I am black. I am a woman. I live in the United States. I am a black woman living in the United States. I stand strong in my conviction, my battle cry that Black lives matter.
I am also a fan of Korean music and culture. For many these facts are at odds with each other. If you’ll recall, I wrote an article a few years ago about the pain of being a black fangirl. I outlined exactly why I’m often at odds with my love of Korean culture. As a black woman, it seems a contradiction.
But now is not the moment to decry some of the shortcomings and tone deafness of an industry predicated on the culture of my people.
Unless you’ve completely shuttered yourself away from reality for the past several years, you’ve been unable to avoid the uptick in racially motivated violence and death. Particularly the disproportionate use of lethal force the police use against black men and women. The month of May was especially brutal. No fewer than five men and women were needlessly murdered at the hands of police. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade. Dreasjon “Sean” Reed. And on May 25, 2020, George Floyd. All unarmed, all hunted. All murdered by police (in the case of Ahmaud Arbery, former police).
When will it end?
I Am Human
“Before I am black. Before I am woman. Before I am short. Before I am young. Before I am African. I am human.”Dionne Farris, “Human”
After so much unnecessary death, so much public execution, my people have had enough. They’ve taken to the streets shouting, “Enough is enough!” Most of the protests have been peaceful. However, many have taken another approach. They’re tired of being docile. Tired of being quiet, clam, polite Negroes for a system that slaughters them anyway. The result is not unlike scenes from the streets of LA after the Rodney King police-sanctioned beating and the murder of 15-year-old Latasha Harlins at the hands of a South Korean convenience store owner.
Minneapolis and many major cities across the States are ablaze. The streets are drenched in glass and fire. The cries of the fed up, the angry, the hurt crack through the day and night like a choir of angels of wrath. These are frightening times.
Standing in Solidarity
It’s at times like this that I urge fans of this Hallyu Wave thing to check on their faves. What are they saying? Are they saying anything at all? Do your biases move in silence? Or are they standing side-by-side with the fans they so desperately cling to? For many of Korea’s most prominent stars, it’s the latter.
Jay Park and Crush have said what most Korean artists refuse to acknowledge: We get our inspiration from black and brown artists. It is our duty to stand with them in solidarity. Amber Liu, who’s had her own troubles with shortsightedness when it comes to her black fans, was also extremely vocal about her support.
So, no. This is not the time to tear down those who refuse to speak. They don’t matter. While I still urge you to check how they move, what’s important is overt signs of solidarity. These are just a few of the artists who have raised their voices since Brother Floyd’s death and yesterday, during Blackout Tuesday. A movement for music industry folk to not post any promotional materials for day in order to come up with solutions for how they can show support.
Regardless of that movement’s success, the Korean artists showed up. Here are what some of them had to say.
Dummie’s entire feed has been flooded with support and resources. Here’s just one of the many posts.
Year of the Ox
Yes, I am a black woman living in the United States. I am also a black woman living in the United States who loves Korean culture. The two are not mutually exclusive. However, while one can change, the other cannot. I will not, refuse to dim my pride in my people. Through hell and high water, the rock and the hard place. I stand strong in my conviction, my battle cry that Black lives matter. It’s good to know that we have Korean and Korean diaspora allies standing next to us in this fight.
Here are some resources for those who want to stand with us in this fight. For those able bodied on the front lines. For those who might not be as capable to physically join the fray. Remember: be safe, be healthy, stay strong!