This 2017 music video is called Top 10 Girl Groups in K-Pop.
Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:
#WildersDoesntMatter: K-pop as an online protest
The hashtag #WildersDoesntMatter is trending on Twitter today, thanks in part to a group you don’t immediately envision as a protest group: K-pop fans. What does Korean pop music have to do with activism?
The action on Twitter and other social media follows a tweet in which Geert Wilders launched the hashtag #ZwartePietMatters yesterday. Thus, the PVV leader appears to be responding to the BlackLivesMatter protests.
The K community is more often committed to protest actions on social media. The strength lies in the closeness of the fan base, which can mobilize extremely quickly to spam the aggressive. This has happened several times in recent days.
On May 31, people massively shared K-pop videos when the Dallas police asked to send videos of “illegal activity during the protests.” The special police app was quickly taken offline due to ‘technical difficulties’.
That reminds me of when Donald Trump asked people to report ‘illegal aliens’ to the police. The site where they could be reported became overwhelmed by people reporting ‘criminal’ Martians, Venusians, Daleks, etc.
In the past few days, the fans took action again. They hijacked the hashtag #WhiteLivesMatter. Underneath, white squares were initially placed – a response [by white supremacists] to the black squares that were shared en masse to support the anti-racism protests. Soon, videos of South Korean pop bands appeared everywhere under that hashtag.
The strength of the K community lies in the enormous reach of the Korean pop groups and the fanaticism of fans of boy bands such as EXO and BTS. Between May 26 and June 1, BTS was mentioned nearly 9 million times on Twitter, EXO 1.9 million times.
But why are the K-pop fan armies so committed to the BlackLivesMatter movement? That has to do with fans worldwide understand what it is to be discriminated against, says Natasja van Knippenberg, herself a big K-pop fan. “You often run into prejudices about K-pop. That those artists supposedly cannot make good music, that they are a kind of robots. Among the K-pop fans there are many members of the LGBTQ community, who often also face discrimination.”
In 2013, there was a wedding on the occupied West Bank. The wedding guests were Palestinians. Not just any Palestinians: including Hamas supporters. Israeli soldiers heard Korean music play. They went inside. Not to shoot or arrest anyone: to dance along with the wedding guests, who welcomed them. Unfortunately, Israeli authorities punished these soldiers for that. These soldiers and these wedding guests should instead have gotten medals.
In addition, people of Asian descent, like the black population, also have to deal with racism. “You also see that some K-pop artists support the BlackLivesMatter protest, for example, by giving money to pay the bail of demonstrators arrested in the US. And disapproving tweets by Trump about the South Korean film Parasite [critical of capitalism] , which won the Oscar for best film, do not help either.”
In the Netherlands, it also plays a role that K-Pop fans are very active on social media anyway, because their life as a fan mainly takes place online.
Van Knippenberg support the playful actions on Twitter, such as the one against Wilders’ tweet. “It is important that these kinds of voicesdon’t get unanswered. And if videos of cheerful dancing Korean artists can help with that, why not?”