Embracing the K-pop phenomenon

(News4usonline) – Western pop culture has always been filled with important well-known narratives when it comes to the media and entertainment industries. Those industries have always lacked in diversity, and you could arguably say that most of the West today is not as inclusive as it should be.

That is not entirely true.

A lot of these countries have been quite diverse and have been considered more diverse in population compared to Eastern European countries. That is what the issue is at hand. The entertainment industry is what fuels pop culture and to no surprise, there was little to no representation in these industries.

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With the rise of more inclusivity, they fueled very harmful stereotypes and kept biopics and other minority entertainers limited. A lot of executives of companies were and are still most likely to be white males so they have a lot of control over who and what is going to be known to the world and make an impact on pop culture and how society functions from there on.

As time has gone on the internet has been created mostly just to showcase websites. However, it grew into something so much bigger. Now, I understandably agree with a wide variety of people who believe the internet causes a lot of damage and can be harmful.

However, in certain aspects, the internet is a very useful tool.

One of those concepts is exposure. Those within the pop culture phenomenon have benefitted from this exposure. We see more representation. We see the West as more than just a white-oriented society and more than black and white.

As one who is a part of Generation Z, I have grown up in a society that has exposed me to so many other cultures. I grew up in Southern California, which has helped foster my exposure to other cultures.

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Other people who live in more rural and secluded areas are not as readily exposed to other cultures and ethnic groups as I have been. This is where the internet comes into play. If you’re living in a remote area like Beatrice, Alabama, you’re able to see a Taylor Swift or BTS concert just like the rest of us because of the internet.

Because of the internet, you can now connect to various entertainment platforms without certain personalities being hand-picked and shoved down our throats for consumption. This does not accurately represent pop culture and society. Pop culture is about variation and being different.

A larger contender for this is K-pop and how the popularity of South Korean culture has grown significantly. While there had been a few big artists from the K-pop scene there wasn’t much recognition of this phenomenon in the West until BTS came on the scene in 2017.

It’s 2023. If you do not know anything about BTS, you must be living under a rock. These overtly talented gentlemen now dominate the music scene globally. No one was expecting this to happen.

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It’s great to see because BTS brought a large wave of fans and others to get into the K-pop scene here in the United States. Their continued success has opened a gateway for more K-pop groups like the girl band TWICE to follow and be accepted into Western pop culture.

There have been many Black artists in the music industry but only a few have gotten the recognition they richly deserved (Little Richard is one of those artists who doesn’t get enough recognition for his contributions to the music industry).

I believe with the internet and the push for K-pop music in the West, we are seeing a new era of artists doing big things outside of pop, rap, or R&B.

BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and queer artists alike can put themselves in positions that break the stereotypes and their popularity is not just limited to a group of people that do not look like them to control.

Lead photo of BTS, courtesy of FB

3 thoughts on “Embracing the K-pop phenomenon

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