“K-pop as we know it wouldn’t exist without democracy and television — specifically, South Korea’s reformation of its democratic government in 1987.” Vox
POLITICAL UNREST & GOT7
We see music and politics colliding in more prevalent ways by the day - we saw Stormzy speak out against his government at Glastonbury and Cardi B just interviewed Bernie Sanders. Young stars are putting huge value on self expression in this political context and are not shy to use their platforms to express their views and influence their socially conscious followers.
Got7 are one of many K-pop (Korean Pop) acts that rule the K-pop fandom, an online world where fans take celebrity worship to the next level. Got7 are due to play Hong Kong at the end of this month but comments from Jackson on Weibo (one of the groups 7 members), saying he was a “guardian of the Chinese flag”, has sparked outrage from protestors and left fans fearing for his safety. There were rumours that Hong Kong activists were posting details of Wang’s address in Korea and his flight number and arrival time, with the words “go and find him”.
Thousands of Tweets using the hashtag #JYPE_CancelGOT7HKConcerts flooded the platform, which meant anybody searching for news updates using #HongKong are greeted with hundreds of thousands of Tweets from teenagers around the world canvassing for the safety of their favourite band. Their goal is to get the band’s management company to cancel their concert.
KPOP GLOBAL FANATICISM
This level of fanaticism is not new to the K-pop fandom. K-pop has been around for decades but over the last few years, in a world where young people are more connected with each other than ever, the crossover of K-pop to English speaking countries has been nothing short of a phenomenon.
“They call it Hallyu, the Korean wave: the idea that South Korean pop culture has grown in prominence to become a major driver of global culture, seen in everything from Korean dramas on Netflix to Korean skincare regimens dominating the cosmetics industry to delicious Korean tacos on your favorite local menu. And at the heart of Hallyu is the ever-growing popularity of K-pop — short, of course, for Korean pop music.” Vox
Why the appeal? K-pop is about performance - it has a “distinctive blend of addictive melodies, slick choreography and production values, and an endless parade of attractive South Korean performers who spend years in gruelling studio systems learning to sing and dance in synchronized perfection.”
The current rulers of the K-pop fandom are BTS, a 7-piece boy band from Seoul who speak little to no English. With 14 million albums under their belt, they are the biggest boy band in the world selling out stadiums from Wembley in London to New York’s Citi Fields. The shows sell out in minutes with some fans queuing for days for the coveted barrier spot.
Their songs focus on topics like generational division, misrepresentation and even depression and anxiety. Their music touched a nerve with fans around the world and the BTS fandom was born.
The BTS fandom are simply known as ‘Army’ and are said to be the most organised, well connected fan groups in the world. With regular fan meet ups and a do-good attitude, Army is a place for everybody who wants to make the world better. Everything they do is in the name of BTS, from collections for the homeless to tree planting projects, all to the soundtrack of Korean pop band.
At the heart of Army is a highly connected social media world where there is an infinite amount of BTS content. BTS are the number one mentioned artist on Tumblr with fans all over the world translating every single piece of consumer facing content for fans who don’t speak Korean. The band also provide daily access to their lives allowing fans to know them intimately, driving the fandom even more.
“No matter what fandom you are from if you see this tweet you are obliged to reply with #JYPE_CancelGOT7HKConcerts” @852ECLIPSE
In times of trouble, youth unite. The K-Pop fandoms call on each other to help out. With the current call to cancel the Got7 concerts, the Got7 fandom called on the BTS fandom to tweet their support and lobby the promoters to cancel the shows.
These fandoms are massive groups of young people who are open to brands if it supports their cause. If you can find a way for your brand to become part of these online fandoms in a way that moves them forward, represents their values and doesn’t feel intrusive, you are part of an online world, a new world, where young people are not only hanging out in, but fundamentally making a difference.
"Her fans are like no other fans I've dealt with. Any time she mentions me on Instagram or she tags me, my Instagram goes f*cking...