It’s almost the end of the year and there’s a lot going on. Most of it revolving around idols being offensive or shady. Here are the hot topics:
SNL Korea does it again! More groups have been connected to the sexual assault claims against the cast of SNL and in some bizarre case (of what I can only assume is stupidity), they decided to write, direct, and perform a skit making fun of a woman with breast cancer. They are literally being investigated by the police right now and instead of reflection or garnering goodwill, SNL decided a cancer joke was the way to go. At this point, everyone should be let go but it seems to end the season early was the best thing they could do for the moment.
And if offending black people isn’t enough for Koreans, Jonghyun of Shinee decided to mix it up with a mash up of Indian stereotypes in a skit for his solo concert. But because he’s Jonghyun, he quickly apologized for his error in judgment in a letter that wasn’t written by his staff. I truly wish I didn’t have to report this stuff so often, however, there are a handful of idols I personally believe will be (and do) better in the future and Jonghyun is one them. I hope he proves me right.
Jessica Jung opened the flagship store for her Blanc & Eclare line in New York City. I’m happy that B&E is doing well enough to enter the western market in such a well-renowned location. People thought she’d flop with her fashion brand, but look at where she is now! Saks is currently rumored to have an interest in carrying her beauty line as well.
Additionally, she released her second mini, Wonderland. The title track “Wonderland” follows the current EDM trend and it’s catchy and cute with a stunning music video. While I like the single, it’s the rest of the album that shines for me. “Celebrate,” “World of Dreams,” and “Beautiful” stand out the most.
Shinhwa dropped their new album, Unchanging Part 1 and the music video for “Orange.” I’ll be writing more in depth about the half album shortly, but just know they continue to strive for excellence even as their musical tastes evolve. Shinhwa could just continue to live off their loyal fan base but they go into the studio and work like they’ve got everything to lose. It could be because they’re a small agency and they manage themselves or it could be due to their hard work and determination. Either way, I respect their artistry and am loving this comeback.
Hyoyeon aka my least favorite member of SNSD released her debut solo track, “Mystery,” through the weekly SM Station umbrella and I have to admit it’s not bad. Described as a Latin pop track, it instead has a Middle Eastern melody that is quite hypnotic and addictive. This benefits the single because her singing and rapping are completely underwhelming, so the melody and her saying “Mystery” is all you need. What’s weird is she is known for being an amazing dancer and the dancing is rather lackluster. Hyoyeon is 2 for 2 this year. 2016 just won’t quit!
Seventeen dropped their comeback single, “BoomBoom,” and it’s cute. I haven’t liked a single since “Adore U,” so I’ll try to check out a couple of lives to see if it’s just OK or even has the ability to beat their peak single. Maybe that’ll justify why I’m not into it.
My only gripe is that I fear Kpop rappers are going to be doing Rich Chigga style of rap since it’s working for him. Also, I know they’re called Seventeen, but are there actually 17 members? Every time I start to count I give up.
Taeyeon and Wiz had a Twitter beef because, well, anything is possible in 2016. Here’s a handy summary for those not in the know.
While I do believe this entire situation was the result of miscommunication and shady actions of SME and MNET America, it was an entertaining scandal to get caught up in. Especially since Wiz literally has nothing to lose and came out looking much better than Taeyeon did. However, the fun of it all quickly turned ugly. The fact she used Banmal (impolite) language with an elder and a bigger star is not acceptable, especially since she would not have gotten away with treating a Korean artist in the same manner.
Taking Taeyeon’s earlier feelings about black people into account, it’s not surprising that people believe some (or all) of her actions are racially motivated. Her fans went the racial distance by creating manips of Taeyeon whipping Wiz. Both artist and fan base are proving themselves to be disrespectful, racist, and all around annoying. I’m just happy I didn’t go ahead and buy her single, “Rain,” like I was thinking about doing before this whole thing started.
In other news, CL and Rihanna are now BFFs after Rihanna gifted CL with Manolo Blahniks. Heize released the melodic single, “Star,” and I can’t stop listening to it. TT is currently sitting at 80+ million views, which I bet it will hit over 100 million before the end of the year. The girls are also releasing a Christmas version of their latest mini that no one asked for, but I’m sure it’ll be cute. People on twitter have started calling them the Nation’s Girl Group and a certain fan base isn’t too happy about that.
Pentagon released “Can You Feel It” and I love the instrumental. The singing and rapping are also very pleasant. They’re a group to watch. Your good friend Tiffany of SNSD and Japanese Flag fame is the star of the music video for her feature with Far East Movement and King Chain. “Don’t Speak” is fantastic excluding the chorus. I don’t buy her as a dancer though so the video doesn’t work for me. Sechkies is continuing their promotions and while I still think their music isn’t very good, at least they’ve proven that they aren’t boring people too. They’re doing two episodes of Weekly Idol and the first episode is hilarious. Chanyeol doesn’t completely ruin “Stay With Me,” but Punch does own the title track for Goblin’s OST.
Nat’s Corner: Taeyang considers the struggles of black people to be the reason black music is so good and wants to co-opt their struggles to improve his music. Let me tell you how in the moment I read that comment, I no longer considered myself to be a Big Bang fan. I don’t care that TOP is going to the army. I don’t care about their comeback. It doesn’t even bother me anymore that Taeyang’s “hood hair” looks ridiculous.
There are three reasons his comment infuriate me:
- The romanticizing of black pain is something white people have been doing for forever and none of these heifer groups want to be black — they only want to be cool like we are naturally and profit off that coolness. Black people are still dying in the street due to police brutality, Flint STILL DOESN’T HAVE CLEAN WATER, and girls in Nigeria are continually kidnapped while the world is silent. Perpetuating these anti-black beliefs only continue the cycle of abuse black people face around the world.
- Koreans have struggles, too. I’m sure there are Comfort Women survivors that will want to have a few words with this fool. How about the people that suffered during the Korean Wars or people exploited during the Japanese occupation? Families torn apart so that mothers can take their kids to America to learn English? What about people working in inhumane conditions? It’s demeaning to Korean’s who struggle daily to suggest that these issues are not worthy of “inspiring greatness in the arts”. It’s disgusting to ignore them.
- “Black music” exists outside of the United States, moron.
Almost all the members have pulled some form of shit before and I eventually worked through it, but I’m done wanting them to be better. I don’t care. I’ll continue to review their music (as I review everything) but expect shade. Speaking of reviews, they released music videos for “Last Dance” and “Fxxt It.” “Last Dance” is dull and boring, while “Fxxt It” is good but doesn’t really hook you. However, it doesn’t really matter what I think because I’m sure they’ll both get All-Kills, obtain millions of views for their music videos, and sell a crapload of physical copies of MADE.
I thought I’d be more shaken about breaking up with my first Kpop group, but Shinhwa (as messy as they can also be) have replaced them in less than a year of stanning. I also discovered many groups through these weekly posts so I’m not bothered by it at all. Bye, Big Bang!
If you have any comments, questions or concerns feel free to let me know! I’m thankful for anyone reading and promoting this little passion of mine. I have some ideas about promoting the voice of black kpop fans so be on the lookout!
Natandy lives in the 6 but has regrettably never met Drake. She loves Kpop, comic book, movies, and her favorite genre to read, write and watch is fantasy. You can find her on Twitter (@ashleyt17) where she is constantly confused about How To Get Away With Murder and gushing about Kpop at the Music Mind (themusicmind.com).