Although K-Pop is seen as an industry that brings people from all walks of life together, one problem that has been raised throughout the past few years is the issue of cultural appropriation seen in music videos and actions from idols.
The definition of cultural appropriation is “The unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society.” In particular, one group that was criticized for cultural appropriation was MOMOLAND and their track “BAAM.”
Despite the attempts of fans to try and educate idols and companies about what is deemed disrespectful to cultures, it still seems to be a common occurrence.
Former member Daisy, now known as Yoo Jung Ahn, recently appeared on a podcast where she spoke about her time in the group and much more.
In particular, Daisy spoke about the lack of input and control idols have over concepts and ideas regarding comebacks.
For me, we didn’t have very much creative space because the company would have a whole plan and would have everything in mind already. So, everything would mostly just be handed to you. We wouldn’t really have a say in what we wanted to do.
The host then pointed out that, as Daisy had spent time in Canada, if she had any views on the idea of Korea becoming more culturally aware of the rest of the world.
For Daisy, she believed that the rise in popularity of K-Pop from fans globally would mean that issues like this were bound to arise. Yet, she also explained that it was the speed at which K-Pop spread throughout the world that might have impacted how these issues may arise.
I feel like maybe K-Pop wasn’t ready for that (the popularity). Because it all happened so fast, it was just all of a sudden it became so big. I think there needed to be a stepping stone in the middle so people could become more aware of different cultures.
She added that this awareness would be key in ensuring that companies and idols know that certain decisions they make for concepts or actions can really hurt and offend people.
For Daisy, she thinks that this vital step was “neglected” and that the companies almost just ran with what they already had without any thought for the consequences of these actions and how it would impact fans. It is these reasons and lack of acknowledgment that she believes the problem is much bigger now.
Daisy then went on to say that she didn’t believe that any idol would do cultural appropriation to intentionally hurt fans. For her, it was more down to ignorance from the companies that led to these issues.
With more and more idols being made aware of the issues, many fans hope that there will no longer be any excuses from companies about the issues with this education. If companies allow idols to have more input and influence over concepts, it might also help the issue that seems so prominent in K-Pop.
You can listen to the whole podcast below.