups representing themselves and making their voices heard.
Interested in more concert recaps? Read about Stray Kids’ “MANIAC” show in Los Angeles here!