Alright, let’s talk about it.
However I’m going to come at it from another angle. I’ve mentioned up here that I am a fan of Korean pop music (Kpop) and, if you aren’t a fan of these things you should know that a lot of Kpop artists are majorly influenced by Black culture, African American culture to be more specific. You can hear it in their music, you can see it in how they stylize their music videos, how they speak English to emulate us, how their raps flow, all that. However, the artists overstep the line of appreciation and appropriation a lot.
For example, some Korean hip hop artists, Sous Chef, Jay Park, Kim Hyoeun, and nafla, all got together and decided to make a song called N.W.A. Now, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you see N.W.A? It damn sure ain’t this “New Wave Attitude” they were trying to spin at their fans. Not only was that disrespectful to the actual N.W.A crew (Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, DJ Yella, and MC Ren), it was also rude to all of their international fans. The thing about Kpop, Khiphop in particular, is that they don’t really have a huge following in Korea, proper. Koreans are more likely to buy music if it’s cute or a ballad. Therefore, these artists often depend on their small, niche audience and their international fans to support them. For the life of me, I cannot understand why they almost constantly try us like this.
Don’t even get me started on the abundance of openly racist, colorist, misogynistic, and fatphobic things a number of stars over there say. I’ve been into Kpop about 13 years now, I got into it back in 2004 thanks to an anime called Inuyasha, and honestly it’s a long story for another post, but, the point is! I! have seen! and heard! A LOT OF SHIT!! And I have made the executive decision to not follow certain groups, certain artists, and certain Korean television shows because of how they speak about my people. My motto is: don’t give your time and money to someone that doesn’t respect you. I stand by that 10000000%.
ALL THAT BEING SAID, there is this one television show where they round up about 100 rappers and make them compete for who is the best. It’s called Show Me the Money (SMTM) and they are about to start their 6th season. Honestly, I’ve only watched the third and fifth season all the way through and, trust me, it was a struggle. (I watched the first maybe 6-7 episodes of the fourth season but, I had to stop because they were doing the absolute most and I found myself getting way too angry and my blood pressure is much more important than a damn show.) In season 3 of SMTM, there was a contestant who said “Busan nigga” and the judges did this uncomfortable laugh and continued on their day like it wasn’t a big deal. Mind you all the contestants were Korean because it’s a Korean tv show filmed in Korea so he had no business saying anything like that. And a bunch of non-Black fans international fans are always the first ones to come out of nowhere talking about some “he doesn’t know what it means,” “he was saying nae-ga (the Korean word for I),” or, my personal favorite, “well if Black people don’t want others saying it, Black people shouldn’t say it either.” I have so many emotions.
Not only do they know what the word means, they also all know, every single one of the people in the Korean entertainment industry, that it is not a good word for non-Black people to say. Not only have international fans broke their backs to educate their favs, but, also, a lot of these people have studied abroad in the United States and know exactly how we feel about the word. Also, the word is so widely known in Korea that is isn’t uncommon for kids as young as elementary age to know the word and make jokes using it. And to be honest, as someone who claims their inspiration to rap comes from listening to 90s hip hop and r&b, they should know what they’re talking about and what is okay and not okay to say. These are grown ass adults out here saying nigga like it’s the new hip trend. Grown ass adults don’t need to be babied. Also, in case you were wondering, Busan is a beach town so he was trying to rep his town like a lot of our rappers in the US do, but he got eliminated, NOT BECAUSE HE WAS OUT OF LINE, but because he was a bad rapper.
So, fast forward to season 5 of SMTM, the show decided to have two rounds of auditions, one in Korea and one in LA. The one in LA was open to the public and a few Black people went. Now, the show is called Show Me the Money because it offers a cash prize of 100 million KRW, which is about 97,600 USD which is a lot of money! But it was weird because the show referred to the Black people as “Native Hip Hop” and, while I get what they were going for, maybe don’t say it like that.
Coming up to season 6, I’m excited to see how it’s going to go because it was recently released that one of the judges was going to be the legendary rapper Tiger JK. I’m excited for this because, not only did Tiger JK live in California for a while, he is also married to Yoon Mirae, who is mixed Korean and Black. They have a son together, who is also Korean and Black. Honestly, I’m hoping that Tiger JK won’t put up with any anti-Black nonsense from the contestants and the other judges.
Long story short, tl;dr, liking Kpop is very stressful if your Black.