I’ve just come straight from watching an interview from The Zach Sang show on YouTube. For those who kept up with the interviews BTS had while they were in America for the AMAs you’ll be familiar with who Zach Sang is. He was the first interviewer during their stay that actually talked about their music and took time to do his research about their history, back catalogue and also about their recent work with UNICEF. Yes, he would’ve been given tips by a lot of ARMYs out there but the fact he actually listened to them was great. Considering what the rest of the interviewers were asking them (“Who is your celebrity crush?” “What is your favourite movie?”) Zach’s questions were 100% refreshing and necessary and I know a lot of ARMY really appreciated it.
See interview down below:
Because of this preconceived love of Zach and how attentive he is to who he’s interviewing I was interested in a new interview with Forever In Your Mind, posted 12 Jan 2018. To be honest – I don’t know who Forever In Your Mind is. I don’t live in America nor do I listen to the radio or keep up with western music too much these days but what caught my attention was the title: “Forever In Your Mind Talks Euphoric, BTS & Nickelodeon.” I shouldn’t have to tell you that I claim myself as an ARMY (though I am multi-fandom, as well) so this title had me scratching my head, hoping this wasn’t another interview where BTS was only mentioned for five seconds and that’s it. So I watched it and I got a little angry.
I’m not going to claim I know the names of the three band members so you’ll have to excuse me for that. At the start of the interview they seemed fun – the member in the middle and on the right side did a lot of the talking but the member on the left seemed like he had a lot to say as well.
When it came to mentioning BTS the member on the left suddenly grew some confidence and started talking about the success of BTS and how popular they could potentially become in America. Cue my anger.
I’m not angry because of what two of them were saying – the member on the right is a hard ARMY, you can just tell – it was the entire frame of mind. This kind of close-minded opinion is exactly why America has such a hard time of making an Asian artist become mainstream. Although I could talk about a whole lot from this interview I will just make a couple of points – you all can watch the interview for yourselves, I’ll leave it at the bottom of this post.
- “BTS are in a genre of their own” – yes, to people who have never heard of K-Pop. K-Pop is a lot more than just BTS.
- “There needs to be a European or American boyband at the top” – why? Where does it matter where a group comes from for them to excel and be at the top?
- “I just can’t get behind it. I don’t understand what they’re saying” – you sound like every single comment K-Pop fans have heard from their friends and family for years and years. Not understanding the lyrics shouldn’t change the way a song makes you feel nor its quality.
- “Another boyband that probably sings American has to exist alongside them” – this is not the only time something like this was said – by the same member every time. I have just one thing to say…. AMERICAN IS NOT A LANGUAGE.
- “I can see someone singing Italian on the radio because it’s similar enough to where you’re not gonna be speaking Korean” – this comment made me angrier than the rest of them, for obvious reasons. So much ignorance.
Although I’m a massive supporter of people being able to speak their minds on certain issues I do think there is a way to say it. You can be the most opinionated person but people welcome those who are a lot more sensitive and who deliver their opinions in a better more constructive way.
I did want to talk about the last point I made for a little bit.
Comparing a Korean song to a song like Despacito is perfect. A Spanish song is of course going to be more widely well received by those in America because Spanish culture is more common there. There have been a lot of artists who have broken into the mainstream American music industry prior to Despacito which helped pave the way for that songs success. BTS is the first Korean group to have been put under such an intense spotlight since PSY a few years ago. What annoys me the most about comments like this is that it shows how little representation and open-mindedness American public have to any kind of Asian representation.
What I enjoyed throughout this whole interview was Zach Sang and… the boy on the rights opinions. They both were defending and encouraging what BTS has done and what they will continue to do.
- “BTS’ fanbase is huge” “And it’s global” – yes, they are. Just because they’re new to a lot of American people doesn’t mean they don’t have a strong fanbase.
- “If you lose the Korean lyrics you lose the globalness of it” – YES ZACH! For those people who often say they need to bring out songs in english, this would defeat their purpose. They’re Korean. Not all of them speak english. They shouldn’t have to change their culture and their language just to satisfy those who are too ignorant to accept them for who they are.
- “There is the translations…” – this was in response to another member. He had said that at the AMAs there were girls singing along in full Korean and he was sure none of them knew what they were saying. Again, this kind of comment was stupid but I absolutely applaud the member who said the quote from above. Do people think its hard to search up the translations to something? People – fans – take their time to translate lyrics from Hangul to whatever language so Korean music can be heard, understood and loved world-wide. It literally takes 5 seconds to type the song into the search bar and you’ll find it!
- “I’m gonna defend them” – as you should. The whole interview this particular member was struggling with trying to get a word in. He was trying to provide the rest of his bandmates the insight to why they’re so great, to why they should be more popular and more accepted by mainstream America. You can tell he’s an openminded person and I love him for it.
- “They’re not being played on the radio” – this was in response to the question ‘Have you heard anything from BTS since Mic Drop remix?’. I love this comment and do agree to a certain extent. They’re getting a lot more radio play in America than in a lot of other countries. Here in New Zealand Mic Drop was played only a few times when it came out but I’m not sure how often they’re played now. Even being put on rotation is such a huge feat for BTS and Korean music in general so I think starting off slowly is the best way to do it.
- “People are afraid of listening to something different” – I love this guy, he’s full of so much insight and truth!
It’s not really necessary for me to talk about this at all but it did make me extremely angry. Again, not so much the comments that were said but more of the attitude and frames of mind that these kind of thoughts stem from.
Korean music is getting more popular and more worldwide – having these types of thoughts and opinions are no longer going to matter. It’s 2018 and the time to be so resistant to something foreign and different should no longer be a problem. I do think this kind of attitude is based on racism though it is a more diluted form than what we all know racism to be – but it’s racism nonetheless. Just because a group sings in a language you’re unfamiliar with doesn’t take away the meaning and hard-work that gets put in to such a song.
A lot of the feelings I have around this interview aren’t solely for BTS. I become more vocal when something happens involving BTS but when I write posts like this I speak from a more general position – although the discussion was about BTS, they are representing a whole country of culture. I pray the world will get to the point where they are able to be a little more accepting of other languages because I think the rest of the world is missing out on something special.
See the original interview below. Before watching it though I would like to say – don’t dislike the video or send too much hate in the comments. This video is through Zach Sang’s YouTube channel and he did his job with being accepting of other peoples views. Also, don’t be too harsh on the members either. You can of course disagree with what they’re saying but don’t get too ridiculous as I know some of you tend to be. Be more mature and respond accordingly:
Let me know what you think down below. How did you feel about what was said and what do you think can be done to lessen these perceptions of Korean music and their culture?