Artists lit it up in a celebration of Filipino American talent. Take a look backstage

AJ Rafael and Jules Aurora sing a song in a dressing room.
AJ Rafael and Jules Aurora sing a song together in a dressing room before “A Night of ‘Pinoy’tainment.”
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
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It felt like a large (really large) family reunion, with hundreds of Filipinos and friends gathered for an exuberant, open-air “Night of ‘Pinoy’tainment” at the Ford on Sunday. The Filipino American comedians, rappers, singers and dancers ranged from established names such as comedian Rex Navarrete and rapper Apl.de.Ap of the Black Eyed Peas to up-and-coming comedian Lila Hart and fast-rising rapper Ruby Ibarra.

Singer-songwriter AJ Rafael hosted; his sister, Jasmine Rafael, danced with her crew. From the back of the house, members of the dance crew Kaba Modern (a spin on the Tagalog word kababayan, or “fellow countrymen”) cheered them on. The backstage areas resonated with the same camaraderie, as performers joked and mingled.

Dancers pray before taking the stage.
Members of the dance group Kaba Modern pray before taking the stage.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Comedian Erick Esteban’s set was highlighted by a bit about the Ewoks from “Star Wars” speaking Tagalog, one of several languages spoken in the Philippines; singer Jules Aurora wowed with “Kailangan Kita,” sung in Tagalog — which she does not speak. VJ Rosales of the a cappella group the Filharmonic joined her for a crowd-pleasing rendition of Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” (Mars is also Filipino American).

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Black Eyed Peas’ Apl.de.Ap, comic Rex Navarrete and more stars join ‘A Night of “Pinoy"tainment’ and say it’s time to stop marginalizing Filipino Americans.

Hart, who likes to say she’s “as tall as a parking meter,” got big laughs with energetic — and blue — humor pinging off her experience with spina bifida. Ibarra was joined by 14-year-old singer Ella Jay Basco (for their collaboration “Gold”) and fellow Bay Area rapper Nump (for his “I Gott Grapes”). Ibarra closed with her best-known song, “Us,” rapped in English, Tagalog and another Filipino language, Visayan.

Navarrete’s routine imagined Manny Pacquiao in “The Expendables 2"; the laughs showed that audience members weren’t too deeply bruised by their champion’s convincing loss the previous weekend.

Closing the night was Apl.de.Ap, who brought out new Peas singer J. Rey Soul (a Filipina he discovered while hosting “The Voice of the Philippines”) for the Filipino American hip-hop anthem “Bebot.”

AJ Rafael wrapped up the festivities like a lumpia, saying: “Food, friends, family is what I think about when I think about being Filipino.”

Additional reporting by Michael Ordoña.

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Performers gather onstage to close "A Night of 'Pinoy'tainment."
Performers, including comic Lila Hart, center front, gather onstage to close “A Night of ‘Pinoy’tainment.”
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Ella Jay Basco, left, and Ruby Ibarra rehearse in the dressing room.
Ella Jay Basco, left, and Ruby Ibarra rehearse in a dressing room.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Singer-songwriter AJ Rafael, the evening's host, buttons his shirt.
Singer-songwriter AJ Rafael, the evening’s host, buttons up his formal shirt, called a barong tagalog.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Rappers Ruby Ibarra, below, and Nump perform.
Rappers Ruby Ibarra, below, and Nump perform at “A Night of ‘Pinoy’tainment.”
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Apl.de.Ap of the Black Eyed Peas and rising comic Lila Hart share a laugh backstage.
Apl.de.Ap of the Black Eyed Peas and rising comic Lila Hart share a laugh backstage.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Ruby Ibarra, left, and Ella Jay Basco hang out backstage.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)
Jasmine Rafael, left, dances with her crew.
Jasmine Rafael, left, dances with her crew at “A Night of ‘Pinoy’tainment,” a celebration of Filipino American talent at the Ford.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Dancers huddle before taking the stage.
Members of the dance group Kaba Modern huddle before taking the stage.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Jules Aurora, left, helps Alyssa Navarro get ready.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)
JR De Guzman plays guitar.
JR De Guzman performs at the Ford.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
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Lila Hart rehearses backstage.
Lila Hart rehearses backstage before her stand-up comedy performance.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Comedian Rex Navarrete on stage.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)
Rapper Apl.de.Ap dances with singer Jules Aurora at "A Night of 'Pinoy'tainment."
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Comedians Rex Navarrete and Lila Hart embrace backstage.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Comedian Erick Esteban, left, and rapper Nump at the Ford.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Artists take the stage at the end of the show.
Performers take the stage at the end of “A Night of ‘Pinoy’tainment.”
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)