I don’t regret how I’ve spent most of 2019.
It’s impossible to miss that I’ve spent most of 2019 writing about, listening to, and talking to other people about Korean pop and hip hop music. I have spent so much time, energy, and effort talking about what is now my primary fandom and at the end of these past eight months –
I can’t say that I regret any of it.
Criticism is part of my fandom way.
I love critical conversations about fandom. I love making connections between the theories I learned in grad school and the things I love. I genuinely and truly love getting my critical little claws all over something that I’m fond of.
And I am fond of these things.
Across my time working on this project unpacking blackness and antiblackness in Korean hip hop and pop culture, I’ve realized that a bunch of people don’t realize that criticism is a huge part of how I show my love.
I love Korean pop and hip hop.
I adore many of the artists I’ve come to across this year and before it.
I love the friends I’ve made in these fandom spaces as well as the sense of community that folks are trying to put together.
And that’s why I critique it all.
If I love something, I want it to be better. I want to talk about where it hasn’t been better. I want to unpack how it can be better. And since my whole thing online is Talking About Antiblackness, that’s the track I took with getting more seriously invested in Korean pop and hip hop.
I get that to many people invested in these artists, industries, and fandoms, any critical commentary is a sign that the person making it can’t possibly actually like the thing. We saw this back in the end of November where conversations about cultural appropriation and then the antiblackness of the one fandom space I’m most active in were misrepresented as coming solely from “antis and multis”.
I saw my own commentary and that of my other Black friends in the fandom erased in this vein.
I can’t stand it.
Because this is how I show my love. This is how I unpack my feelings.
If I didn’t see the worth in any of this – if I didn’t think any of this could be improved in some way – I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t spend my money on these performers. I wouldn’t engage in sharing content and supporting fandom.
I would just speak on my frustration, write a mean ass post the way I’m doing with the Star Wars fandom, and then dip.
Because that fandom doesn’t seem fixable and neither does its franchise.
But somehow, I still have hope here.
Despite everything I’ve documented since the start of the year through now – two separate TK Park fuckups, lots of cultural appropriation, frequent fandom diustups aimed at Black fans, and the Sorn shit – I still manage to hope.
I still manage to feel joy when I put on one of my favorite songs or when a group I love drops something new and interesting. I still feel inspired to work on my own lyrics.
And I still feel compelled to write critical commentary on anti/blackness from these groups and artists or in their fandom spaces.
So I’ll keep working on creating quality critical content as long as I can, well into 2020.
Thank you so much for coming along with me on this journey.