TL;DR YG Entertainment‘s CEO is not the sole reason for Lee Chaerin‘s delayed progress as a solo act. Ever since her performance at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics closing ceremony, I’ve had a desire to shout this from my apartment rooftop in Daegu.

My ultimate female bias in the world of Korean music is feeling the emotional and creative suffocation. It’s undeniable — just look at the things she is posting on her Instagram account. And Scooter Braun‘s not holding her back due to a lack of demand or a lack of talent. No, the world fell in on CL because of how Woke many consumers became after we went off on Iggy Azalea.

Let’s go back a bit.

The year 2012 was huge for YG Entertainment’s sole girl group, 2NE1. While the ladies basked in the joy of their tour and recent releases, fans outside of South Korea were watching the developments of a new civil rights movement. For American minorities and those who keep up with global news, the flip of a young man’s hoodie sparked an outcry that ignited our nation. The accessibility and speed at which heartwrenching news was available via social media were dizzying for many. More people became socially conscious and determined to make positive changes in society. Discussions increased about cultural misappropriation, reclaiming ethnic identity and then … and then, there was “Fancy” (2014).

CL for Elle Magazine, May 2016

Now wait, before you open up the second tab on your browser to “at” me on social media to criticize my thoughts, I am not pointing all blame on one Australian artist who was molded to be a caricature of American southern trap culture. (That’s another story for another day, and I would not be the first to tell it.) However, I am saying that an artist was derailed by the necessity of cultural awareness. I ain’t even mad about it.

Being a woke pop culture consumer can lead to contending with internal and external forces. Old mindsets and habits begin to evolve — sometimes rather uncomfortably — into new ways of thinking. It honestly takes time to get from the Point A one’s always known of to Point B. This, I believe, is the strategy that CL’s management used in their favor.

This isn’t the only area where she’s blocked, though. Last month, she was scheduled to perform at The Cry, which was cancelled for reasons I still don’t know of. And although she appeared on Vogue’s YouTube channel recently, she is stuck riding the down force of a wave that took long to build.

Maybe the long wait will prove to be worthwhile in the long run? Perhaps the thrill is gone, thanks to the demand for more of a seven-member boy band. Either way, as many issues that one can have with YG Entertainment, this one isn’t fully on its CEO’s back.

(Channel Korea, Billboard, Instagram, The Guardian, Vogue.)

1 Comment »

  1. It’s been about 10 years since Se7en tried to slide his way into American Market. He aligned himself with various artist in the same way CL did. Lil’ Kim, Fabolous and 3 6 Mafia. He moved here to experience the culture. Teamed up with american musicians and managed to spur talks with R&b/Hip hop community. His music video premiering on Bet’s 108 and Park.

    I assumed that they were making similar moves with CL. Then thought, YG was struggling with marketing her the right way. They weren’t quite sure how to market her because she was essentially a pop star and they couldn’t really approach the way they did with Se7en. Running with her “bad girl persona” wouldn’t appear believable here.

    Maybe you’re right. The woke movement could be part of it. But I’m convinced that, YG just doesn’t have a best interest at heart. They would rather self her then let her spread her wings. But either way, I think her time has passed.

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