Fandom has changed a lot since I was a kid. As a tween, I had no hope of getting in touch with celebrities I adored like Britney Spears and Whitney Houston. Now, I’ve not only spoken with some of my celebrity favorites on social media, but I’ve even fought with a few.
The technology of fandom is changing, too. Parasocial relationships — a largely one-sided relationship between a fan and a public figure they feel close to due to social media — are everywhere online. And the companies behind some of the biggest acts in K-pop are pioneering a new way to monetize them. They’ve developed online platforms to help K-pop fans feel as though they have direct access to their idol favorites. That access helps shape the way these fans interact with the idol as a form of friendship and how they engage with other fans
I’m always online. Obviously. I spend a lot of time – too much time? – on Twitter, but I also do a lot of fandoming across different apps for Korean idols. Hell, at one point I actually lowkey lived on streaming app V Live because the phone I had at the time had notifications that worked so when one of “my” favorites would go online, so would I. I was awake so dang early back then. These days, I may sleep through my notifications, but I stay active on the different apps for my faves. I don’t use LYSN or bubble but I have been on Universe for Monsta X and Brave Girls (especially my bias Minyoung).
And of course, I’m on Weverse. Most of my favorites (and one former favorite… Gfriend) are on the Weverse app and I use the app to communicate with other fans and moon over idols. It’s more “personal” and private than just trying to communicate with an idol or other fans on Twitter and so, for the most part, it feels safe to engage.
I loved talking with Areum Jeong and Nicole Santero (who runs the @ResearchBTS Twitter account) because they’ve got insight for days! I also am grateful to Maxim and Leigh, two fans who graciously provided their thoughts about the apps they use to engage with their faves. So many wonderful fans provided their insight and I only wish I could’ve used it all in the final piece!
Especially when it comes to minor to major antiblackness in media like the kind we constantly do see from Korean pop and hip-hop artists. If you don’t mean it when you apologize, why are you apologizing in the first place?
So, I started watching Korean’s Honest Drunk Opinions on Black Lives Matter, Dreads and the N-word with a Black American on YouTube.
This is Daniel – Danny from DKDKTV. And so it has this introduction where he’s like talking to Mike, who is the black American.
And it’s like, the introduction already rubs me the wrong way, because it’s like, “should Koreans be expected to educate themselves” and it’s like Koreans aren’t infants.
Y’all need to stop infantilizing yourselves and your peers because y’all aren’t babies. Like, we should all be expected to educate ourselves about cultural sensitivities about complicated subjects.
Like if you’re going to have a platform, especially like DKDKTV does you should definitely be expected educate yourself and those guys really haven’t across the years. It’s been very like this – they have yet to do a video on blackness specifically and like anti blackness that hasn’t been kind of like shit.
And like when they brought it up in the past like when with Amber they called Amber’s like moments of anti blackness about the cops harassing that black man in the California train station. They call it a mistake her saying that he deserved what happened to him. And so these aren’t – these aren’t people that I really want talking about race, anti blackness, whatever, in general, but especially if at least one of the two is coming into it from this position of like we shouldn’t really be expected to care and like and like their their past has just been not great.
And so like, we are not even a minute in and I’m like *heavy sigh*
There’s an error in this video that I did actually catch before it posted…
I wanted to open with that because it’s honestly hilarious. I copied the original introduction for this video – which I had originally drafted and recorded last year before the world was Like This – which means that I didn’t update it to include how much work I’ve done across this project.
At this point in 2020 after a solid year of working on this project, we’re at eleven articles, twelve related articles, two Spotify playlists, nine videos including this one, two pieces of Patreon-exclusive content, countless twitter threads, and two podcast appearances.
That is a lot of work, y’all.
And I am honestly maybe only halfway done. Two thirds if I squint.
On top of that, I’m a huge fan of hip hop from around the world and have been since I was a teenager listening to m-flo on my Zune. Like if I didn’t love hip-hop, there’s no way that I would’ve spent a huge amount of the past year having public opinions about hip hop and working my fingers off on this project.
That’s why, when I saw someone I follow retweet a Porochista Khakpour tweet about BTS’ rapline, I kind of like lost it (laughing) at first. In the linked tweet, Khakpour writes that: