As confused shoppers passed by Tomodachi, a store on the third floor of the Mall of America, they had no idea that inside was K-Pop YouTube sensation KeNNyBoy SLaY and the WNAX crew. That’s not a surprise, though, because aside from rapper/artist Salvmaknae and the Minnesota K-pop Dance Crew (MKDC), the land of 10,000 lakes rarely receives a visit from anybody within the K-pop realm. However with the recent influx of world tour announcements from various Korean idols and groups, it seems as though Minnesota may begin to see some stars after all, and KeNNyBoy SLaY’s meet and greet is only the beginning.
Tomodachi is a smaller shop filled with adorable plushies, pens, candies, and sodas. You would have been pressed to try and shop there on Saturday night, however, because the fan turnout for this event filled nearly three-quarters of the store. The excitement was palpable in the air as nervous giggle after nervous giggle flowed through the crowd like an endless wave. Maneuvering without bumping into someone or accidentally photobombing a picture was a nearly impossible task.
If you know anything about him, you know that KeNNyBoy SLaY is deeply devoted to his fans. From dying his hair rainbow colors to uploading videos almost every day, to constantly retweeting, replying, and sending messages through Twitter, he makes sure to let his fans (more fondly known as ChicKens) know they are appreciated and valued every second of the day. His going on a meet and greet tour only solidifies his love for his fans, and it’s easy to see through his interactions just how deep that love goes.
Perhaps the more shocking revelation about this relationship between KeNNy and his fans is that no matter how many thanks he bestows upon them, they seem to reciprocate it twofold. There was one instance when a young girl stepped away from the crowd after her time was up, looked around rapidly, and whispered “Oh my God, he touched my hand.” Countless other fans were in awe as well and it would be safe to say that there were more smiles in that store than the world has seen in a long time. With all of the excitement and energy, there was a loud buzz that filled the space as some fans waited in line, itching for the chance to finally say hello, and others gathered around the table that seated KeNNy, JCPark, and Salvmaknae, firing off questions about upcoming events, personal interests, and, of course, KeNNy’s beloved chickens.
One fan did ask about his decision to come to Minnesota of all places for a meet and greet, to which Salvmaknae graciously responded that this is his home, this is where his roots are at. And better yet, he hinted that there are more things to come for Minnesota. Obviously, there is the rapidly approaching tour date for H.U.B (hosted by K-pop YouTuber and longtime friend of KeNNy, JRE) on July 6th. But it was hinted that if that particular event goes well, then Minnesota should look out because there’s more where that came from!
When fans weren’t interacting with KeNNyBoy SLaY, they were always chatting with a member of the WNAX squad, who were so friendly it seemed like they had known all the fans individually for years. In attendance were the previously mentioned Salvmaknae and JC Park, along with Dio C. They too made their love and appreciation for fans evident and made sure to make their way around the room so that no fan was left out.
As the question and answer atmosphere died down some, the party really started. Dance-offs popped up between KeNNy and his ChicKens, and fans served their best lines to the WNAX crew. When the meet and greet finally came to a close, everyone gathered outside to take a picture in front of Tomodachi, marking the first of many days to come in which Minnesota gets a little slice of the K-pop cake. But as for right now, equipped only with a smile and some ring pops, KeNNyBoy SLaY and the WNAX crew certainly made this a meet and greet to remember.