Dear, guys – welcome back to Letters From Liz!
So, there’s something that’s been currently going around within the Kpop community that I wanted to discuss because, well, I’m very much a part of that community and I’ve been seeing non-stop discussions on this topic.
So, let’s just get straight into it: KPop has become one of the biggest genres of music in the last couple of years; with BTS making their ground-breaking debut in the U.S a couple of years ago to now having more and more Kpop groups exploring and touring for their international fans, it’s safe to say that Kpop is this huge thing now.
With that being said, the Kpop industry is so incredibly competitive now that it has become this huge thing around the world. The big entertainment agencies are competing to stay on top, while smaller agencies are hoping their groups within their agency make their company more well known. Sadly, some of these groups go unseen for years; one example is my favorite group, VICTON. They debuted as the third official act in the company; the first (I believe) was APink, then a solo artist that I can’t remember his name, then it was VICTON back in 2016. Because they come from such a small agency, they weren’t as successful as they should’ve been back then, and there were talks of them disbanding in 2018 after releasing their single album, Time of Sorrow. It was then Seungwoo and Byungchan went to Produce X 101 for one last chance and well, the rest is history.
It’s stories like that and the unfortunate stories of other Kpop groups that sadly disbanded due to lack of success that makes this story just a little bit more frustrating for me. So, let’s get to it:
Within the last month, there was a new “Kpop” group that debuted with their single, “Your Turn“. The Kpop group (and we’re saying Kpop as lightly as possible) goes by the name of Kaachi. Kaachi is a four-member girl group under FrontRow Entertainment; the members are Nicole, Chunseo, Dani, and Coco. The difference between this group and other Kpop groups is that this group is based in the United Kingdom and only one of the girls in the group is Korean. In other words, they are the first UK based Kpop group; westernized Kpop group.
People in the Kpop community are upset that this group exists. This project (from what I’ve seen) seemed to be quickly put together just so that their company can generate money out of a genre that wasn’t meant for them in the first place. These girls are talented and driven to be successful, but they don’t match up to the same level as rookie debut groups have these days. Their vocals aren’t sharp, the dancing is lackluster, and it doesn’t look like a professional girl group that debuted in the industry, but more so a school talent show performance performing their favorite Kpop song.
I don’t want to be harsh, but we got to call a spade and spade and talk about how wrong it is to appropriate a genre of music that was created and established in another country. In a sense, it’s like how white westernized artists are being criticized for dressing and performing music that comes from the Black community and makes it a trend or their own when it’s been underappreciated and misunderstood for decades.
For me, it’s even more than that. Being a fairly new Kpop stan in this community, I realized the difficult times these idols go through and just how different the standards are in that industry compared to ours in Westernized countries. In South Korea, you have to follow a certain lifestyle, maintain a certain weight, sacrifice their adolescent years, and train for years in hopes that their company sees them and thinks they are ready to debut in a group. That opportunity comes easy to some, but sadly most of these trainees (and even idols) never feel like they are enough, and that’s fucking sad despite how many people support and love them.
It’s just unfair to get four girls (who didn’t train with each other and had the line up for this group change a couple of times before debut) and create a Kpop group out of girls who don’t live in that industry 24/7. Sure, Kpop is just a genre of music, but the process behind the music is far more different than your typical music artist in westernized countries. I get that they are being experimental by trying to fuse the two sounds together, but with girls who are just “Kpop fans”; it doesn’t sit well with me. For them to just know basic Korean, be “Kpop fans” and interested in singing and dancing doesn’t qualify them to be Kpop idols.
I don’t wish bad on these girls and I know they aren’t the ones responsible for this, it’s the people who decide to put them together and produce their songs and just go on with this idea that it was going to work out. With the negative feedback the group received, the people who run the social media accounts disabled comments, masking the issues that the formation of this group brings into the industry.
Let’s cheer for the groups that are struggling to make it within the scene because their small agencies can’t afford to promote them properly on their own. Let’s cheer for the rookies that debuted and are worrying if their debut stage is going to be the last stage that they perform due to the lack of recognition in the industry. Let’s cheer for all of the trainees that are working hard towards their dreams of being a Kpop idol. Let’s not try to take away the hard work and dedication these people have for something “new” and “shiny” that isn’t right.
I wish nothing but success for these girls in Kaachi, but please – showcase your talents and passions in another way that not only strips away the integrity of the industry but also strips away your own identities.