“Make It Right”: Why #BlackLivesMatter(s) to K-pop, BTS, and BTS ARMYs

Wonseok Lee, Grace Kao

Abstract


K-pop (Korean Pop Music) fans and artists have become visible political actors in the Black Lives Matter (BLM) Movement in the US in 2020. We investigate why K-pop fans and musicians mobilized to support BLM and, more generally, minority rights in the US by focusing on BTS fans, known as ARMY. We argue that the relationship between K-pop fans and artists is not unilateral, but mutual. Diverse voices and power differentials among K-pop fans exist, but were unified during this time. For example, the Black ARMY not only reminded other fans of racism within the fandom, but also asked BTS and their fellow ARMYs to support BLM. By considering K-pop as a battlefield of consent and resistance, we examine how K-pop and its fandoms has the potential for affecting local and national politics outside of South Korea.

Keywords


Korean popular music; K-pop; Black Lives Matter movement; BTS; ARMY; K-pop fandom

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References


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