BLACKPINK makes me so goddamn proud to be Asian
WORDS BY HAYDN HICKSON
Anyone that knows me, knows of my weird obsession with girl-groups. As a small, gay boy, growing up with a single mother, it was #GirlPower that really gave me my braggadocious sense of overconfidence. The Spice Girls taught me how to have fun and be confident, Destiny’s Child taught me how to not take any shit from anyone, the Pussycat Dolls taught me how to be sexy, Little Mix taught me to treasure my friendships, Fifth Harmony taught me how to work from home, etc.
There was just one thing missing.
As a Filipino, I’ve always noticed the obvious lack of Asian representation in pop culture. It was never really something that bothered me - I just assumed it was because there weren’t a lot of PoCs engaging with this content, so why would we be represented in it? How naive I was. But it wasn’t until I discovered K-POP that I realised just how much I wanted to be represented in the media.
The day I discovered Girls’ Generation and f(x) was a day I’ll never forget. Year 10 Haydn was nonchalantly diving into the depths of that weird part of YouTube, unbeknownst to him, he was he about to stumble across his next greatest obsession. The music videos for Mr Taxi and Electric Shock, had me ~ shooketh ~. I remember thinking, I’d never seen production-value this high for a music video by an Asian artist before, let alone for an artist not singing in English.
The amount of time, energy and funding into these music videos surpassed the quality of any of the girl-groups I used to watch on Rage and Video Hits. And yet, they were so different. These pop idols acted like caricatures, overly cute, overly adorable and overly Asian. I was flabbergasted, yet captivated.
But, fast-forward to 2018 - K-pop is no longer bubbling under. K-Pop is now represented in American talk shows, award shows and the Billboard Hot 100.
I present, BLACKPINK. Formed in 2016, released their 6th official single “DDU-DU DDU-DU” this month. The music video racked up 33.7million views within its first 24 hours, securing them as one of the most successful girl-groups on the YouTube platform, and in the K-Pop industry as a whole. But what really affected me about this girl-group was the captivating aura that came with their presence onscreen.
BLACKPINK demand attention. They don’t fall prey to the male gaze, they take the gaze, flip it and make you feel inferior. This level of confidence and empowerment was something that wasn’t too prevalent within the K-Pop industry in the past few years, and to see it so successful, makes me so god damn proud to be Asian.
Not to mention, with this release, the group have tackled the musical genres of: house music, slick EDM, folk ballads, R&B and trap. And they have nailed, every, single, one of them. Their level of talent is undeniably on another level, and to be represented like that makes me so happy.