Now You See Him 

Kevin Nadal strives to raise Filipino-American visibility.

Onstage, Kevin Nadal sings and dances and performs perfectly timed riffs about his family, karaoke, being gay, and being Filipino American. Offstage, he's an assistant professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, having earned his Ph.D from Columbia and conducted research into LGBT issues, Filipino-American issues, and "microaggressions," which he defines as "brief and commonplace daily, verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities ... toward members of oppressed groups."

Nadal's first one-man show, Pinoy, toured nationally for three years. His second, Single, toured nationally as well. Two years ago, Nadal premiered Psychotherapy: A Cabaret Show, in which he pondered relationships and sang tunes made famous by Whitney Houston and Britney Spears. He's a man with many careers, and he's engaging in all of them at once.

"Balancing the various aspects of my life has been a little hectic, but it is also very exciting," says the Fremont native, who was named one of People magazine's "hottest bachelors of 2006" and will be at the Fremont Main Library (2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont) on Monday, August 24. "Everything that I am involved in is something that I am passionate about."

At the library, he will discuss his new book Filipino American Psychology: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice. "I think that a lot of Filipino Americans are unaware of the health disparities that our community faces, in terms of physical health and mental health," Nadal says. "Filipino Americans have among the highest prevalence of obesity, cardiovascular disease, tobacco use, substance use, and diabetes out of all Asian-American groups, yet our community seems to be fairly unaware of these issues, and there are few outreach or prevention programs that address this."

His work, whether behind the microphone or behind the lectern, is never very far from his activism. During Single, he recited some lines that he says he wrote "during my angry college-student days, when I was 21." It's an indictment indeed: "You called me a monkey when I came to your country. ... You spat on my brothers for courting your women. You beat on my sisters for not giving it up. You lynched and you killed and you never said sorry. ... You beat my brown ass and left me for dead." A key line in this passage is, "You can't tell me I'm invisible because I know I'm not alone." Onstage and off, Nadal is troubled by the specter of invisibility — in which Filipinos and their accomplishments are ignored among the general population and even among the "model minority" Asian-American population.

"There are very few research studies that focus on Filipinos. ... There needs to be more research and literature written on all Asian-American groups, and specifically Asian-American groups that are often overlooked or ignored," Nadal explains. "But in order for that to happen, more Filipino Americans have to get their Ph.Ds and/or to continue to fight to give voice to our community."

Too many Americans, he laments, "are unaware of the history and experiences of Filipino Americans in the US. Many don't realize that Filipinos were the first Asians to land in the US — they landed in 1587, which is thirty-plus years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. People are also unaware that Filipino Americans are projected to become the largest Asian-American population in the 2010 Census." If enough voices are raised, he says, "I hope that ... people will know that Filipino Americans are more than just hip-hop dancing, Imelda Marcos, or lumpia." 7 p.m., free.


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