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K-pop fans become an unexpected ally to American protesters

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K-pop fans become an unexpected ally to American protesters
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SEOUL: As American protesters took to the streets to mourn the loss of life of George Floyd, they discovered an surprising ally: Ok-pop followers.

Floyd died May 25 after a police officer pressed his knee into his neck for a number of minutes even after he stopped transferring. Ok-pop followers galvanized by police brutality and political disappointments swiftly mobilized, re-purposing their traditional platforms and hashtags from boosting their favourite stars to backing the Black Lives Matter motion. They flooded right-wing hashtags and police apps with brief video clips and memes of their Ok-pop stars.

In a tweet Thursday to its 26 million followers, South Korean boy band BTS stated it opposes racial discrimination and violence and introduced a $1 million donation to Black Lives Matter. Fans shortly adopted go well with with the hashtag #MatchAMillion on Twitter, matching the donation after 24 hours in keeping with “One “One In An ARMY,” a world fundraising workforce made up of BTS followers.

Even so, political activism isn’t precisely related to Ok-pop followers. Over the years, Ok-pop followers have gained notoriety for overtaking Twitter tendencies and Instagram feeds. The free community of followers mobilizes in a heartbeat — often to advertise new songs from their favourite Ok-pop artists or to place down their critics. That similar social media power is being repurposed to help the Black Lives Matter motion, and BTS followers, often called ARMY, are on the forefront.

Chloë Gallot, a French college pupil, stated she joined ARMY — Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth — earlier this 12 months when she “fell into the rabbit gap” whereas looking for a distraction from the coronavirus outbreak and private troubles. A number of days in the past, Gallot grew to become one of many ARMY members to reply to the #MatchAMillion hashtag, donating round $90 to Black Lives Matter.

“They (BTS) are pushing us to make use of our platforms much more.” Gallot advised The Associated Press, including that BTS followers, together with herself, had already began fundraising earlier than BTS’ donation was made public.

Ok-pop specialists say zealous activism is nothing new for the followers.

“Despite the stereotypes about boy band followers, they’re recognized for being politically conscious and serving to increase cash for charitable causes on-line, particularly on Twitter,” stated Hyun-su Yim, Ok-pop reporter on the Korea Herald. “Which is why it took many individuals unexpectedly when the fandom spearheaded efforts to drown out racist hashtags,” Yim stated, referring to Ok-pop fandoms clogging up U.S. police apps and flooding racist hashtags like “whitelivesmatter” and “WhiteOutWednednesday” with their favourite Ok-pop memes and fancies, rendering them ineffective.

Although Ok-pop has been standard in Asia for many years, the rise of BTS across the mid-2010s has grown followers in all corners of the world. However, that world growth has generally created pressure throughout the business, spurred by a number of components together with language and cultural variations.

Korean artists and labels have been thrust into uncharted territories the place they’re pressured to take a stance on social points, drawing criticism from followers who say some points are too far-removed from their very own backyards.

Danny Kim, who runs “DKDKTV,” a preferred YouTube channel on all issues Ok-pop, factors out that Korean celebrities will not be recognized to be vocal about social points. “The normal notion of a celeb is ‘he’s not there to voice his opinion — he’s there to for the enjoyment of the individuals,’” Kim stated. He additionally stated Ok-pop stars are sometimes sure by authorized contracts, holding them from making remarks that might come trigger friction.

Joseph Dorsey, a black fan from Chicago, stated he needs Ok-pop artists to help the Black Lives Matter motion as a result of the music business has lengthy benefited from adopting “black American music and black American tradition.”

Kim thinks it’s time for Ok-pop stars to talk themselves.

“Ok-pop has develop into not strictly a Korean factor anymore.”


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