5 K-pop idols who were held accountable for their racial remarks
K-pop idols are known for their intriguing and unique musical works, but they are not immune to controversy. Racist comments, remarks, and actions among Korean artists have been a topic of discussion. Some idols have found themselves in hot water due to their racial remarks, whether out of ignorance or a lack of education on the subject.
In such cases, fans often try to educate them and expect a genuine apology. However, when idols make direct remarks or comments that attack or disrespect a community or culture, netizens hold them accountable. Fans stand strong in these instances, urging idols to recognize the gravity of their actions and issue a proper apology.
5 times K-pop idols were criticized for their racist remarks and actions
1) KISS OF LIFE's Julie
One of the most recent racist remarks made by K-pop idols is the just-debuted K-pop girl group, KISS OF LIFE. While it hasn't even been over a week since their debut, their member Julie, garnered attention for using a racial slur. An old video of her at the studio, rapping to a song, resurfaced on the internet and many noticed that she used the 'n-word' as she was singing.
While many fans were already aware of this incident, it gained all the more attention during KISS OF LIFE's performance of Shh at ARIRANG‘s show Simply K-Pop on July 10, 2023. Since the show has a live audience, when the song ended and the members were rolling out their ending fairies, there was a background voice from an audience member going.
Julie, apologize for the n word thing.
However, Julie is yet to address or apologize for the issue.
2) Lee Youngji
The rapper and K-pop soloist, faced criticism and was held accountable for her racist remarks. In 2020, when the idol participated in Mnet's reality competition show, GOOD GIRL, she was seen singing Tyga's Ayy Macarena. Given that the song contains the racial slur, 'n-word', Youngji failed to skip over and sang the word, which garnered a lot of attention.
The idol issued apologies for her mistakes in 2020 and 2021. However, in 2023, a similar issue resurfaced during an episode of her drinking show, "Nothing Much Prepared," when IVE's Yunjin appeared as a guest. Two actions by the K-pop idols in question stirred discomfort among netizens.
Another one of the K-pop idols who were held accountable for their action toward the Black community is the K-pop soloist, Crush. During the 2022 Someday Pleroma festival, the music festival in which the idol participated, he went toward the crowd to give them a high-five.
However, many people, including the audience present there, noticed that Crush deliberately avoided high-fiving or touching people from the Black community.
Many fans were angered about the issue and expressed that they were not happy with his behavior. Soon after the issue garnered heat, the idol took to his Instagram, writing a letter of apology to the people who he hurt. He also stated that his intention was not to hurt or avoid anyone. He further justified his actions that he was only trying to follow the Covid-19 safety protocols that were strict back then.
4) Red Velvet's Wendy
While this is considerably an earlier incident since fans have seen repeated actions and a lack of reflection from the idol, fans still hold Wendy's actions against her. Throughout Wendy's career, there have been many instances where the idol has not only imitated but also mocked the speech, body language, and gestures that are stereotypically attached to the Black community.
Since the idol has done it more than once, fans have been stubborn about calling her out on her disrespectful actions. During one of Red Velvet's concerts, the audience started to scream and yell the word 'racist' to Wendy, in an effort to make her understand the weight of her actions. Regardless, the idol has not personally apologized for her behavior.
This group of K-pop idols, MAMAMOO, was held accountable, once again, for their disrespectful actions toward the Black community. In March 2017, the group rolled out their concert venue in Seoul, Korea, where they also performed the cover of Bruno Mars' Uptown Funk.
While the cover could have been commendable in several other ways, people were really upset to see them not only dressed like Bruno Mars but also have their makeup done in a way to change their skin tone to a much darker shade.
Many people expressed that it was very offensive to the community and the artist himself and that they could've done enough justice to the song without pulling out a blackface. However, the K-pop idols soon release a statement of apology, expressing that what they did was in fact offensive and disrespectful and they would learn to change their actions moving henceforth.
As K-pop idols continue to be tangled up in controversies regarding their racial remarks, fans not only educate them when needed but also hold them accountable for their actions when necessary.