K-pop (Korean pop) is simply pop music in Korean. It’s typically rooted in Korean traditions but possesses a variety of different aspects influenced by other cultures and trends.
K-pop’s recent popularity in America is very hard to ignore.
Groups such as BTS and Monsta X have made appearances on shows like Ellen and Good Day New York while also selling out stadiums all over the country, and making debuts at awards shows like the Billboard Music Awards and American Music Awards.
K-pop groups have also been ranking on American music charts. BTS maintained #1 on the Billboard artist 100 chart for 1 week for their album Love Yourself: Tear (their second album to do so).
Don’t Mess Up My Tempo by EXO, Hope World by J-Hope, and Namanana by Lay were among other high charting Kpop albums to take spot on American album charts.
When asked about all of this, Maci Robinson, a member of Killeen High’s K-pop club and an ARMY (BTS fans’ name) said she was “proud.”
“They’ve worked hard and it’s really heartwarming to see BTS and other idols achieving their dreams and gaining the worldwide exposure they’ve been chasing.” explained May, a fellow ARMY and K-pop club member.
May and Maci have both been K-pop fans for a while. May got into K-pop after stumbling across a video of GOT7 on Youtube and was immediately “sucked in.” Maci was introduced to it through a friend.
For non-korean speaking fans like May and Maci, criticism is something they encounter often. “Not everyone is open to listening and enjoying music in a foreign language. That’s fine.” said Maci.
They’re met with people who don’t understand how they can listen to music in a language they don’t speak, dismissing it as “weird” and “pointless.”
The topic of criticism lead to an extensive discussion about xenophobia, something fans around the world deal with.
“People often say very ignorant things about the Idols I like.” stated May. “They make jokes about me liking Chinese boys and listening to ‘ching-chong’ music. I just ignore them.”
One thing all the members had experienced, was hearing comments about how male Idols looked like girls and and having people crack jokes about them being homosexual.
Despite the criticism, all members said they were glad they got into K-Pop and that it had many positive effects on them.
“The music inspires me. BTS’s Love Yourself concept helped me a lot with learning to appreciate and accept myself. It’s also made me interested in other cultures and parts of the world. I’m much more openminded now.” explained May.
“It makes me want to experience more in life. I’d never been interested in countries outside of America until I started learning about K-Pop. I now want to travel and meet people of all different races and experience life in other places.” stated Maci.
Even with the language barrier, K-pop is something that everyone should give a chance.
Mrs. Alaniz, the K-pop club’s sponsor, had never heard of it before she became involved with the club.
“It’s open to all different cultures and transcends different types of people.” she stated. “Honestly, I find myself fan-girling over BTS sometimes because they’re such great dancers.”
Mrs. Alaniz is one of the many people who find themselves “accidentally” loving K-pop after being exposed to it through a random source.
Whether “anti-kpoppers” like it or not, K-pop will continue to spread and gain popularity here in the U.S. so either get with it or get lost!