Unexpected Allies: How K-Pop Fans Are Promoting Diversity

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The death of George Floyd has sparked a domino effect in the international political arena. From left to right, people from London and Seoul to Sydney and Istanbul took the fight against racism and police brutality to the streets, heightening the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. In the face of the ongoing pandemic, protests have been non-stop as people are disgruntled and demanding for social change.

Ideally, laws protect the rights of all citizens, regardless of class, race, and gender. But such laws weren’t applied in Floyd’s case. It isn’t the first time as inequality has been pervasive for decades. The birth of the said movement might be a sign of an imperfect justice system.

People quickly stood in solidarity and heeded the call to end the violence because they understand that oppression comes in various faces. Some policies can be reviewed or amended for the good of society, much like how a Subaru car needs a regular maintenance schedule to remain in top shape.

The support for the movement extends to social media, and K-pop fans further amplified it. The large fandom surprised netizens on how they united and quickly acted on the issue. But for the longest time, K-pop fans have been speaking out, working together, and contributing to addressing societal ills.

Defying stereotypes

K-pop fans are boxed as gullible and enthusiastic devotees of Korean idols. They’re belittled and shamed because they appear to be stuck in a fantasy. Concerning the mentioned movement, Time Magazine described them as an “unexpected ally” because activism isn’t affiliated with their image. But before Floyd’s case, they have been engaging politically.

In late 2019, CNN Chile reported that K-pop fans were “mentioning human rights violations and criticizing the silence of the media.” The default perception towards the fandom only shattered when the previously mentioned movement grew. The fandom’s strong online presence shows how they’ve always used their platform not only to express their love for their idols but also to discuss critical issues and influence change.

Social mediaThe power of social media

The collective action of K-pop fans is notable in the realm of social media. They can swiftly take over worldwide trending topics just for promoting K-pop artists, and that is what they did to garner support for the movement. They weaponized posts, as cited in Vox, “to spread information, protect protestors, and derail racist rhetoric.”

When Dallas Police Department posted that people can submit tips regarding the protests through an iWatch app, K-pop fans responded by flooding it with fancams of idol groups. Their work was proven successful when the app crashed and experienced technical difficulties. It didn’t stop from there as they continued to water down specific hashtags with more fancams. It was also a tactic of the fandom to keep the movement at the center of the discussion. Moreover, they started a new hashtag to collect $1 million to match the same amount that BTS and its management Big Hit donated to the movement’s official charity fund.

With the current situation of today’s world, it’s challenging to move forward. Fortunately, people can do something to overcome society’s problems. That also means being open to accepting new allies, such as K-pop fans, whose online strategies have helped expand political consciousness.

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