For PCA 2021 – an academic conference on pop culture – I’m doing a presentation on an under-represented and researched type of international Korean idol fans: Black women and other femme-identity aligned people within our community.
A lot of the coverage of English language idol fandoms rightfully focuses on Asian fans (diasporic Koreans primarily, but also South East Asian fans as an incredibly large fanbase). I love the work I’ve read in media/fan studies circles because it’s helped deepen my understanding of these fandoms and how I can be a better fan on my own..
However, the thing I don’t like is how much more of this work explicitly or implicitly focuses on white fans even at a point of talking about things like fandom activism in the wake of May/June 2020’s BLM-related activism that was fueled by Black fans in different idol fandoms. There is a serious lack of understanding and research in fan/media studies and in mainstream-ish journalism about:
- English language k-pop fandom spaces as a whole
- The roles Black fans play in these spaces and in furthering the popularity of these artists in their home countries/specific fandom spaces
I saw some frustrating journalism and academic work on Black women/femme k-pop fans (largely erasure, but some overt “they’re here but uh… why” content) from the tail end of 2019 and I wanted to essentially push back against the idea that Black women/femme fans aren’t here or that we’re here for the “wrong” reasons.
This is just because I see a lack in research and want people to be able to say, as a starting point, “these fans have been here, we should talk about what they’re doing”.
Interviews and survey responses would be a great help, but I’m also planning to build this off of observations about the fandom spaces I’ve moved through for different groups, documentation I have kept for myself over the past 3-4 years, and the established work of scholars like the brilliant Dr. Rukmini Pande.
Here’s where y’all come in:
If you’re a Black woman/femme idol fan interested in helping me with this presentation, please fill out this survey. Please don’t self-reject. If you’re into these artists at any level while Black, you’re someone I want to hear from! Especially if you do your fandom-ing offline or in unconventional ways that don’t involve being a part of stan Twitter.
At the end of the survey is a space where you can leave your email. I’ll get in touch to ask if you’d be interested in an email or zoom interview to talk in-detail about your answers and your fandom-ing!
If you’re not a Black woman/femme fan, please share the link to this post with interested fans.
Additionally, please reach out if you know of a fan that wants to take part but got caught in blockchain on one of my Twitter accounts or that has me blocked because of blockchain and isn’t sure what to do about it. (Short answer: I’ll unblock on my end, but this presentation has nothing to do with my social media at all beyond the introductory slide establishing my interest in this topic.)
If you have further questions about who I am, why I’m doing this, or anything else: please use my site’s contact form to send me an email!
Note: This is not for profit or for Teen Vogue. It is just a research project about something that interests and affects me as a fan first and foremost. After the presentation is completed, I will make it available on my (absolutely unmonetized) YouTube channel along with resources/references I use in a post here. I may reference this project in future projects or articles while making its status CLEAR, but the project itself is informal academic exploration informed by a lifetime in fandom and a hyper-focus on Korean idol fandoms + the coverage of Black fans in journalism/fandom or media studies.
5/8/2020 Update + Some Questions/Answers
What will the data be used for?
The data (and the answers I get from the follow-up questions) will be used to help me get a clearer understanding of the high and low points that Black women/femme k-pop fans have in our fandom spaces. The information will help me put together the presentation I’m crafting about where these fandoms do well and where they do poorly, to urge better and more inclusive coverage of international K-pop fandoms across academia and journalism.
Who will see the survey data?
Only myself and two assistants (one is A, who handles editing and scheduling, and idea wrangling here). No one else.
What kind of information are you collecting outside of k-pop fandom habits and experiences?
Age range, country, and identity & pronouns for all respondents. Name and email for people who wish to be contacted for further interviewing.
How long will you keep this information?
Once everyone who wants to be contacted, has been contacted, I’ll be deleting their names/emails. For all other information, once the project has been completed, I’ll redact as necessary and won’t be referring to the data sheets in any capacity. I may reference the project itself, but not the information on the forms or in the interviews.
Can I back out of the project or ask for my data not to be used?
Yes! Send me a message and I’ll pull your response/remove my notes on any interviewing we’ve done..