I was very pleasantly surprised to have received a number of messages - thank you all so much for dropping by! Unfortunately, I used up my study break for today, so I’ll be replying to everyone else’s ask at a later time! Sorry for the horrible inactivity these past couple of I don’t know how many days, but it will only go on for at the most another week when I’m school-free for winter break (and for life, as it is my final college semester e v e r!!!!!)
I hope all of you have been well, and have a great first-week of December :) For those who are also in the middle (or beginning) of final exams, good luck and finish strong!!
Hiii fellow fan! I think an open letter on the issue is an excellent idea that needs to be done pronto… I just Googled Hoya’s recent use of the N-word (it was during OGS Shanghai) and that.. is disappointing. It is indeed prevalent in K-pop as a whole, and I’ve just been on the lookout for the perfect opportunity to do something proactive about it. Piggybacking it with the original letter for “Inconvenient Truth” is a creative idea, but as of now I’m having problems moving forward with it because of translations :( With the way it’s been going, I don’t think it will be sent off anytime soon, but people have still been signing the petition. The word is still going around; and I’ve been having seeds of thought about expanding the campaign to other instances similar to “Inconvenient Truth” just so it can reach a bigger audience and seem less isolated than it may right now.
To be honest, I think racism and cultural insensitivity in K-pop deserves a campaign of its own. It would be somewhat of a mouthful to bunch all these issues into one open letter; and to target only Infinite would most likely also make it seem very isolated, if that makes sense. At the same time, from a very instrumental point of view, on Infinite and Woollim’s end it may be overwhelming to have a number of issues addressed at once. Each of these issues require very careful explanation, particularly in a way Infinite and Woollim can understand it (remember, the members and employees may possess a very different world view than the rest of us. The fear I have for the existing letter is the possibility that it’s complicated to understand from a different cultural perspective… this may sound like me making an excuse, but I’ve been surprised one too many times in the past by people who still don’t believe sexism exists; and all the more when such beliefs go beyond individual judgment and is grounded in political and cultural upbringings.)
If fans can get together and build a list of instances of racism in K-pop, that can be a start. We will then have to build a rhetoric that explains why these instances are a problem, and why this is a problem that is bigger than those instances. There was a bunch of things I learned from organizing this petition alone, and one of them is being able to readily explain from all sorts of angles why it’s a problem and why people should care. That strengthens our argument against all sorts of resistance; and we should also expand our understanding of those who don’t get it at first :(
I will definitely keep this in the back of my mind until things on my end clear up (EXAMS ugh) but please, please do think about it on your end and share any ideas you may have! I may still need to figure out what to do with this existing open letter, but for any start-up ideas you may have I would be more than happy to help you develop them!! Thanks for stopping by and I hope I hear from you again :)
Hi there! This is not offensive at all - thanks for taking the time to drop by and making me aware of this. I try my best to avoid being ethnocentric, but of course, it’s still a virtue that needs work! If you could link to me some articles that concerned you, that would be great and really helpful for me :) Thanks again for your constructive words and support :)))
Hello to both of you! Apologies to you and everyone else who have sent me messages for getting to them only now. I’ve been MIA because of exams, but I’ll be taking the time today to answer what I can :)
I haven’t commented on this yet, and I had a reason why, other than the fact it was too confusing for me to keep up with :(
I don’t know if I have a substantive opinion since I haven’t thought too deeply I about it since I read the first few releases back in September; but we’ll see where this post goes because I always end up word vomiting none the less. To me, it just feels like a situation being given way too much attention. I’m also not a fan of the “scandal” label being slapped on any dating rumor, or the fact it’s often seen as a controversy… the only controversy about it is the uncertainty that surrounds whether x is dating y, and I have a personal grudge against engaging too much with such news :( a relationship is a relationship, but it gets exaggerated and messed around with by the media and fans when it involves celebrities.
However, I had/have certain woes about the fact that this is just another case of personal lives being publicized on Twitter. This differs from a past conversation we’ve had regarding sunbaes calling out hoobaes and the "collective censuring force" of followers - this was, as many people have perceived it at least, a case of misjudgment. Then again, perhaps calculated judgment? Who knows what was going through Myungsoo’s head when he decided to post the tweets in question; who knows what replies he was anticipating from his followers. Many took it as an act of disrespect towards his fans, whom he essentially “tricked” into thinking he was wooing them; as well as towards the fans who knew he was in a relationship and whose efforts to keep it on the down low for his sake was compromised with those tweets. As a result, there are a number who see this as a ‘scandal’ that both Myungsoo and Kim Doyeon brought upon themselves. However, as much as how people receive it, there’s also the original intention (perhaps to somehow publicize their relationship, since Woollim was clearly not going to allow them to?), which we may unfortunately never know (thus the former is given more importance).
Regarding the latest update, I’m disappointed how this sort of went down. Attacking Kim Doyeon as a person was not at all warranted, despite our impressions of her (and after all, they’re just impressions!); and the terrorizing she has evidently received from fans is. Not. Acceptable. It probably motivated her all the more to come out with their relationship, which obviously prompted Woollim to admit they were hiding it all along.
Who’s to blame? I believe we don’t have the right to go down that path. People are saying Infinite’s image is damaged (I don’t know if I’d personally see it like that, but then again I’m not the entire fandom/Korea), Myungsoo’s careless (a characteristic we have no business with), Kim Doyeon is an attention seeker (another characteristic irrelevant to us) and Woollim is incompetent (I sort of agree). From the way I see it, two young people are in deep like for each other but barely have time to see each other; they take it to Twitter in the heat of the moment (carelessly, yes, according to our expectations of celebrity and the way they ought to handle themselves in public, which Twitter essentially is); and avid fans latch on. Plus they have a label that is pretty adamant about silencing them, especially considering the potential blow to their image. If Infinite didn’t have such overly impassioned fans*, this wouldn’t have probably made it to the press. But I personally think this wouldn’t have gone as far if we just didn’t care in the first place.
*Not sure if that’s a good thing, considering the role of ‘image protector’ Inspirits have played in this case.. or maybe I’m underestimating the intimacy many K-Inspirits may in fact have with the members, especially those who follow them around as fan photographers (the owners of the fansites that closed down/went on hiatus)
I guess that’s all I have to say about the matter for now… I didn’t have much time to engage with it since I only prepped myself after receiving your questions, but I hope this was a thoughtful read none the less! Thanks for coming by :)
This past week, two members of BTS attended a radio show alongside a number of prominent underground artists. In the course of the show, which was not supposed to be about them, they were grilled by underground rapper B-Free. The controversy surrounding B-Free’s remarks towards BTS members Rap Monster and Suga exposes a set of questions that have been with hiphop since its beginning, and that persist around the world: What is hiphop, and who gets to define it? Can MCs keep it real while also marketing to the mainstream? Where do we draw the line between selling records and selling out? On a meta-level, we can also look at the remarks as a whole and ask, How does the hiphop community resolve those questions in a way that upholds the community’s values? You can watch the video with subs for yourself here, and read an approximate transcript here. Further explanation of the events can be found here and here. The following is my take on what happened and what it means both for hiphop and for kpop.
Thanks to Angry Kpop Fan for the question, and for many of the links provided!
I must have squealed out loud in sheer delight when I saw the amount of discussion taking place over at Radio Palava on this incident and the important questions that arise from it. Thanks so much for your well-written post as well as moderating the conversations that ensued!
Check out the original post as well as its comment thread, as well as the following for more interesting dialogue: the adoption of hiphop by other cultures; the exchange between performer and audience in hiphop + “idol hiphop” vs. “regular hiphop”; follow-up (“Even more on B-Free, BTS, and the kpop-hiphop nexus”); follow-up #2.
Diss tracks and “coming correct”
I apologize if taking this conversation down a different direction poses some inconvenience, but while reading on Radio Palava’s take of “coming correct” I can’t help but be reminded of this mega diss tournament that took place earlier this year, which I hope would be a good comparison to draw from. Instigated by Korean MC Swings and followed through with about 7349283948230943 other artists in underground K-hiphop, what started out as a somewhat personal beef between Swings and certain others soon deviated into different directions that dragged in a bunch more artists and a bunch more issues, including Gaeko of Dynamic Duo versus former Amoeba Culture/Supreme Team member E-Sens. Block B’s Zico was also dragged in at one point, but he didn’t release anything (more on that later). (In lieu of a full summary for those interested, see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here for more information. I wasn’t kidding when I suggested a lot of people jumped on board.)
I may have it wrong (please do correct me) but diss tracks as a form of critique and retaliation as a means to “come correct” seems to be more legitimate than B-Free’s choice of a battleground. Swings is essentially one of the “sunbaes” in underground Korean hiphop, and the issues he has with today’s scene he brings to the table in a purely lyrical form. All the more interesting is that those he attacked shoot back not only through lyrics as well, but on the same beat - Big Sean’s “Control”. Moreover, Swings provides others with the opportunity to retaliate and defend themselves, and they do. (We don’t know if and how this beef was taken outside its lyrical form though, and if it did that could pose some really interesting questions.) However, an important element would have to be the nature of the beef itself. It is arguable (as many people have pointed out) that Swings was just being a complete - pardon my French - ass and played his seniority to his own advantage. Among the people he calls out are rookies and disses them on the basis of their skills (as he perceives it):
Sure, I’m sorry so now follow me through rap
Except the fucking rookies because y’all are just fucking rookies
When I was a rookie, I wasn’t like you guys so step it up
The politicians in the generation before me aren’t that small in numbers
I don’t respect you as you’re just moldy rice to me
… and, specifically targeted towards his dongsaengs in hiphop crews Do’Main and Buckwilds and their affiliations:
I don’t hate you, I just don’t like your certain hyung
Now, this is where Swings loses it for me and sort of downgrades to B-Free’s level. Is it fair to lash out at rookies because of issues he had in the past with their hyungs? This does not make a very legitimate nor fair premise for rivalry; and because of his disses toward rookies in general he essentially invited all of them into the game (which explains why he got a gajillion of tracks in response).
Ugly Duck, a rookie as well as a member of both crews Swings mentioned, and one of the first to respond, brings in a different mood and also seems to play his position as a dongsaeng down a different path. Unlike Rap Monster, he takes the diss personally and creates beef out of it, his response is not passive (he calls out Swings directly, going as far as calling him a “pig”, “psychopath”, “desperate for attention”), but there is a tone of disappointment rather than pure anger. He mentions he was a fan of Swings, having looked up to him during his younger years, and ends by calling him nothing but a “good memory” from then on. Swings then releases another track in response, and this is where he gets incredibly ugly, an incredibly angry attempt (based on the frequent cussing) to shut Ugly Duck down (may also be fueled from the fact this is a dongsaeng challenging his status). He acknowledges that he was his fan, but that he is now his “bitch”, calls him a “slave” of his hyungs, and furthermore accepts the challenge of laying down explicitly who has a problem with (including Simon D). This round ends with Ugly Duck, a short verse in which he calls Swings “childish”; and though he still recognizes his talent and the “influence” he has, Swings “has changed for sure.”
More on K-pop vs. K-hiphop; the invalidity of the whole “hiphop isn’t for women/’femininity’” BS
Of course, rap disses in the Korean underground would not be complete without blows to K-pop. A few artists later in the battle bring it up, but the one that caught the most flak was one by ApheLIA, entitled "Zicontrol" (yeah he didn’t even try to hide it at all). In a nutshell, ApheLIA operates on the exact same logic as B-Free, questioning Zico’s decision to go down the idol route and, of course, the fangirls who come to the hiphop concerts he makes appearances for. The rest of the song turns onto the BBC fandom directly, and even takes on a misogynist tone, suggesting that women can’t possibly know what hiphop is all about:
Of course, on the day of the performance there were female listeners everywhere.
How many of them would have the respect for the scene?
(Full translation here)
Zico owns him by not responding at all, which I think was a pretty warranted move, considering the context. This was a diss tournament that went down in directions way different than how it started; for some, it really started when Gaeko and E-Sens jumped in; and given the fact that ApheLIA released his track towards the very end of this tournament, when many were sort of already starting to get cynical about the whole thing, it would have probably aggravated things if Zico decided to release his defense just when everything was cooling down.
Radio Palava brought up really good points on ‘fanservice’ (particularly for female fans) and its place in hiphop. As she points out here and here, it evidently has a place, and may have something to do with the male artist’s reassertion of masculinity. It renders these artists’ arguments against K-pop for its fangirls quite weak. As for ‘femininity’* in hiphop? There are sheer double standards as it was pointed out here: what would B-Free say to the likes of Jolly V - well-respected female MC; Kitti B - resembles a HyunA type figure due to her “sexy” image; and of course, Yoon Mi-rae - wife, mother, woman, and MC… you can’t get more ‘feminine’ in hiphop than that.
*Disclaimer: ‘Feminine’/’femininity’ purely as the social construct.
Those are my (messy) thoughts on the matter for now. No doubt there’s a lot more to draw from these discussions!
LOL ok the stickers thing threw me off.. I apologize, I can’t tell if you’re joking or not. On a serious tone, I’m honestly not the person to ask when it comes to audition advice… but you know what, why not - go for it! (PS. don’t mention what you CAN’T do in your application. Same goes for any (job) application, actually.) Good luck!!
;_______________________; you’re sweet omg thank you ♥
Just itching to say a few things after having read and wept at some detailed accounts by lucky fans who got to see Infinite in New York a couple of days ago. The fist-biting moments aside, I noticed that many have expressed similar frustration and disappointment at the venue arrangement, a few security-staff issues, but particularly what went down in the pit: many people pushing, shoving, and being plain inconsiderate to the point fans were having panic attacks, being trampled over, and even fainting due to what I assume may have been either exhaustion or dehydration (considering the fact they didn’t allow water into the venue). Evidently it didn’t go unnoticed by Infinite themselves, who seemed extremely concerned at several points throughout the show, as some of the accounts indicated.
But what stood out were what I thought were very heroic moments, particularly by the fan-account writers themselves. They went out of their way to help random strangers in the crowd, getting them to security when it was clear they were about to pass out or shield vulnerable ones from violent flailing elbows. They prioritized the safety of others and themselves as much as their own enjoyment of the concert; perhaps even at the expense of it. A huge fat shout-out to you - there’s a lot to learn from the way you handled yourselves under the exact same conditions as some others who were not as thoughtful in their behaviors and decisions; and also, good to know you all stayed relatively safe.
NOTE: this is not meant to generalize the entire OGS-NY experience - I’m sure it was not all negative and I hope that the positives ultimately overshadowed everything, but stuff like this needs to emphasized, even though they may arguably “happen all the time”. Concerts are brutal, bruises and sore throats are expected, but with a little bit of civility there are certain behaviors (and thus, dangers) that can wholly be avoided, even in the face of shitty circumstances set by the staff and organizers. Evidently, a few unruly fans in just one section of the entire venue can do a lot to affect the experience (and safety) of many.
Anyways, these speak for themselves.
that I hope kpop fans will think about and take action on this week.
1) Please offer whatever support you can to folks in the Philippines, who are dealing with the tragic aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. You can read more about it at the sources in MJ’s post here; thousands of lives have been lost and a great deal of infrastructure has been damaged, not to mention people who are injured, whose homes are gone, who may be separated from family members, and so on. There are also links in that post (and this one as well as The Nation’s list) to various relief organizations and directions for how to donate. People who are working on relief efforts on the ground know what they need, so at this point an influx of cash will likely be most helpful.
Obviously, I hope that people who are not kpop fans will donate liberally, and I hope that people who are fans will donate because it’s the right thing to do. But I think this is especially important for kpop fans because many of the people affected are members of the kpop community - our friends and (online) neighbors. It’s so impressive that kpop fans can rally around our idols and upset (or nearly upset) Western-dominated awards shows; let’s take that energy and enthusiasm to support for our fellow fans, their families, and the people of their country as they recover from this disaster. That kind of care is the true power of fandom.
2) I hope you will remove Allkpop from your kpop news resources. Their attempt to sabotage Ailee’s career this past weekend is unjustifiable and immoral (and also illegal, I believe). Please do not visit the site - for every pageview they get, they make money, which allows them to continue to cause harm. Their toxicity is not needed in kpop fandom. Consult other sites for kpop news. (I find Omona to be fairly comprehensive and up-to-date.)
(re the Philippines: if now’s not a good time, keep in mind that money can also be useful several weeks or months down the line after a disaster, once the extent of the damage has been known and rebuilding efforts have begun.)
An urgent call for fluent Korean writers to help finish up the translations for the "Inconvenient Truth" petition! About 1/4 of the letter has been translated, thanks to the hard work of unbreakable-paradise, who unfortunately will not be able complete the entire thing. The plan is to get this done before the end of December (the end of Infinite’s world tour), but if that’s not possible that’s still perfectly fine - a translated version will still do so much help to keep the message spreading; and I will still arrange to have it sent to Woollim Entertainment.
I hope there is someone out there interested in lending a hand! Please inbox me or send me an email (email@example.com). Thanks!
Beyond Hallyu will no longer be linking to articles from allkpop either on our website or on our social networking profiles.
As it now appears that allkpop themselves were the originating source for the photos of Ailee they are circulating we cannot condone this behaviour. Even Korean media outlet, Dispatch which is hardly known for its ethical practices has released a transcript showing them turning the photos down.
In Korea the release of these kinds of photos is illegal and it is also highly immoral.
We cannot stand by and watch this website attempt to destroy this young woman’s career simply for pageviews. We will not stand by and watch her bodily autonomy and personal privacy be infringed on for the sake of advertising revenue.
For these reasons you will not see links to allkpop on Beyond Hallyu again.
We hope you understand. If you agree, we hope you also boycott this website. There are plenty of other K-pop news outlets out there, we don’t need to accept this.
We have now released a full explanation of our boycott of allkpop and 6Theory media.
Hi there, you’re very welcome!
There are three major reasons I personally don’t support akp. First, for its very purpose. It is a for-profit gossip site, a ground that breeds unnecessary hype in exchange for money. None the less, what it essentially is is the English-language middleman between international fans and the Korean news on pop culture, but it can do more than just regurgitate what is being reported in Korean media, considering that the latter is itself very frivolous. As it is a very popular website, they need to assume a sense of responsibility to not just their audiences but those who they are reporting on, and put some thought into the issues they choose to report on. As a matter of fact, as they are their own translators, they are in total control of how the coverage is delivered in English. What they publish, even if it has already been published, has consequences on the spread and the perception of a certain issue; as well as what K-pop fans ought to prioritize. If it’s a headline, it must be important. For instance, posts on who tweeted what selca when, in my eyes, is not necessary. Sites like akp, however, need those posts simply to rake in views and traffic, which keeps them among the most viewed websites. It’s all about numbers, and there are certain things writers [are encouraged to] do to attract ‘clicks’, which leads me to my second reason: how they go about achieving this purpose.
One of the biggest problems I have with akp is misleading headlines. The headline is a very important feature of an article, if not the most, as it is what the article is essentially about. For those who won’t go ahead to read the entire thing, you want to be able to communicate to your readers what the news is for the day via that one phrase. akp knows how to insert the ‘shock factor’ into their headlines for issues that are not as dire as the headline may come off as. For instance, an article entitled “TVXQ’s Yunho told Changmin to quit singing?” was in fact about a pre-debut incident shared on a show and caused laughter on set, signaling it may have not been serious nor was it meant to be taken seriously. Moreover, because it is simply a textual recap of that segment of the show, the entire coverage in itself is not wholesome as one may need to actually watch the show for context. (Another example is “INFINITE’s L claimed that SM Entertainment artists are 60% looks and 40% talent?” Another pre-debut no-biggie, but as there is no context, such a reveal summarized as it was in one phrase leaves a very bitter taste in the mouths of SM fans. akp should also be aware that fanwars start over the smallest things, and the fact they don’t seem to place as much care as they should in their wording makes me think it’s in their interests to do so. On a side note, are such things even ‘newsworthy’????) And once again, the translations. How something is said, or what is selected to be said, has implications on our own knowledge and perception of the issue. Another example is “‘Dream Team 2’ gets slammed for licentious content,” in which their lead is “[the show] contained some suggestive and licentious scenes that left viewers feeling uncomfortable.” It may seem harmless, but what do we already know of the issue from this one sentence? That the images were suggestive and licentious. No mention of an alternate possibility, nor were the descriptors even in quotes, which is used to separate ideas from that of the writer. If you watch the actual clips itself, they’re really not that bad (and I further argue this is just a matter of netizens overreacting). But akp barely gives us that chance to consider that possibility. If you like, google that article (I’m not going to link it), read it, then read this take. They state the issue as follows: “Viewers of the show complained about the bikini-like clothes that the female celebrities were wearing and also the angle of the camera that seemed to focus on certain body parts.” Spot the difference? I’m being nitpicky, but language really does affect us in ways we are least aware.
So there’s all that, and there’s the incidents akp have found themselves in the middle of. Off the top of my head, this Ailee thing as well as the ZICO/Hwayoung dating rumor. There’s also this Tablo thing I just found. I’m personally only at most 85% certain about these things, but they’re enough of a reason for me to not support them.
Maybe some may find my views on journalism are a bit extreme. It is true that sites like akp cannot be helped, considering the climate of today’s entertainment industry and the culture of its fans and consumers; and essentially, their job is to report, not judge. I do not support it, however (and it is not the fault of only akp but that of the entire industry) and the most I feel I can do as of now is simply not consume akp, nor empty celebrity gossip and glorification for that matter. I just think it’s excessive. What I mentioned above is also found in many other news sites (enewsworld is very guilty for their bloated headlines - they basically profit from the number of clicks they get) so I encourage you to always take everything with a grain of salt, no matter where you read it.
EDIT: I just want to make very clear I don’t support akp as a brand, not its individual writers. I am very sure akp has employees who do not agree with the way the ones on top do things, as there are those who do.
With that said, I don’t really have much sources I go to for news :( I mostly go here and here though, because they append their news with commentary, which does not make it neutral per se but it sets the conditions for discussion, which is always a positive. You know at least you’re consuming more than just news. EDIT: Here too! Other than that, I get my news from around Tumblr (which is why I’m always behind on the haps in the K-pop world).
I wrote this in the heat of the moment, but I hope this makes sense for now. Thanks for dropping by!
I regret jumping the gun on this issue, as literally seconds after I hit the publish button I saw this breakdown of the issue by Seoulbeats. I reviewed my initial response, and I’m at least glad I did not say anything other than the gist of what went down. I italicized purportedly though, and added “6Theory Media” which Allkpop is a part of.
I apologize greatly for not having waited a little while longer before publishing my last post. It was a close call, but not something that should be done ever again.
All in all, however, I still strongly stand against Allkpop for publishing these photos, whether or not the leak came from within. I still condone not spreading the photos, not viewing the coverage, and avoiding Allkpop all together.
On a side note, this entire thing is an instance of how the lines of what’s wrong and what’s right are blurred when it comes to entertainment journalism and ‘reporting the truth’. As fans and consumers, are we really entitled to know ‘the truth’, especially when it harms our favorite idols?
NSFW photos from Ailee’s past long before she was an idol, depicting her in the nude has just been publicized via the press. These photos were part of her application to model for a certain lingerie company that scammed her and released them to the open behind her back. The photos were then disclosed to the press by her ex-boyfriend, who initially tried to sell them to Dispatch. Dispatch turned them down, but was released to the public yesterday on Allkpop, for which this ex is now purportedly the vice president (of 6Theory Media).
I am sure Ailee’s fandom is already aware of this, but I’m not sharing this to hype it up, but rather to encourage everyone, fan or not, to be supportive of her as this was a blatant violation of her privacy, and a real filthy move on the part of Allkpop, a supposedly professional website. Sure, the entertainment industry is a dirty world, but when we can help it, we shouldn’t stoop as low ourselves. Please do not view the Allkpop coverage, and please do not spread the photos, whether it be you posting them OR linking to them or reblogging them here on Tumblr. If you seriously can, please consider boycotting Allkpop and avoiding it as your source of news and updates, but that is up to your discretion. Though I don’t support them myself, I go to them once in a while to see what’s up in the K-pop world, but after today I won’t even go as far as citing any article that borrows their coverage as their own. This is incredibly abhorrent, and honestly, as a fan striving to be a responsible consumer, the final straw in regards to anything Allkpop.
Please do spread this word around and encourage others to do the same; and in the meantime, heartfelt thoughts to Ailee and let’s all hope she keeps her head up until this all blows over.