[Rerun] What I Love About Bi, I: His Openness and Honesty

Bi on a radio talk show

There may be some of you that are wondering what I find appealing about Bi.  There are many things I love about him, but I’ll start with one: his openness and honesty.

This trait of his is actually why I became a fan.  For his hardcore fans out there: please don’t take what I am about to say the wrong way.  And that is, I am a bigger fan of his personality (or at least, what I perceive it to be) than I am of his music and image as an entertainer.   Although he is extremely talented, I think its safe to say from my perspective that he hasn’t really done anything that hasn’t been done before.  Unfortunately, its why he keeps getting slammed with labels such as “The Korean Justin Timberlake”, or “The Asian Michael Jackson”.  Personally, I think he’s better than JT, but the point is he’s heavily influenced by Western-style r&b hip hop/pop, and that’s ok.  He’s got an amazing voice and mad dance skills and is definitely one of the best out there.  However, if it weren’t for his fascinating personality and charisma, I don’t think he’d be as successful as he is.

A few years ago, my cousin introduced me to Bi by sending me an email with a link to the video for “I’m Coming”.  I watched it for a few minutes, but three minutes in I was done; emailed my cousin back with a simple “wow he’s a hottie with a body”, and never gave him another thought until 5 months later when I was at a theatre watching a movie with my brother when I saw the trailer for “Ninja Assassin”.  I knew the lead actor looked very familiar, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on where I saw him.  When I got home, I googled him and learned that he was the same guy in the video that my cousin had sent me months earlier.  I decided to search for an interview of his on the movie and was shocked at how many videos I was able to find on him.  There were tons of music videos but there was also a hefty amount of interview footage in English.   I immediately loved how open he is in his interviews.  I was floored by many of the things he’s admitted and stated on publicly broadcast tv.  Celebrities in the U.S. wouldn’t even hint to some of the things that Bi’s openly discussed (i.e., his regret over the strained relationship between he and his mother, leading up to and at the time of her death, and expressing battling feelings of depression, loneliness and thoughts about dying).  I love this about him.  I think it shows his strength as a person and I think its safe to say that he probably wears his heart on his sleeve in his personal life, and when he’s got something to say, he’ll say it.

36 thoughts on “[Rerun] What I Love About Bi, I: His Openness and Honesty

  1. Pingback: How Does Bi Cope with Loneliness? | Black Women Love Bi (Rain)

  2. I agree with you 100%. It refreshing to see someone so open, honest and hardworking. Add that together with his talents, gorgeous masculinity, personality, etc… You want him to succeed…

    • @Nicole: JT WISHES he was as good as Bi. I really think there’s a conspiracy in the U.S. entertainment industry to keep this guy from crossing over. He’d blow EVERYONE out of the water!

      • Yeah. Someone definitely doesn’t want him to make it here, and they’ve been working to keep him from doing so for a good many years, as far as I’m concerned. And I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if one of the parties involved is someone close to him. Just sayin.

      • Personally, I don’t think it’s a conspiracy in the U.S. to keep him from crossing over. The U.S. is the same ole, same ole when it comes to Any ethnic entertainer and that includes the “homegrown” ones too. I think, it’s his own “Peeps” that don’t want him crossing over and have put up the stumbling blocks. They want all that talent to stay right where it is in Asia, Korea specifically, but he’s got other plans. His destiny is bigger than just staying in Korea (IMO).

      • I agree with BOABelly about the conspiracy. If we look at the industry closely, there’s no asian american icon. Blacks and hispanics have Usher or J-Lo, but asians? They got some shine with Far East Movement lately, or Jin a decade ago, but that’s ephemeral, where is the international asian icon? Not happening. And the asian scene is FULL of talents. If the Asian american entertainers can’t make it in the USA (that’s why many asian american artists go to Asia to build their careers aka Jay Park or Vaness Wu), then asians from asia have fewer chances. Bi did a Madison Square Garden concert (it was a success), so there’s a reason why this hard working and ambitious man gave up on releasing an american album. Boa, Seven, WheeSung tried and failed, JYJ tried and failed, Bi – the biggest kpop entertainer – tried a little and didn’t even bother releasing an american single. The big bosses of Universal and all those labels, I think there’s some racism going on, sorry, because they know korean artists are threats, they seem to use them in america just to make money off of american kpop fans. Also, the reason many Koreans seem not to want their celebs to stay in the USA is because the MOMENT they go to the States, they lose their identity (think about the list of artists above). This is a big mistake from both korean and american producers. Keep that “korean touch” that makes them who they are in the 1st place.

  3. His voice, stage presence, and dancing got me.

    His work ethic and personality KEPT me.

    With his acting on top of all that, I’m in it for the long haul.

  4. You took the words right out of my mouth.

    I love Bi because of these reasons. He may not have been the first Asian to be in the entertainment field,but he certainly helped Korea and other Asian countries to be more recognizable and raising Korea up to a new level. I watched Bi’s interview and I couldn’t blame him for saying what he said. He isn’t Justin Timberlake ,nor is he MJ.. he said it best, he’s Bi.Bi should have been famous a while back, it’s inconceivable. Hopefully, when he’s discharged from the army, he’ll get that long lost recognition in the states.

  5. What INTERESTED me from the beginning was his acting, What INTRIGUED me further was his dancing, What IMPRESSED me was his incredible work ethic and drive (he’s a demon), What absolutely ENAMORED me was his honesty with his emotions and his openess in showing them, as well as his devilish charm. Everything else is gravy. Like DynasticQueen, I’m a KEPT woman!

  6. Oh yeah, I totally agree U.S. celebrities would rather eat rocks than give an honest accounting of their early struggles, their TRUE struggles. Those type stories they only tell a “hundred years” after the fame and the fake interviews or when their careers are no more and as a outsider looking in you’re like…..who cares now??

  7. I have the same feelings as you, what made me love Rain was his open personality not his music or acting (even though Ninja Assassin totally sold me). I knew about Rain in 2009, because when the Wonder Girls was trying to made it American; I went online looking them up and somehow Rain and Se7en came up on my screen however I paid them no mind! I kind of hate when people call him the Justin T of Asia but like you said, everything Rain does has really been done before. However for some reason Rain does it better (LMAO).

    I know this may sound weird but, I care about Rain, I don’t want the USA blood suckers using him because in Korea it seems like people be trying to cheap in out his money! However if Rain never makes an American album the least he can do is try put his music on Amazon mp3 or ITunes so his fans in American can buy his music easy!

    With that being said, I will now and forever be a supporter of Rain because he is talented and a sweet-heart.

    • And that only goes to show that his management has been crap. WHO doesn’t put their major breadwinner and WORLD STAR on iTunes and Amazon, with Americans and everybody else standing there with money in their hands just waiting to spend it on him? Someone who didn’t really want him out there, that’s who. See where I’m going. And that’s just ONE thing out of a dozen.

      Burns me up.

    • Let me tell you about “Ninja Assassin” it came out the wrong time because “Twilight:New Moon” was all over the damn place and a week later NA was coming out and I don’t people gave the movie a change because it was overshadowed by vampires and werewolves!

      • I absolutely agree. If the movie had come out in March instead of November like it was supposed to, it would have made a lot more than $65 million. (Not that that’s pennies, because it’s not.) At the same time as New Moon??? Come on, seriously??

  8. Speed Racer,
    Time Magazine Top 100,
    and Stephen Colbert
    are when I first learned
    about this dude who went
    by the name Rain.
    As far as I was concerned,
    whoever this guy was in Speed Racer,
    he wasn’t in it long enough for me;
    and to get schooled on Rain by
    a white boy was somewhat
    embarrassing for me.
    When I saw the previews for
    Ninja Assassin,
    I never made the connection.
    I just new I had to see that film.
    I was a huge Matrix fan
    (by the way did you all know,
    it has been all but admitted to
    that the idea was from a book
    The Third Eye, by Sophia Stewart,
    a woman of color – last I read in 2009,
    it had been in the courts for 10 years),
    and I remember thinking,
    excellent casting by the
    Wachowski Brothers once again;
    and then when I saw the movie…
    OMG who is this guy!
    It took me a while to make
    The connection that they
    were one and the same,
    but when I finally figured it out,
    it made perfect sense.

    I had to know more,
    and the more you
    learned about this man,
    the more incredible he came to be.
    Looks and musical talent aside,
    he is incredibly charming and gracious,
    his mischievous and even dry sense of humour,
    so genuine, so generous, so kind,
    a true gentleman, and
    an incredibly hard-working man,
    someone who does not forget
    where he came from,
    and who makes it a point to give back.
    He is the real deal.
    Add to that, one of the
    most attractive men on the planet;
    the fact that he is so incredibly sexy,
    some people just come by it honestly,
    that winning smile,
    a man with a thousand faces
    (when he goes from a serious intense expression
    and then breaks out into a smile, I just melt);
    what you have is someone who is
    almost too good to be true; yet
    in the few years I have been reading up on him,
    I have not read a single negative thing on this man.
    He is simply the real deal.

    I made this comment in another thread,
    about Rain being deserved
    of the Time Magazine recognition,
    and a reader thought I was ignoring
    all those that came before him.
    I tried to explain that no,
    those that came before him were an understood,
    but I insisted that Rain deserved some credit too.

    Whether in the end this is ultimately
    going to be a good or bad thing, we shall see,
    but that one man has, in this time,
    almost single-handedly
    introduced so many people
    to not just Korean
    but other Asian cultures as well,
    to people who would otherwise
    have not given it a second thought,
    is pretty damn amazing,
    and deserves to be recognized.
    Yes, you have the likes of Jackie Chan and Jet Li,
    and of course Bruce Lee who had a major impact,
    and that’s just the martial arts world.
    But there’s something about Rain
    that is so welcoming and inviting.
    He has been the
    consummate Asian ambassador,
    and should be acknowledged as such.

    Can you imagine
    if someone were to actually
    map out his sphere of influence
    over the past few years alone…
    it is undeniable, irrefutable.

    There is a clip on youtube
    with a little white American boy
    going off about Raizo
    from Ninja Assassin;
    and I am sorry,
    but the study rise
    in the international popularity
    of K-Pop is due
    in no small part to Rain… period.
    At least I blame him personally,
    for the insanity that has
    taken me over.

    I am in agreement,
    I would not be surprised
    if someone was holding him back,
    might there even be a government conspiracy.
    The sadness there seems to be about him at times.
    I was going to say cloud of sadness,
    but surely that can’t be an element
    to the meaning behind his name.
    That would break my heart.
    But it would definitely explain a lot,
    including his determination,
    his need to almost ‘escape’ to Hollywood,
    even if it is a few years later than he’d hoped.
    God I wish him the best!

    I came across this article,
    which I thought was interesting,
    and so very true,
    and it saddens me I’m afraid,
    as I have been a huge fan,
    and I can’t imagine doing the live action film justice
    with a Caucasian lead, no offense.

    I’m sure many of us have thought this
    about other films, including Speed Racer,
    but I find this one a difficult pill to swallow.
    I mean really… still… Akira…

    I also find it interesting,
    that rightfully so,
    included in the list of Asian actors
    is Keanu Reeves.
    Well, he is Hawaiian, part Chinese,
    and has never shied away from it.


    • @whatthefrell,

      The Racialicious article was quite interesting and not surprising. Hollywood has been whitewashing everybody’s ethnic culture for decades. It’s what they do. Only letting a few people with tan skin “eek” through the cracks. They (the studio execs with a boat load of money) look like “snow”, want the stories they produce to look like “snow”, the hero gotta look like “snow.” They only want to relate to people who look like them and to hell with the rest. It’s only when people of color make “noise” does Any door open. Otherwise, everything that has ever been recorded in history would be “snow.” Half the world is brown or tan or tinted, but “snow” will stay in control….dammit…..by ANY MEANS.

      I know it’s going to be a tough row to hoe for Bi in Hollywood and I’m sure he holds no illusions about it. However, I too sense a certain determination on his part to crack the Hollywood “nut” on a personal level. He seems to want to prove to “somebody” that he can do this thing. Personally, I believe he can and will if the right doors open to him. I also feel he wants to do what most people of color in the entertainment industry want to do and that’s open doors for their people. You are absolutely right, Bi has already opened doors for the younger K-Pop groups and he’s still doing that. I also feel, he’s not trying to go the musical route but the movie route. If Bi gets the right movie “vehicle” to showcase him in all his glory….his career will be huge. He IS that right Asian sexy, hearthrob male lead, for THIS right time.

      • I didn’t even think about the Twilight factor,
        and don’t get me started on that one.
        It boggles my mind that Ninja Assassin
        didn’t do 10 times better than it did
        here in the States.

        “He IS that right Asian sexy,
        heartthrob male lead,
        for THIS right time.”
        he was then,
        he is now,
        and he will be even more so
        when he gets out!

        In Ninja Assassin,
        when he lifts off his mask
        revealing himself to Mika
        for the first time and asks,
        “Do you know me…”
        I don’t know,
        but that was pretty powerful to me;
        there was an earnestness in his expression
        on such a beautiful and handsome face.
        If you didn’t know him then,
        who didn’t want to get to know him after that,
        and then there was more.
        When he is on screen,
        you cannot help but want to watch him.

    • Thanks for sharing all your thoughts about Rain, and the Akira article, whatthefrell.

      The Akira thing has irritated me for some time now. That movie is legendary and seeing it in the theater was my introduction to the Anime world. How Hollywood thinks that casting a major Caucasian star (or any star) in their 40s as 16-year-old teenager Kaneda will work is beyond me. Kaneda and all the other kids need to at least be under 25, and Rain can look that age and younger pretty much without blinking for a part like that, or heck, give a younger Asian actor a shot. There are some talented actors over there.

      If they just HAD to have a major star in order to get the film signed off on or something, then they shouldn’t have tried to make it in the first place. That’s just what I told them, too. I went off. Akira is set in Asia and the characters are Asian, not white folks in a white city like Boston. Rewrite it and call it David or Charlie or whatever, but don’t call it Akira. Wow.

      Didn’t mean to rant so long. LOL

      • Dynastic Queen,
        I feel your frustration 100%.
        You know you sometimes dream
        about what a live action version of
        these already classic films would be like
        and then you hear about what
        somebody’s lame-ass idea is.

        Not quite the same thing,
        but I just knew the Star Trek reboot
        was going to suck, but I was most pleasantly surprised.
        JJ Abrams was obviously a fan, John Cho as Sulu – well done.
        Then there’s Battlestar Galactica,
        I get why they changed things up a bit,
        but the original Boomer character was a black man,
        and no character along those lines was created to
        replace him, not that I didn’t fully support
        and enjoy Grace Park’s version,
        but you know what I’m saying,
        that was a minus one in my book.

        Akira was one of my first introductions
        to the Anime world too;
        that and Vampire Hunter D!
        When I read that,
        I got really pissed and really sad.
        I look at it as being incredibly disrespectful.
        “Rewrite it and call it David or Charlie or whatever,
        but don’t call it Akira.”

  9. I’m so sorry…
    and the voice…

    For some reason,
    this song made me want to learn Korean,
    it helped that there’s a version with lyrics
    in English and Korean.

    Justin Timberlake ain’t influenced nobody,
    but like him, most everybody
    has been influenced by Michael Jackson.
    It’s what you do with the things
    hat have influenced you that matters.
    A good artist incorporates
    what has influenced him the most,
    yet stays true to himself,
    and the result is a whole different animal.
    Bi is a one and only,
    there is nobody out there like him…

  10. I agree with most of the things said. For me, it was a combination of all the above, music, stage presence,but the personality took center stage after either reading, but mostly watching some interviews. I find his honesty refreshing. I like how he answers questions. He doesn’t come off being fake or well rehearsed. I don’t wanna keep goin on and on. I really can’t explain what “it” is about JiHoon. He has a wit and a charm about him. He’s not afraid to work hard.. Determined. Oh, his smile is infectious. He makes me smile.

  11. Well everything has already been said before. Yes, Bi is beyond sexy, that voice and body……OMG!!! However, I am intrigued with his diligence and his mind. Bi is a man, never backing down from any obstacle set before him. He told us the things he wants to accomplish in his 20’s, 30’, and 40’s. I think Bi knows that once he goes in the Army someone else will take his place in his absence. I truly feel this is one of the reasons for the late enlistment. He had to do everything he could, while he could. Like in Hollywood: out-of-sight-out-mind. You are only considered relevant when you are still popular. He will be a in his 30’s when he returns to the spotlight and focused on the next phase of his career. I will be so happy to see his name again headlining another movie. I would even like to see him have his own movie production company. There is too much talent in the Asian community not being utilized in a positive way. Heck, Tyler Perry did it, so can Bi.

    I don’t think it was so much a conspiracy keeping him from succeeding in the US previously but rather the overt attempt (from the powers that be) to keep him solely Korean. BI took it upon himself to learn English well into is adulthood, when in my opinion, and my opinion only, BI’s managers should have at least exposed him to the language earlier, much, much earlier. But he is persevering and showing the world he has a lot to offer regardless what people say about him. This is what love about Bi the man, the superstar. Yes, Americans (particulary Hollywood) think the world revolves them and no one is better. *say whaaatttt??* This is so wrong. I see so many great actors, singers, movies coming from overseas. I am sick of this remake crap Hollywood is hashing out with the same stars over and over…..

    Bi is a shining example that with a hard work and determination you can achieve your dreams: I’m with you Sukura, Bi has a beautiful, infectious smile.

    • @LadyOrchid,

      AMEN on the Hollywood remake crap. Half the sh#t they are remaking, some of us are still “young” enough to remember the originals, cause they weren’t THAT long ago. I’m like enough already…..somebody put your thinking caps on (Lord knows you are paid enough damned money too) and be innovative, write something NEW.

      I get what you are saying about someone taking Bi’s place while he’s out and I agree someone will TRY. The funny thing about someone like Bi, the person that he IS….that “it” factor none of us can describe is why many of us are his fans in the first place. His “it” factor is quite Grand (IMO). HIS absence will be palpable. You’ll see these others saying “Oh goodie Bi’s gone…now let me jump in his spotlight” but it will be painful to watch because They Will try, but they Won’t Be….well……Bi. You feel me? That “thing” Bi has is exclusive only to Bi…..it can’t be duplicated. That’s why when any celeb gets a hit record….they have a certain style, stage presence, etc. Executives damn near break their necks Trying to make “cookie cutter” singers to keep generating that same revenue, but it just doesn’t work or there’s a group and the one with the most appeal goes solo and becomes huge and the others left behind try to be solo acts, but they just don’t appeal to the masses as solo artists. Why? They’re just as talented, exposed to the same audiences, have the same connections/management. Why do they not succeed on the same megastar level? IMO, what is unique and exclusive to the individual…..that “it” thing is what appeals to the masses and comes from That individual alone. JiHoon/Rain/Bi can’t be replaced. Who smiles like he does, the Way he does, who has His charm, who can charm His audience the way he does….no one. If people only look at the talent (singing/dancing) part, then they will always be fooled into thinking/telling themselves “he did it, so can I.” I say, well……maybe not. Others will have to bring whatever it is They bring to the stage. They can’t “piggyback” off of Bi, though they will try…like you said. Instead of replacing him, when he gets out of the military it will be a “been there, done that” type of thing with him. On to the next episode……I’ll leave some bread crumbs for ya’ll……………..

      • BiAlamode…
        “His it factor is quite grand.”
        Very much so,
        without a doubt.
        Is it just me,
        or is everyone getting
        a little bit more passionate about him
        with each passing day…
        While I am going to want to know
        what he’s up to while serving.
        I mostly want him to just
        serve his time in peace.
        Seven (7) more days.
        That sounds like
        a title to a song.
        Someone needs to
        write a song about that…
        7 more days ’til Rain’s enlistment.
        For some reason,
        I keep hearing
        Elton John’s “Rocket Man.”
        It’s how I’m feeling right about now.

      • @whatthefrell,

        I hope I don’t sound too “off the deep end.” I realize I get wordy sometimes when I try to make a point (I’m trying to work on that). I just feel that some celebs like Bi, people will miss their presence strongly and keep wondering about them. While others, could be gone for 20 years and you don’t think about them until those 20 years down the road. It’s not until you see them on those “Where Are They Now?” shows that you realize…..Good mercy “what’na” hell happened to you? I think Bi’s one of those that others will try to take his place of course, but they will find it a little bit harder to do than they probably realize.

      • A girl at work and I were just talking about remakes. I say if the original actors/actresses are still alive it should be a no go. ie-Footloose. I didn’t even think the first one was that great-loved the soundtrack though 🙂 Very annoying

    • Girl, I thought I was the only one thinking that “BI took it upon himself to learn English well into is adulthood, when in my opinion, and my opinion only, BI’s managers should have at least exposed him to the language earlier, much, much earlier.”
      I always wonder that, because JYP can speak english really well… I was just wonderin… I know he was on TRL a while ago. I was a huge fan of that show, Im talking rushing home from school with my lil sisters to see my fave celebs. Wow, those were the times.

      On another note, Im tried of the remakes to. Im 27 and some of these movies I remember, mom and dad were huge movie peeps esp on the weekends. Not that I dont enjoy the veteran actors, but where’s the new talented actors. THE NEW GENERATION OF ACTORS AND ACTRESSES. Im getting tried of these old men and women playing the hot 20 somethings. When they’re clearly not quite the right age. Im not a math genuis, but these ppl where playing hot 20 somethings when I was in my pre teens and didnt know what a hot 20 something meant… Im not a hater. Im just saying, I would like to see something refreshing, hot, and new. Make me say WOW, now what’ your name again. That’s exactly what Rain did, the second I saw him on that staircase and heard that voice. The rest of it was like adding gas to a raging fire..lol

  12. Whathefrell, I was doing just fine until you said seven more days…… I guess I can make it through the rest of the week he,he, he

    But I am officially sick on the 11th *cough, cough, sneeze…*

  13. I always say his boyish grin and hot tanned body in Fugitive def got me interested, but his openness and honesty on variety shows and in interviews are what endeared me to him. Even more so than his music. I would love to see him perform in concert,but I would pay the same money to see him in a “Happy Together” setting also

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