Saturday, June 27, 2020

Politicians take note, K-pop is a political force to be reckoned with

K-pop fans, including the formidable worldwide BTS Army who follow established Korean sensations BTS, have been turning more and more political in recent months. And they are seriously well-organized.
When BTS expressed support for Black Lives Matters movement recently and donated $1 million to the cause, the BTS Army responded by raising an equivalent amount. And it took them little over  24 hours to do it, which, considering they are mainly teens and twenty-somethings, is pretty impressive. They also flooded social media with anti-racist supportive messages, for example drowning out racist tweets on hashtags like #WhiteLivesMatter.
American K-pop fans, along with TikTok aficionados, also took much of the credit for the punking of Donald Trump's Tulsa rally, by reserving tickets en masse to an event they had no intentions of attending, resulting in a two-thirds empty stadium and a seriously disgruntled Donald Trump.
Although K-pop in general tends to be quite a small-c conservative movement, strong on squeaky-clean images and "nice" stars who do and say the right things, it has always taken a social stance, even if not a political one. K-pop stars are expected to be positive role models, and have always emphasized the importance of  volunteering in the community, donating to good causes, self-love, and caring about disadvantaged populations. So, politically, it is no surprise that its artists and its fans are progressive in their outlooks, and strong on anti-racism and social justice. BTS, still the biggest band K-pop has produced, are probably more outspoken than most, politically, and their legions of overseas fans in particular have taken this and run with it.
And these young people are products of the social media and internet age, quick to share tweets and petitions, and have shown themselves to be highly adept at chain messages and taking little actions and comments viral. They are a force to be reckoned with, so politicians should take note.

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