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K-POP BOOMS ACROSS AMERICA

Alyza Ilagan, Editor In Chief

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The Korean Pop (K-POP) fandom has been expanding as the genre’s popularity increases around the world, first hitting America in 2012.

 

Most Americans were introduced to the K-POP world with the viral music video, “Gangnam Style,” by the Korean rapper, PSY. According to the artist himself, the song was originally put out there for the enjoyment of South Korea, but  ended up spreading all around the globe and has even reached out to popular American artists, such as T-Pain and Britney Spears. PSY appeared on many TV shows, including Ellen, SNL, and the VMA Awards. K-POP fans of SCPA were all positive when questioned about their thoughts on the song and music video.

 

Athena Dortch, a senior who has been a K-POP fan since she was in the sixth grade and is currently the president of K-Club, stated, “I was actually pretty surprised when Gangnam Style became such a huge hit, but it’s understandable; a catchy song and dance plus comedic video plot equals gold on the internet,” and, “I do think the Gangnam Style outbreak towards larger audiences of the world just opened a door for curious people and new K-POP fans. This song alone has allowed more people to recognise the term, ‘K-POP,’ which I think is fantastic.”

 

Some people  might claim that K-POP would have become big in America without the help of Gangnam Style. Cathlyn Serrano, a sophomore who has been a K-POP fan since 2008-2009, claimed that, “K-POP has the potential to be popular in America on its own. In my opinion, Gangnam Style died down, but there are still overflowing amounts of people who follow K-POP music. Artists like EXO, BIGBANG, Girl’s Generation, and more have already made such marks on their own in America just for their names. I think it’s just a matter of continuing to push past the limits and branching more out of K-POP’s comfort zone.”

 

With the popularity of K-POP, there is something called the “Hallyu Wave.” The Hallyu Wave is the phenomenon of Korean entertainment and popular culture rolling over the world with pop music, TV dramas, and movies. Serrano mentioned that, “Overall, groups that come to mind when it comes down to who has made a breakthrough are DBSK/TVXQ, Super Junior, SS501, Girl’s Generation, 2NE1, BIGBANG, and Wonder Girls. They’ve contributed to the Hallyu Wave in K-POP, and have spread their names all over the world with their ever increasing popularity — as well as awards of their recognition for their art.”

 

Although Gangnam Style was released four years ago, K-POP’s popularity in America has not died down. Freshman, Bryan Teopiz, only became a fan last year, but he stated that, “I believe K-POP is becoming a success in America, just like anime.” According to Heather DeLeon, a Freshman who has been a K-POP fan since 2006, it’s popular because, “The concepts that K-POP music videos have are cool and for almost every K-POP song, there’s a dance to go with it. K-POP songs have actual meanings behind the music. In America, they can sing about wanting to have sex and have the whole video on a girl running naked on a beach.”

 

K-POP is something students of SCPA also enjoy and some of them find the time to come together for K-Club which is run by Dortch. When Dortch was questioned as to why it was made, she replied, “I think allowing K-POP performance and music to be introduced into an arts school is another way of making K-POP really known… The first year of K-Club was ran by my good friend Dani with the intentions of just having a good time, talking about any comebacks or K-Dramas, and having a little fun performance at the end of the year.”

 

Dortch is a great fan of K-POP and will continue bringing the fans together. Something that has changed about the club with her as president is how much time is put into dance practice. Dortch stated, “K-Club is geared more towards preparing a well-organized dance performance at the end of the year, kind of like a performance that idol trainees often have to show off their skills. With this though, we still talk about any drama or new songs that came out because it’s practically unavoidable it is K-Club after all, at least five members will freak out during a meeting if anything juicy happened.”

 

To K-POP celebrities it is important that their music reaches people outside of their country. It is not difficult to love something just because it is in a different language. There are ways to understand it, such as English subtitles, English versions, and the minimal words that are said in their songs. Some K-POP celebrities even work with other famous celebrities, such as the collaboration by the Korean artists CL, G-Dragon with Skrillex and Diplo for their song “Dirty Vibe” and Rap Monster’s song “P.D.D” that was produced by the American West Coast rapper Warren G.

 

DeLeon explained, “Even though K-POP is across the whole world from me, I still hear the same voice, see the same dances and watch the same videos as people who live in Korea, so it could affect me the same way. I like K-POP because it was the music that got me through hard things and listening to it helps me focus.”

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K-POP BOOMS ACROSS AMERICA