K-Pop: No More After This, Ok?

Screenshot image of (from left) Jung Hoseok, Min Yoongi, and Kim Namjoon performing alongside backup dancers in Busan. Copyright goes to Weverse, HYBE, and BTS.

Hi! It’s Annie!

So I’ve been waiting until the end of this week to post this in case anything new came out. At the same time, I’ve been more or less keeping off of social media because it’s been like a war zone. Not long after I posted my last K-Pop news post, even more news blew up. And that has only continued throughout the week. I had prepared my ‘Parasocial Relationships’ post ahead of time, so I hadn’t even realized how relevant it would be by the time of actually posting it. But, like many, the news over the past few weeks has been exhausting to me. I don’t think I’ve seen so many situations blow up one after the other in this way since I started becoming a K-Pop fan. And though we do get the occasional blow up, usually we also get a while of break. I’m hoping this while of break will come up soon because we need it. But, to help even out some of the other news, I will bring up some more happy news to try and keep things a little lighter. Anyways, I’m going to get into the K-Pop news! And this is your TRIGGER WARNING: the first story I will talk about does contain abuse.

ONEUS and Ravn:

If you haven’t heard of the group ONEUS, go ahead and check out our recent post on them! Not only is their music absolutely beautiful and unique, but they are also one of the most underrated groups in K-Pop right now and the other members don’t deserve to be taken down because of the potential actions of one person. That aside, the allegations against the eldest member Ravn are pretty intense. Not all that long ago, a netizen claiming to be Ravn’s ex-girlfriend claimed that Ravn was a regular womanizer, an abuser, and a cheater. She claimed that he threatened her life during an argument that she had apparent audio footage of. She also accused him of cheating on her with several women and having a known reputation with women that is kept hidden from the public. Just to make things more understandable for people living in America, things like womanizing, though not illegal, are more serious allegations in South Korea than they would be here. As is cheating, which is hard to fathom considering how much the internet has been blowing up lately about American celebrities cheating. But, while those allegations are still not good in any possible way, the most important allegations here are the ones of abuse. The company claims that they are currently looking into the validity of it. Some people claim that the video and audio footage are faked and that the woman is a sasaeng stalker. One building the woman claimed to be her home looked much like ONEUS’s old dorm, but it’s hard to tell. There seems to be no current conclusive evidence either way and I’m sure we’ll receive an answer soon. This is too much in the public eye for the company to just brush it off, fortunately. The controversy around Ravn only grew when netizens found him seemingly begging fans for expensive gifts. Such as getting him a plaque on a park bench at a popular park, or mentioning expensive items that he claimed he could not go to the sale of. Though this is not illegal, it does feel pretty slimy and I have no idea why he would do that. We’ll have to see how this ends up, I’m personally really confused about the situation and don’t want to give too many of my own opinions. I believe that victims deserve to be heard, but after the major bullying scandal last year where several artists were targeted, it feels as though it’s really difficult to tell what is real. Especially with everyone weighing in with their opinions.

The asking for gifts thing still makes me uncomfortable; but that aside, I want to stress that this is not an opportunity to withdraw your support from ONEUS. Even if Ravn did do all he was accused of; the other members had no part in that. There are five other members of this group who are probably going through a really rough time right now and deserve our support. You can withdraw your current support of Ravn without withdrawing your support from ONEUS. Anyways, Ravn has been withdrawn from all future activities until this is completely sorted out. They are even marketing their tour with only pictures of the five members. I also want to stress that now is not the time to shame ONEUS or their company for not supporting Ravn. I understand it’s difficult if he was your bias or you were really attached to him, but just like we can’t assume that he’s guilty, we should not also assume that he’s innocent. Be supportive of the company actually responding well and making sure they do their jobs and look into the allegations. And also be supportive of the group getting through in the way they need to right now with only five members.

BTS Military Enlistment:

This is probably the most widespread news. This was even covered on news channels who accidentally used pictures of groups that weren’t even BTS (I am not kidding about this). BTS officially announced that they will be enlisting in the military. This was after the government once again extended the date of when they would decide if Jin should go, which was most likely done so that they wouldn’t end up having to decide and make an enemy of anyone. BTS did announce that they would all be going essentially at the same time. Jin will release a single before going first and then the others with all enter over the course of several months based around the releases of their own individual work. But, by this time next year, they will all be in the military most likely. Though this is disappointing and sets a precedent that South Korea does not apparently view K-Pop as being as important as classical music despite the money it makes them; I am proud of BTS for making this decision. Not only have they once again shown themselves to be humble kings, but they took the decision into their own hands and singlehandedly ended the drama. There have most likely been negotiations going on behind the scenes as well about their service as we already know it won’t look like most mandatory military service. They have already been given explicit permission to perform and do activities while they serve; something that has been looked down on and strictly dealt with in the past. But considering how many billions of dollars South Korea currently stands to lose by sending BTS to serve, this is probably because they are hoping to cut their losses as much as possible. And because they are all going around the same time, they’ll be back as OT7 before we all know it!

Disappointing Releases:

The other blow up that has been currently happening in K-Pop is widespread disappointment over some recent releases. This has been specifically targeted at girl groups such as Black Pink and ITZY. Despite being the current top girl groups, neither of their recent releases were met with positivity from either critics or fans. This has caused more fan wars as fans try to defend their groups by pointing to other groups as being worse or defending the released song itself. I can’t say I completely stan any of the groups currently involved in this controversy, so I am really looking at this from an outside perspective. But I guess we’ll see how it goes! I know that more worry has stemmed because of BTS going into the military. Many are worried that the general public will turn away from K-Pop, especially when releases from larger groups flop in this way. I would personally like to think that K-Pop has been pulled enough into the public eye to more than survive this. More and more groups are getting much higher numbers of international fans. But really, only time will tell if K-Pop will remain in the eye of the general public. I know for a fact that I’m not leaving it any time soon!

ATEEZ Japan Comeback:

Here’s some of the happy news, along with ONEUS’s tour which I’m hoping to see in February! ATEEZ has officially announced a new Japanese comeback. Though we don’t have a track list yet, the promotional photo released today looked fantastic! I just hope that they get some rest soon because it really does seem like they’ve been releasing content nonstop for too long at this point.

I know some of the information and news is scary, but really all of this is only temporary. I don’t think we’re going to see the destruction of any of these groups because of a lack of popularity any time soon. I personally believe that all of these groups will come back stronger and better and we, as fans, just need to stick it out with them! There is still hope!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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