Confession: I’m An Adult Black Woman, and I Love K-pop!

K-Pop

Ok, I said it! I’m a black woman, and I love K-pop! Let me just make a few disclaimers before we begin: I’m aware of the dissonance between being a middle aged adult and enjoying music made by (sometimes) prepubescent looking young adults who sing in a language I don’t understand. I’m also aware of longstanding racist at worst, stereotypical at best beliefs some Koreans can hold against black people. So calm down. 😂

I just really like the music, particularly BTS, GOT7, and Twice, and I think I finally know why!

See, What Had Happened Was…

Theoretically, my love for K-pop has been a long time coming. Back in the mid 2000’s, a Korean phenom by the name of Jung Ji Hoon, stage name Rain, started making a name for himself in the US, and I enjoyed his soulful, skilled singing, and effortless dance moves. By the time he debuted as Raizo in Ninja Assassin, I was a huge fan, and I just knew he was destined for crossover success. Eventually his buzz kinda died down in America (not sure why) and we moved on to trap music and twerking. 🤷🏾‍♀️ It wasn’t until Ninja Assassin began streaming again on Netflix that I remembered how much I loved Rain, and I began watching him again on YouTube. This led to YouTube recommending various K-pop artists and y’all…I fell into this giant rabbit hole of music, interviews, variety shows, and fan-compiled group videos.

K-pop
Rain in Ninja Assassin

Navigating The K-pop World As A New Listener

Half of American women are already following the 10-Step Korean Beauty skincare regimen, so liking the music is just a little skip over. K-pop has fantastic production, delicious (rarely sampled) beats, a lot of English language parts, and cutting edge music videos that are free of overly sexual imagery! Take a listen:

(Although some parts are in English, I recommend watching with Captions!)

I think that my attraction to K-pop is the overall concept of girl/boy groups, and soulful harmonies. I’m a woman who grew up listening to En Vogue, Xscape, Dru Hill, and Blackstreet. I’m also from a time when women could be sexy while rapping: Salt N Pepa ring any bells? Eventually R&B groups fell way to pop ensembles such as The Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, and Danity Kane, but I was still a fan of these groups and their vocal stylings. K-pop, in my opinion, is almost a “musical return” to those groups I enjoyed in the past, as many of the popular acts utilize that R&B/sexy hip hop vibe I enjoyed so much in my youth. K-pop combines good singing and rapping with original production, and it’s starting to be noticed and appreciated on our side of the pond. Don’t believe me? BTS has been nominated for several American Awards, surpassing well loved American artists! Blackpink performed at Coachella 2019 and completely captivated the largely American audience!

But What About…

I’m kind of late to the party, but I’ve been pleased to find that women of all races and ages (I recently met a 60 year old fan!) enjoy K-pop! However, I’m also aware of some of the issues that people find with the genre. The biggest complaint I hear most often is that the groups are manufactured in an assembly line fashion, and that they do not write their own music. Listen: I’m not a purist. Music, for me, is an escape from the humdrum of everyday life. As long as the beats are good, and the lyrics are free of profanity and over-sexualized content, I’m good! But let me also clear this up: I have heard some of the best vocals, harmonies, and falsetto from male K-Pop groups than I have heard in a looong time. Especially from my fave groups: BTS, and GOT7 (who also write and produce a lot of their music, might I add!) In most cases, the singing, rapping, and vocal arrangements are good enough that the language barrier doesn’t even exist…you just know it’s good music! (*There is English throughout most of the songs BTW, and you can use captioning on YouTube for the parts that aren’t! 😉)

BTS
BTS paved the way!
Got7 GOT7 has vocals y’all!

Another concern is that the K-pop sound heavily borrows from black culture, specifically African American culture, while simultaneously displaying “the whiter, the better” imagery. Most K-pop idols are hand picked for their lighter complexions (although accusations of bleaching run rampant), and their featherweight physiques; neither of which have anything in common, nor pay tribute to the clear influence of black culture that some groups use in their imagery or sound. Most K-pop groups are comprised of singers, rappers, and dancers. Oftentimes, the rappers rap in a style that can be considered to mimic rappers who are popular in the US (Cardi B, Future, Migos, Nikki Minaj). However, K-pop artists are quick to credit black artists as being their inspiration.

In extreme cases, some K-pop groups have utilized the “N-Word” or stereotypical images of black people in an effort to seem “hood.” This is NOT okay, and it is a prime example of appropriating from other cultures without understanding the social, cultural, and political connotations of what they are “borrowing.” However, I do not listen to K-pop groups who practice these behaviors.

*I would like to mention that one of the Korean forms for “I”, is apparently pronounced Nae-ga, and because “I” is used so often in songs, it may sound like the “N-word!”*

Whether you like it or not (and you know you do!) K-pop is crossing over to the US in a major way. BTS and GOT7 were both nominated for 2019 Billboard Music Awards, and BTS won for Top Group, beating out beloved American bands like Maroon 5 and Imagine Dragons in the process! What I love the most about this crossover, and subsequent exposure to new music, is the clean lyrics and family friendly videos that are safe for my little girl to watch.

For good family listening, I recommend BTS, GOT7, Twice, Ateez, Red Velvet, Blackpink, TXT, and EXO.

Jus2 is a side project with GOT7 members JB (my bias!) and Yugyeom!

If you’re like me, and you’re already a fan, leave me a comment below about your journey and your favorite group/songs!

 

See you next time!

About

Fashion, Lifestyle, and Travel blogger, based in NC.

18 comments

  1. I Absolutely love K-pop it’s a definitely lifting off.

  2. I have a confession too I’m an older lady that loves k-pop. LOL!! Also I worked with a lot of korean woman their skin is beautiful they have some great beauty products. Honestly who cares what you listen too you gotta be you and not worry about what anybody else thinks!!

  3. I have heard of this but have not really listened before, I will have to check it out. I truly believe that music is for everybody no matter your beliefs, race, age, or whatever so that has never taken me out before but I do have a certain sound l like, I shall see if this is it.

  4. Hahaha one of my best friends is CRAZY about Black Pink. It’s like her favorite. She’s got me into Black Pink too. So don’t feel alone. It’s just really good music!

  5. K-Pop is huge in the Philippines and all of my relatives are obsessed with it. I downloaded one song that everyone was posting on Facebook, but that’s all I was able to handle haha I definitely think I need to give it more of a chance since everyone loves it!

  6. I have heard of K- Pop but never really read about them or heard their music! Can’t wait to check them out.

  7. I had not heard of them until now! I will have to give them a chance, seems to be something lots of people love!
    Wren recently posted…Girl’s Night for Amber’s Birthday!My Profile

  8. i never really got into kpop. but this is interesting
    Jasmine Hewitt recently posted…Pro Tips and Tricks to Help You Install Your MosaicsMy Profile

  9. Mama Maggie's Kitchen

    Who wouldn’t love them!! They are amazing and really talented!

  10. Your confession is totally okay! K-Pop is great, although I’m not a huge fan myself I can see why they’re so popular and talented! -Sondra Barker @cuisineandtravel.com

  11. I ahve heard so much about KPOP. And lately, I tried listening to Blackpink and wow! they’re amazing.

  12. I love that you’re honest about your love for K-pop. I’ve tuned into their songs. So catchy.

  13. My husband’s nieces love K-pop. I’ve tried to listen and it’s not too bad.

  14. I actually like pop music myself.. I usually blame it on the kids 😉 I did take my daughter to see Ariana Grande kick off her 2019 tour, it was pretty cool.

  15. I have never even heard of K-Pop!!! Off to Google them LOL!!

  16. […] Socialites! If you’ve been following me on social media, you already know that I’m in love with K-pop! There’s a reason for that, which I’ll be sharing over the next few months, but for […]

  17. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE GOT7. They are such a breath of fresh air. Their intricate beats, amazing vocals/rap lines, their flow, the m/v productions AND the chemistry among the members on and off the stage is just out of this world. I honestly love how relatable they are. I am a first-generation American, my parents are Honduran, and I am fluent in both English in Spanish. In a lot of ways, I relate to the “foreigners” experience in the group (BamBam (Thailand), Jackson (Hong Kong, China), and Mark (U.S.)). They are a diverse group with members that come from different socio-economic backgrounds, countries, languages, fields (Jackson was an Olympian Fencer – OMG!), to make one sound. Like if this isn’t societal goals, I don’t know what is. I love my babies, proud to be an Ahgase 🙂

  18. […] in any car where I’ve had control of the AUX cord, followed me on Facebook, or read this or this, then you know that I am a HUGE fan of K-Pop! Since discovering the genre, I have fallen in love […]

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