Recent trends have reported that K-pop fans in the US are getting mixed in with current issues in politics. K-pop fan communities are using online platforms to rally up and protest against racism in the United States. In support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the online K-pop community has come together in protest.
Never has it ever happened that this unusual tandem between K-pop and US politics occurred in recent history. K-pop artists must maintain a reputable image. This is because it is their agencies’ goal to keep them as inspiration for their fans. This goes beyond their health and overall physical appearance. Aside from their talent, K-pop artists must be respectable and should rarely involve themselves in controversial issues like religion and politics. This is why news about the involvement between K-pop and US politics is an utter surprise.
How it all started: A donation to match
One of the most world-renowned K-pop group, BTS, donated a total of $1 Million for the #BlackLivesMatter protests in the US. Aside from this, a good number of K-pop musicians and rappers also made personal donations for the protests. This includes Jay Park and Mark Tuan, among others. Moved by their idol’s actions, millions of K-pop fans all over the world have come together to collect funds that would equate the donations made by their favorite artists.
This is not the first time popular K-pop groups have donated for humanitarian causes and charities. Although it has a more political inclination, the #BlackLivesMatter movement protects individuals who are affected by police brutality and racial bias. One of the biggest donations in recent years from K-pop artists include Syrian refugees and the current global health pandemic.
Here are a few things K-pop fans have done in the recent weeks in support for the US protests:
- Donating millions of dollars to funds and causes protecting individuals affected by police brutality and racism all over the world.
- Using social media platforms, like TikTok, to create a ‘social surveillance’ of multiple demonstrations and rallies. With the use of their social media accounts and cellphones, K-pop fans could take important records of events or occurrences during rallies. This has effectively reduced unwanted brutality during protests and rallies.
- Urging the community to buy out a majority of tickets for Trump’s political rally for the upcoming elections. K-pop supporters wish that buying tickets with no attendance can result in an embarrassing supporter turnout.
- Spreading information on schedules of protests and rallies resulting in more protester attendance.
How powerful is the K-pop fan community?
Sparking up the courage to come together in protests, the K-pop fan community used group chats and social media groups to persuade more people about the movement. Many of these people used information drives to spread important information about the movement. Others have physically attended rallies and protests to show their support. Since the K-pop fan community is one of the biggest groups in the world, it is understandable how powerful their influence can become.
The power of the K-pop fan community should never be underestimated. Their sheer number is their major source of influence. There are millions of fans all over the world that come together to support their idols. Many have formed bonds and friendships through their years’ worth of fandom. It is pretty easy to gain solidarity from the group, especially when their idols support it. This is because, for many fans and groups, the actions of their idols are inspirations for them to do the same.
The reaction of South Korean Locals to the Issue
Many people are asking why these Korean artists from thousands of miles on the other side of the planet even care about the protests in the US. What these critics do not understand is that racism is an international issue. It is experienced by groups of people that do not exactly qualify as “White”. Asians, South Americans, and Africans are among the most affected by racism not only in the US but wherever they go. This is why donations for these causes affect all groups considered as “minorities” in the United States.
However, many South Korean locals and fans outside of the US are worried about their idols. They think that the artists’ involvement in these very controversial movements will affect not only their career and popularity but their general safety as well. They believe that they do and will always support the humanitarian and charitable actions of their idols. But putting a foot in politics, much less foreign politics.
Now, internal issues within the K-pop fandom are arising. Many fans outside of the US wish that their Western counterparts do not force everyone to give money or support. There should be mutual respect for everyone and that any thoughts (or non-thoughts) about the matter of racism and police brutality must always be considered.