I made a comment about this on the 8/12/11 free NYC concert post, but Boab1 thought it would make an ok post on its own, so here it is. My apologies if it rambles a bit…
Last week, an announcement was made about a free K-Pop concert in NYC in October with about ten performing acts. My first reaction, as was many of yours, was “OMG!!” Since this concert is short notice for me, and even though it was a difficult choice between screaming Minho’s name at him in person and paying my mortgage (well, almost), I’m gonna have to sit this one out. Hopefully there will be lots of awesome pictures, videos and stories from those of you who are fortunate enough to be able to attend that you’ll be gracious enough to share with the rest of us.
However, I’m feeling some serious noona anxiety about this concert. Currently, SHINee is my K-Pop band bias. The SHINee guys are adorable, lovable and extremely talented. I love them just the way they are. My concern is about how they will measure up under scrutiny here in the States. In other posts, we’ve discussed the western vs. eastern ideas of masculinity and style for guys. Their management has gradually allowed them to update their wardrobe and image from the bright, colorful clothing of their debut days to more mature, muted tones. Well, actually, the ‘Hello’ video with Key’s pjs-looking red ensemble and Taemin’s and Jonghyun’s leopard print pants was filmed in 2010, eek! Anyway, they’re wearing more blacks, grays and beiges now, but most of their pants are still skinny and stretchy, and some have added ventilation (holes). There is even a youtube parody video about their tight pants.
And as adorable as I think it is, how is their liberal use of skinship going to go over with the crowds? It would really hurt my feelings if they are misjudged based on their appearance and mannerisms. I’m in mama bear mode right now. The argument can be made that I’m being melodramatic…my reply? I’m a fan.
Why is it so difficult for some world musicians (especially if they don’t speak fluent english) to become popular over here? Musicians from here go overseas and perform english songs to hugely welcoming crowds. Why is the reverse many times untrue? K-Pop in general is accepted as-is in other countries. I mean, there was a flash mob in Poland with the goal of bringing K-Pop acts there. And the Poles aren’t requiring K-Pop performers to speak and sing in fluent Polish. Korean acts do on occasion release songs in different languages for other parts of their market, but they still perform most of their repertoire in Korean. Why should they have to change so much in the way of language, clothing, hairstyles, mannerisms, etc just to suit the U.S. market? Why can’t the music, performer(s) and performance stand on their own merit?
I have to believe that KBS has done their homework and research before setting up this concert. I’m just hoping that people, media included, will be open to and understanding about the cultural differences and that the audiences will be wowed by the sheer talent. Or that the criticism at least be fair. Here’s hoping it will be successful and the start of many such concerts all over the country…maybe a wee bit further south next time.
What do you think?