K-Pop: Today’s News Blow Up

Screenshot from the “Say My Name” MV of (from left) Choi Jongho, Jeong Yunho, Park Seonghwa, Song Mingi, Jung Wooyoung, Kim Hongjoong, Choi San, and Kang Yeosang. Copyright goes to KQ Entertainment and ATEEZ.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I think the general K-Pop drama has been a little quiet for a while. Probably too quiet. For many of us that were hoping that this moment of bliss would last forever; that moment was broken this morning. And for those of us who were expecting the bomb to drop sometime; that was also this morning. I seriously can’t remember the last time I woke up to this amount of immediate K-Pop drama. And I have to say, I didn’t miss it. Though pointing all of this stuff out is absolutely necessary! The part that I didn’t miss was not the fighting against injustice part; it was the part where, for a while, K-Pop got a break from all the scandals and news articles, and people weren’t this disappointed. But stuff like this is going to happen every once in a while and I’m obviously going to go over everything that I woke up to this morning and my personal opinions on it. I’m getting tired of people not taking accountability and these are situations I want to call out myself. If you are triggered by possible blatant racism, maybe skip the first two stories. (This warning only applies to POC.) Otherwise, I’m just going to get straight into it.

Crush and Racism:

Most people know by now that the most recent BTS collaboration was done by J-Hope and Crush. “Rush Hour” has gotten masses of views and the dance craze has taken K-Pop and the internet by storm. For those of you who don’t know, Crush is an artist that just got back from military service and he recently made a comeback and started going on tours. At this point everything was happy and fine, at least from what people could remember (I’ll get back to that in a second), and Crush gained even more fans from his collaboration with J-Hope. Not long ago, a video dropped of Crush at a concert high-fiving fans. The video immediately struck netizens as odd, however, when he seemingly pulled his hand away from two fans only to then start high-fiving the other fans as regular. On closer inspection people realized that the two hands he skipped over were significantly darker than those around them. Another video released confirmed that these two fans were Black women and a video from another angle showed that they weren’t being pushed, they were not throwing themselves at him, they were simply standing as normal and he skipped over them. Netizens, rightly, demanded for Crush to explain his actions in skipping these two fans and his apology and official statement was released this morning. His statement made him look even more guilty, as he then claimed that he skipped an entire mass of fans because of dangerous pushing. The videos clearly show no pushing and that he only skipped these two fans in this section. This only seemingly confirmed his racism and that he wasn’t going to take accountability for it. His PR team needed to have looked over his apology so much better than they did. His apology should have been so much more specific than it was and should have taken accountability for the slight. If you are one of those people who are saying that people should have known from his actions before; leave people alone. A lot of his fans are new and most of his racism was a while back and got buried. There is no reason to shame anyone here.

Update: More videos were released made by unbiased fans that show he skipped over more than just the two fans and was doing a skip in multiple sections. Chances are, like Crush said, these were due to crowd control. The women who also posted the video have been proven to have a history of accusing multiple idols of racism because of not specifically interacting with her, even though she was in a crowd. I understand if you still feel either way about this, but I think this is a sign that we can put this behind us and stop worrying about it. And maybe we all should recognize that the internet is a place of knee jerk reactions and that’s ok. We just need to be a little more aware. This also doesn’t excuse the terrible apology.

ARMY Involvement:

Unfortunately, J-Hope liked Crush’s apology post. This is another move that baffles me. BTS should know to do research and not get themselves involved in controversy by now. I personally don’t believe that Hobi put the actual research into the situation before liking it; but I also think he needs to be held accountable for that mistake. A lot of ARMY are trying to bury the story and therefore Hobi’s involvement in it. Or, in the very least, are attempting to bury any criticism against Hobi for liking the post. I don’t think that’s right. BTS are human beings. They aren’t perfect. And we need to be able to both see that they make mistakes and have an open dialogue with them for when they make mistakes. We all know that Namjoon responded well and has grown exponentially from the “War Of Hormone” debate. By burying this and refusing to let Hobi see the constructive criticism, you are removing an opportunity for Hobi to also publicly grow from this. Do I think Hobi is racist? Absolutely not! I think that Hobi needs to be more careful about what he likes on social media though and Crush needs to be held accountable for what he did. Yes, we love Hobi. But now is not the time to bury Black voices. In fact, there is never a time where that is ok. So if you are an ARMY who has been helping bury the Hobi criticism with supportive posts, maybe instead turn your efforts to boost Black voices. Because, no, Hobi didn’t do the worst thing he ever could have done by liking it; but he also isn’t a child that needs to be protected from his mistakes.

ATEEZ and “Say My Name”:

Now to the usual negative news we see if ATEEZ is involved. ATEEZ has been publicly stolen from once again. We’ve seen them stolen from several times before and it’s no secret why. ATEEZ has some of the most eye-catching imagery and choreography, and a decidedly unique concept that’s become increasingly popular. Atiny already knows, but ATEEZ’s signature dance move is probably the driving move that made the choreography for their song “Say My Name” so iconic. Recently, Vata, a choreographer, copied this move by adding it into his choreography for Zico’s song “New Thing”. He did not credit ATEEZ or the original choreographers, and he presented the work entirely as his own. Atiny were quick to spot this and call him out and it seems that even ATEEZ has known about his plagiarism. Recently at ‘Daegu K-Pop Concert’, ATEEZ both performed “Say My Name” and seemingly addressed the plagiarism in their performance of “The Real”. The first part of the dance break was given to Wooyoung who did the biting sign (a common signal used to call people out for copying) and then proceeded to do the driving move in “Say My Name”. He continued to show the biting sign when Yunho took over the second half of the dance break, also coming onto the stage with the “Say My Name” move. Seongwha could also be seen doing the biting sign afterwards. Today, one of the the original ATEEZ choreographers who created the move, Anze Skrube, came out also stating that he felt it was absolutely plagiarism and asked for credit to be given where it’s due. We’ll see if Vata responds but, as I said before, this is not the first time we’ve seen someone steal from ATEEZ and I doubt this will be the last. ATEEZ has carved a space out for themselves with such fresh and new ideas that we’ll continue to see people also attempt to capture that lightning in sometimes immoral ways. I just hope that ATEEZ and their hardworking staff will be credited from here on out.

I always hate having to deliver the bad news in this way, but it’s important to take K-Pop with all of its facets. In order to see K-Pop as a whole, we all have to acknowledge the good as well as the bad. If we don’t acknowledge the bad; it won’t get better. And it would be awesome to keep seeing K-Pop become better and better! But I also understand if you woke up this morning and became tired, upset, and disappointed by the news. Just remember that there is just as much good in this industry as there is bad! Let’s keep supporting the good and trying to make the bad better! And if you want to talk about it, our comments section is always a safe space for anyone who wants to express any of their opinions. Except for racist ones of course. That will not be tolerated and should no longer be tolerated and swept under the rug in K-Pop.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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