Two years ago, Korean rapper PSY’s “Gangnam Style” came to America, his song being played in stations everywhere (including at a club rush at my high school), and now love for K-pop in America has been increasing. How could this happen when just recently, Asian Americans are finally getting recognition in the entertainment industry? For this project, I will explore what American fans find appealing in K-pop even though there are cultural and language barriers, and how K-pop impacts their lives.
The people who will be involved are my non-Korean friends who are K-pop fans. I will interview them on how K-pop was introduced to them, how they became fans, and how it impacts them. Hopefully, I will be able to interview some K-pop YouTubers about how they started to love K-pop, such as JREKML and MRJKPOP. Also, I’m thinking about interviewing a friend named Elaine Cumming who works for soompi, an online website that updates news for the international fans.
The main location will be the Bay Area, specifically Berkeley and San Francisco (and possibly Los Angeles). San Francisco and Los Angeles are where K-pop artists come to hold their fan meetings and concerts at.
My project is about a pop culture that’s been rising in America. K-pop culture is rather different than the pop culture in America, which I will be exploring more through this project. Being dedicated fans of K-pop, many different opportunities would open up for them. They can build a close-knit community within a fan club and create other services. Some would be daring enough to actually go study at a Korean university.
K-pop first spread out to Japan and China and other neighboring Asian countries. It actually all started out with the popularity from Korean dramas. After drama fans saw some K-pop artists acting in the dramas, they would look up who they are as singers. Then, eventually K-pop spread to Europe and America. K-pop actually has been in America even before 2013, before the “Gangnam Style.” Rain, a solo K-pop artist, held concerts in New York City and Las Vegas back in 2006. And the first girl group to be listed on Billboard Hot 100 singles chart was Wonder Girls in 2009. Also, in 2012, a convention for K-pop fans called KCON began. Since then, KCON has been growing. They will have one this year in July at the Staples Center this time.
My key audience for this project would be those who don’t know much about the K-pop culture. It is growing in America and can be all around them.
I will interview my non-Korean friends who are K-pop fans and ask how they see the K-pop culture as fans and also as fans from America. I will even go to some events where many K-pop fans will gather and interview them as well.
I’ve always been curious how my non-Korean friends would feel. Would they experience culture clashes with the Korean culture? And how do they find the K-pop groups appealing? Does this growing popularity of K-pop in America also mean that Americans are slowly being more open to other cultures in the entertainment industry? This issue about Americans needing to accept more Asian American stars in the entertainment industry (not portrayed as the typical Asian stereotypes), so this topic would be relatable.
I’m still not sure of where the story of the project will be going as of yet. What I am picturing though is that my friends would show how they would relate to the music and how the music help them through tough times, despite the language barrier. There is a community that they feel they belong to, as they meet with other K-pop fans.