Hold Your Faves Accountable


Twice member Chaeyoung wearing braids.

By Xochilt Coca, Online Editor

K-pop is one of the most diverse music genres in pop culture, with very intriguing outfits, video concepts and stage performances. This captivates fans all around the world. Considering K-pop has a cult following, you would think they would be more sensitive to other cultures, but this is not the case.


What is Culture Appropriation?

The article titled “What is Culture appropriation?” published by Britannica states that culture appropriation is to wrongfully take parts of different cultures, traditions, and identities and inappropriately misuse or disrespect them.

BTS is a good example of cultural appreciation in their music video IDOL which includes an African traditional dance called “Gwara Gwara.”

This has been done by a lot of Western artists as in the artist wearing box braids, which reside in black culture, a Native American headdress, or Hispanic sombreros. This can seem miniscule to those who misuse them but have great historical meaning. It can be harmful to wear it mindlessly without consideration of its deeper cultural significance.


Which K-Pop groups have performed culture appropriation?

BTS, the biggest K-pop group in the world, when it first started was highly influenced by hip-hop and the black community. At this time the leader of the group RM/Kim Namjoon had permed his hair up to 4c hair type which is a natural black hair texture. He then styled his hair in locks which is an African American hairstyle where they matt and braid the hair. He had this hair for a while, and he has never mentioned the incident again but claimed “to regret his actions.” Park Jimin is the lead vocalist of the group. He is seen in a W Korea photoshoot wearing a Native American headdress.

Twice member and leader Jihyo wearing a Native American dress during a halloween event.


Halloween costumes seem to take over the K-pop community, even the racist insensitive ones. In a stage performance the girl group Twice performed in, they were all dressed in “funny” and “scary” costumes, such as a Native American dress, with a feather headpiece. Yet again, this was not addressed. In another video, Twice members Chaeyoung, Tzuyu, Momo were seen with their hair braided in cornrows.

The biggest girl group in the world BLACKPINK have continuously culturally appropriated with no remorse. The idol who does it time and time again without shame is Lisa. In her most recent single “Money,” Lisa is styled with red box braids. This isn’t the first time that she has worn box braids. In BLACKPINK’s music video for “Kill This Love,” she is wearing pig tails which are yet again box braids.

The impact this has on K-Pop fans

According to an article published by Yahoo! News titled “Blackpink’s Lisa apologizes over cultural appropriation accusations in video call with fanLisa had recently had video fan calls, and a fan confronted her about her hairstyle, and she said, “I feel bad. I’m very sorry…I’ll be very, you know, like, joshimhae? Careful from now on.”

Idols usually get scolded on the internet, and not confronted how Lisa did on a fan call. Because they don’t get real consequences, they think they can just apologize and perform cultural appropriation again.

Too many idols have made these mistakes countless times. They apologize for their actions, but most of the times it feels like they ONLY apologize for the sake of their career. K-pop fans don’t usually believe the falsehood of their apologies that they post on Instagram by their staff.

BLACKPINK member Lisa wearing box braids in her “Money” single and “Kill This Love.”

Fans often claim that they hold their “faves accountable.” In an article posted on South Souder titled “Is Cultural Appropriation the backbone of K-Pop?” there is an online statement by a fan that says, “I feel like one of the major issues with idols is they are extremely uninformed, there’s been an influx of people appropriating Desi/black culture in K-pop. At this point, companies should be aware that apologizing and educating members would be the smartest thing to do.