Famous Samoans (Chapter 5)

FALEOMAVAEGA ENI HUNKIN – U.S. Congressman American Samoa

U.S. Congressman - Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin

Eni Fa’aua’a Hunkin Faleomavaega, Jr. is the non-voting Delegate to the United States House of Representatives from American Samoa’s At-large congressional district.


Faleomavaega was born in Vailoatai Village but grew up on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. He graduated from Kahuki High School and attended Brigham Young University-Hawaii, from which he earned an associated degree. He then transferred to Brigham Young University’s main campus in Utah and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. Faleomavaega attended the University of Houston Law Center and the University of California, Berkeley, earning a Juris Doctor and a Master of Law degree. He served in the United States Army from 1966 to 1969, and as an officer in the United States Army Reserve from 1982 to 1989. Faleomavega served in the Vietnam War and left the military with the rank of captain. He and his wife are active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Faleomavaega served as the administrative assistant to American Samoa Delegate A.U. Fuimaono from 1973 to 1975 and as staff counsel for the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs from 1975 to 1981. He worked as Deputy Attorney General for the territory of American Samoa between 1981 and 1984.

Faleomavaega entered elective politics when he ran alongside A.P. Lutali in the 1985 gubernatorial race. He served as Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa from 1985 to 1989. Faleomavaega was elected as a Democrat to the House of Representatives, serving from January 3, 1989 to the present.

In 1987, he participated in an event that followed traditional Polynesian life experiences by sailing from Tahiti to Hawaii in a canoe.

MUSASHIMARU KOYO – Former professional Sumo Wrestler (Japan)

Musashimaru Koyo was born May 2, 1971 as Fiamalu Penitani in American Samoa), is a former sumo wrestler. He was the second foreign-born wrestler in history to reach the rank of yokozuna. He won over 700 top division bouts and took twelve top division tournament championships during his career. Musashimaru’s sheer 235 kg (520 lb) bulk combined with 1.92 m (6 ft 3+1⁄2 in) of height made him a formidable opponent, and he was remarkably consistent and injury-free for most of his career. An amiable personality, his fan base was helped by a surprising facial resemblance to Japanese warrior hero Saigō Takamori. He now works as a coach at Musashigawa stable.

Fiamalu Penitani was born in eastern Samoa, the fourth son of a Tongan-German father and a Samoan-Portuguese mother. The family moved to Oahu, Hawaiʻi when he was ten years old. While attending Waianae high school he played American football and was offered a scholarship to Pasadena City College, but he also had success in Greco-Roman wrestling, and his wrestling coach encouraged him to give sumo a try. He moved to Japan and joined former yokozuna Mienoumi’s Musashigawa stable in June 1989, initially on a trial basis only. This proved to be successful and he formally made his professional debut that September, adopting the shikona of Musashimaru. He moved up the ranks quickly, becoming an elite sekitori wrestler in July 1991 upon promotion to the juryo division.[2] He reached the top makuuchi division just two tournaments later in November 1991. He made komusubi in May 1992 and sekiwake in July. After a superb 13-2 record and runner-up honours in November 1993, and a 12-3 score the following January, he was promoted to ozeki alongside Takanonami.

In November of 2002, he tore a tendon in his wrist that ultimately ended his professional sumo wrestling career. November the following year he told the press that he had also injured himself while playing American football. He was the last ‘Hawaiian’ in sumo wrestling. He however has remained as oyakata or coach in sumo at his old stable.


Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. are a hip hop group from Carson, California, composed of the Devoux brothers Paul, Ted, Donald, Roscoe, Danny, and David. Their family is from Samoa. They first began playing music in their father’s Baptist church. Before anyone else arrived, they would play P-Funk and experiment with other forms of hip-hop. Particularly popular in their South Bay neighborhood, they began to dance to funk music. The brothers then created the dance crew the Blue City Strutters and publicly performed. All members are members or former members of the Bloods and Samoan Warriors Despite their religious upbringing, the brothers eventually fell into the gang scene popular in their home of Compton, Los Angeles. After their youngest brother was killed in 1987, they decided to turn their lives around and dedicate their lives to music because “that’s what he would have wanted.” To get away from the gang culture, the brothers decided to leave L.A. and go to Japan. While there, they were inspired to begin performing music again, with Paul “Gangxta R.I.D.” rapping in front of eager Japanese audiences. They toured Japan in the mid 1980s and became very popular. Upon their return to California in 1988, the group focused again on making music and re-christened themselves as the Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. Their pioneering debut LP, New Funky Nation, was different from most rap records at the time because the Boo-Yaa TRIBE played live instruments on it. Later on, they ventured into the realms of both gangsta rap and rapcore music. They also appeared on the Judgment Night soundtrack performing “Another Body Murdered” with Faith No More, on Kid Frost’s East Side Story LP, on The Transplants’ Haunted Cities LP and on the rock group P.O.D.’s Testify, with the emotional rap track “On the Grind.” The “Boo-Yaa” in their name signifies the sound of a shotgun being discharged, while the “T.R.I.B.E.” stands for “Too Rough International Boo-Yaa Empire.” According to hip-hop documentarian, Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. is “synonymous with hip hop in Los Angeles.”

The Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. has also proven to be very influential for other Samoan hip-hop artists. Kosmo, an important Samoan hip-hop artist in New Zealand cites the Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. as “an original inspiration for his lifelong interest in street dance and…hip hop music.” Additionally, as Samoans are often seen as a diasporic group spread out among various locations, the Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. have been successfully able to reckon their role as Samoans and Americans while still traveling and achieving success in Japan and other countries. The group’s 1997 album titled “Angry Samoans” hints at the connection to their Samoan heritage even as they are often identified with the California hip-hop scene.

The four brothers began their musical careers on a small scale performing instrumentals at their father (a Baptist Minister’s) Church. While on their own time they would be practising funk hits from the American band Parliament-Funkadelic The Brothers got their start through professional dance then later found their way into making the music to which they enjoyed dancing. In 2000 there was a small change within the group as David Devoux left, and was replaced by Vincent Devoux aka Gawtti.


Rozonda Ocelean Thomas (aka her stage name Chilli from TLC) has long been rumored to be of Samoan heritage, but unfortunately for us – Chilli is not Samoan. She says so in a YouTube video interview. (search Chilli not Samoan) She could easily pass for one though. She is actually of East Indian, African American and Native American descent…when you mix that all together – you might get Samoan?? (Kalofa e. Ia tuu ia. Maybe next time. Thank you all for trying)

0 thoughts on “Famous Samoans (Chapter 5)

  1. 85 I think it was when I first bought the album…Saved up my lunch money dad & mum gave me…Headed up to the local record store and imported the album…Back then stores didn’t stock their material…Took 3 weeks just to get the ‘New Funky Nation’ joint…On VINYL of course

    I don’t think America was ready for them.

    Best Samoan Rap Group Period…Opened doors for a lot of these islanders trying to make it in music industry…Ask your favourite rapper!


  2. yeahhh boo ya tribe!!! they so cool…i dnt care how old they are I f***n luv em haha. whoa whoa excited.

    anndd wheres chapters 1 to 4? lol have i been gone that long. sorry 😀

    great stuff buddy

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