What I’m Diggin’ And What You Should Be Diggin’ Too! — Ear Worm Music Edition

Here’s the deal: I don’t listen to A LOT of new music. Why? Well, I have very particular tastes. While a lot of females will probably get hype in the club over some crunk, booty-poppin’ tune that just came out with absolutely no real lyrics and a hard beat, me… not so much. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being into that kind of music, but unless it’s become a giant ear worm, I can’t get into it.

However, as of late, there are a couple of songs that have been on my radar. And they’re MASSIVE ear worms (to me, anyhow). So much so, that I can’t stop playing them on repeat — which is a good and bad thing because I’ll probably listen to these songs until I became mentally and physically sick of them. Yeah, I know.

Continue reading

Video

Korea’s Got Alot of Seoul… And I’m Diggin’ It! [Music Videos]

Judging by the title of my entry, you can guess that this post is about *drum roll please* Korea (South Korea to be exact)!

I know, you’re probably looking at me like “Wait, you’re a black girl from the West Indies, living in Brooklyn, New York. What can you possibly know about Korea?” But guess what? I know I like their music and even a couple of their movies!

Thanks to modern-day inventions like the internet (and friends with things for cute Asian guys), I’ve been exposed to the wonderful world of K-Pop.

*Disclaimer* I do not presume to be an authority on K-Pop. In fact, I’m still a novice picking and choosing specific songs that catch my ear. With that being said, I will continue on.

A couple years ago, a young woman I’m pretty acquainted with named Elba (who is like a makeup extraordinaire) probably put me on to my first K-Pop song. It was Seung-Ri’s “VVIP.” The reason why I was interested in it? Because I saw a gif of him gyrating his hips on Tumblr and I was intrigued.

YES. I ADMIT IT, damn it! I wanted to see him shake his tush — I’m only human!?!

Anyway, after watching that video, I became even more interested in the Korean music scene. Now, one thing you must know about me is that I “fan girl” over things very quickly and pretty intensely. Once I have feelings about something, that’s it. I have those feelings until they die off, which sometimes happens almost as quickly as they begin (see: Alexander Skarsgard). Another thing you should know: I’m pretty open-minded. While most people would scoff at the notion of listening to music in a language they have NO KNOWLEDGE of, I instead took on the challenge.

Music is universal to me. You can ultimately know what a person is singing just by the tone, and the overall sound. Somber = sad, lamenting,  upbeat = happy, hopeful. It’s not freaking rocket science. Furthermore if Asians can sing along to Beyoncé and Jay Z without feeling any way about it, why can’t I jam to their music?! Another cool thing about K-Pop? Some of the songs feature English words. I guess that would mean they’re singing in KorEnglish, but I digress.

After putting me on to “VVIP,” Elba told me to try another song called “Strong, Baby” (which I fuggin’ LOVED) and then a bunch of tunes by Big Bang, which is the group Seung-Ri or “VI” sings in. She ALSO alerted me to the fact that actor Bi Rain from Ninja Assassinis also a Korean pop singer:

Naturally, I was all like “what?!” That makes no sense. Then I watched a couple of his performances…

and I was like…

“THAT BOY KNOWS HOW TO ROLL HIS HIPS!!!”

And he actually has a song about it.

So in learning ALL of this, I started my own self-paced study into the world of K-Pop. Now, I can bore with the TEDIOUS way in which some of these kids are basically taken from their homes to endure dance and vocal training for years because they can even release a single, but I won’t (but you can read about some of it in this Village Voice article). Instead, I’ll just show you a couple of the songs I’m all about right now.

I’m probably going to try and do this frequently, since I find a new song I like ever so often. So, first on today’s list:

3. Seung-Ri “VI” > “Gotta Talk To U”

Why? Because VI is just getting his sexy on. The suit, the hair, EVERYTHING just works. If I lived in Seoul, I’d throw my panties at him if I saw him on the street. Yes, I went there.

I just love the beat, the guitar at the beginning, the way he just smolders with those eyes…

and makes suggestive movements with his hips…

Yum. VI is proving that he’s all grown up and ready to do sexy bedroom things with the ladies. Plus, the music is dance friendly and the hard remix (at the end of the video) is definitely something I’d jam to at the club.

2. SiStar > Give It To Me

Why? Because I’m really loving Hyolyn (Hyorin?)’s voice. You probably don’t know who I’m talking about, so here’s what she looks like in the video:

She’s basically the main vocals in the chorus and this girl can saaaaaaang. You’re probably not hearing how great she is because you’re completely distracted by the fact that they’re all singing in Korean, but she’s definitely got a voice on her. Don’t believe me? Listen to her sing Beyoncé’s “Halo.” I’ll wait.


Also the song’s just sexy. You kinda just want to give them, whatever “it” is after their sultry begging.

Hyolyn’s actually got this single out now called “One Way Love” that is growing on me. I’ll probably mention in my next K-Pop post…

1. CL > “The Baddest Female”

Why? One, because CL (the lead singer of K-Pop band 2NE1) is an all-around bad ass. This chick has so much swag in this video, I can’t stand it. Her style is amaze balls (which is why she’s fashion designer Jeremy Scott’s muse) and she’s rocking gold fronts with fanged canines like nobody’s business.

Two, I’m IN LOVE with the choreography. As simple as it looks, it’s clean, funky, and makes you want to dance. I dare anyone of you to pick it up, and do it justice.


And besides that, CL’s rapping is cool, I like the flow, and the chorus is easy enough that I can sing along.

All in all, CL is just #werqing it for me. Get it girl!

These are probably the three songs that have been getting the most play on my MP3 player this week, but not the only songs I’m on to. I’ve got a couple other tracks from G-Dragon, Big Bang, 2NE1, Jay Park etc. that I listen to. I’ll let you know which ones are in rotation in my next installment.

As I mentioned before, I’m am NO authority on K-Pop, so I don’t know what’s the latest in music game until it’s too late. So if you’d like to school me on some songs I should be on, feel free to hit a girl up and tell her what’s good!

Con Amor

Xhibit P: THE POP-UP: 2011-13-09

THE POP-UP: 2011-13-09

By 

Hollywood moves fast, so we keep the pace for you. “The Pop Up” brings you the latest news happening in pop culture, to keep you up to speed in your daily conversations. We weed out the wackness, and deliver quality links that will make you the go-to person for the inside scoop.
Today marks the 15th anniversary of the death of rap legend 2-Pac. Recently, hip-hop group and friends of Tupac The Outlawzdeclared they they actually smoked some of his ashes in a blunt, as it was a ‘request’ made by Tupac Amaru Shakur in the song “Black Jesus”: ’Last wishes, n—-s smoke my ashes.’ Outlawz member E.D.I. said “that was a request that he had. Now, how serious he was about it? We took it serious.” Check the video here for further details. Well, if you can’t remember him with a blunt, check out2pac.com, the official site of the Shakur Estate. From September 13 – 18, the site will be featuring articles about the rapper’s work, a vid about his life and music.
In case you missed it, Leila Lopes of Angola was crowned Ms. Universe 2011! The 25-year-old beauty beat out 88 other competitors for the coveted crown in the wold’s largest beauty pageant. Audience members in Sao Paulo, Brazil all remarked that she deserved win, despite beating their country’s representative and that she had them when she spoke in their common language of Portuguese, answered her questions with the best possible answers and dazzled them with her smile. Leila is the fourth African winner of the Ms. Universe pageant.
In an ironic twist in fashion week, designer John Galliano was found guilty of his anti-Semitic rants in Paris and has been given suspended fines of 6,000 euros ($8,400). The remarks came about two separate incidents occurring in February of this year and October of 2010. The designer, who was prompted fired by Dior for his arrest on the matter, is adamant that he is not racist and that the remarks were the result of both his alcohol and drug dependency due to his ‘stressful job.’

Xhibit P: WHAT WOULD THEY SAY: MAD MEN’S DON DRAPER SELLS AMERICAN DREAMS

WHAT WOULD THEY SAY: MAD MEN’S DON DRAPER SELLS AMERICAN DREAMS

By 
Written By Afiya Augustine

What’s better than having a juicy conversation on the latest pop culture happenings? Listening to your favorite pop culture characters have a conversation about it! In the WWTS blog series, we re-imagine pop culture through the eyes of your favorite characters in movies, television and more.
This week, Don Draper from the hit series Mad Men delivers one of his Draper-esque monologues on remembering 9-11.
Don Draper: This Sunday will be September-11th, a day that is to be remembered in American History as one of the greatest terrorist attacks on American soil. Now let’s put aside for a moment all the conspiracy theories and government faults that many have complained about for a minute because this even is bigger than an individual person. We have to remember first, that we are Americans, and that and we pride ourselves on the values that we’ve created for all those who walk on this country soil. It’s not about how strike fear into the Islamic communities that shook the nation with its heinous act; it’s about how we can be better ourselves as Americans and glorify what it means to be a proud American. What it means to be a confident citizen of a country built on our strength and courage.
We must look at our children, growing up in an ever-changing world and maintain that sense of innocence and nostalgia that we held dear before the towers fell. We should help them to grow up with the all-American vision in mind. They should not feel that they should cower in fear, but rather walk with their heads held high because they did nothing wrong but live a life that can only be defined as the American dream.
This will be a time to look back on of all the 9-11 workers who risked their lives for this country. They felt their sense of Americanism flowing through their veins and gave up their lives to keep that blood pumping…going. We have to their memory alive and keep the values that they had in them very much a part of us. And as for the fear mongers- let them know that on Sunday, we will not look back and remember the fear that these terrorists set into us, but rather the bravery that they unlocked within us all.
Peggy Olsen: Wow Don…that was beautiful.
Don: I know. But I’m just speaking from my heart here…
Betty Francis: I didn’t know you had one of those Don…
Pete Campbell: Good job selling America, Don. Who are we pitching this one to again?

Xhibit P: THE POP UP: 2011-01-09

THE POP UP: 2011-01-09

By 

Hollywood moves fast, so we keep the pace for you. “The Pop Up” brings you the latest news happening in pop culture, to keep you up to speed in your daily conversations. We weed out the wackness, and deliver quality links that will make you the go-to person for the inside scoop.
WRITTEN BY AFIYA AUGUSTINE
In recent news, Mother Monster Lady Gaga has pledged her allegiance to MACcosmetics for another year as a spokesperson for the M.A.C AIDs Fund.The fund’s mission is to serve all those who are affected by HIV and AIDs regardless of race, age or gender. Its international goals include raising awareness, providing preventative care as well research in hopes of someday fighting the disease. Lady Gaga has taken the post as the leading lady for next year’s campaign. With her grandiose image and interest in the fund, hopefully sales will come pouring in for the VIVA GLAM collection. All proceeds of sales of VIVA GLAM lipstick and lipglass will go to the MAC AIDs Fund. Find out how you can give atwww.macaidsfund.org
Do you remember famed ‘90’s super hero “Captain Planet?” Well, last month it was announced that Cartoon Network and ‘Transformers’ producers Don Murphy and Susan Montford have plans on transforming our famed ‘eco-friendly’  cartoon hero into a live-action movie.  It seems, however, that FunnyOrDie has their own take on what a live-action Captain Planet should be like with this hilarious skit featuring Oscar nominee Don Cheadle as ‘green’ crusader. The video went viral yesterday as the world was introduced to a grittier and over-powered lean, mean, cleaning machine.
Click the link to see this off-the-wall video yourself:http://FunnyOrDie.com/m/60wj
If you’re a Dancing with the Stars fan, then you know that as of this week the show has unveiled its line-up including former talk-show host Ricki Lake, reality star Rob Kardashian and actor David Arquette.
While we all thought thi s would be a mediocre season with the list of less-than-thrilling ‘celebs,’ one member has thrown many families for a loop- Chaz Bono. If you can recall Chaz Bono, only child of Cher and Sonny Bono was born genetically female and had a sex-change operation to become male. Many families are in uproar over the show’s decision to have a member of the LGBT community star in a “family-oriented” show. While Chaz’s cast mates and celeb mom Cher tweet their support, the public is spewing tons of hate, some going so far as to calling it an “abomination.” Looks like the show just make have a little spice to it this season after all…
You might also like:

Xhibit P: WHAT WOULD THEY SAY: CLUELESS CREW ON BERNANKE & THE ECONOMY

WHAT WOULD THEY SAY: CLUELESS CREW ON BERNANKE & THE ECONOMY

By 
Written By Afiya Augustine

What’s better than having a juicy conversation on the latest pop culture happenings? Listening to your favorite pop culture characters have a conversation about it! In the WWTS blog series, we re-imagine pop culture through the eyes of your favorite characters in movies, television and more.

This week, Afiya imagines what the crew of cult-classic 
Clueless would say about Ben Bernanke’s speech last Friday on the state of the economy and debt. Like, as if!

Cher and Dionne
Cher Horowitz: So I heard in Ms. Geist class about how the economy was out of a recession, and that this Bernanke guy starts talking about something and it’s like everyone’s going crazy and wants to invest.
Dionne: I know! I mean, my dad even said that he would invest his money in some other country’s money and I’m like…are you kidding me?
Cher: I know right? Who better to invest in, than like your own daughter?! I mean, you’ve been begging him to expand your closet…just because the economy is in a slump, doesn’t mean your wardrobe should be.
Josh: Oh my god, I think ladies need to not talk about matters like this, especially when you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Tai: That Bernanke guy is like such a Baldwin.
Cher to Tai: Ick, Tai as if. He’s totally a Monet. Now president Obama, he’s kind of a Baldwin…being old and the president and stuff…you know?

Josh
Josh: Do you guys have any clue what this recession has done to the thousands of people in this country?
Amber: All I know is that it’s made my parents buy me a Fendi purse instead of the Louis Vuittone mini clutch that I wanted for my birthday.
Dionne to Amber: No sweetie, that’s because your mother probably lifted it off of Kim Kardashian at her wedding
Amber to Dionne: Whatever…
Cher: I mean really Amber… we all know that your mom has been in celeb rehab for her uncontrollable urge to shoplift
Josh: Please everyone, can we get our heads out of the mall for a minute and think seriously about the ramifications of the federal reserves’ actions are on this country?!
Cher: I mean really Josh, you act like we don’t care about the current state of the country?!
Josh: Well you obviously don’t, talking about brand named handbags. You’re only contributions to the working world is having immigrant housekeepers and landscapers.

Amber
Cher: Listen we all love Lupe okay?! And don’t act like you don’t love it when she makes those sandwiches when you stop by! All I know is that daddy said that the economy is still in distress despite what they say and that we should just buckle down even it’s not like…really affecting us.
Josh: So…what are you going to do?
Cher: I’ve decided for this week, I’ll shop at the Gap instead of Banana Republic.

Tai
Dionne: You see Josh, she’s always thinking of others. She’s like the Mother Theresa of L.A.
You might also like:

Xhibit P: My Guilty Pop Pleasure: 80’s Music

MY GUILTY POP PLEASURE: 80S MUSIC

By 
Written By: Afiya Augustine

Your browser may not support display of this image.To continue on the theme of “music,” I will admit to a guilty pop pleasure that I’ve gotten (and still get) a lot of slack for from family members, friends and even a few co-workers. So here it is:  I absolutely, without a doubt, love 80’s Pop. And I don’t mean the classics that artists like Michael Jackson, Prince, or Whitney Houston turned out in the decade of my birth that everyone in the world knows and has on their iPods for good measure. I also don’t mean that I listen to these songs ever so often. When I say I love 80’s Pop, I’m saying that I listen to it maybe every day, as much as I possibly can and actually actively search for more songs to upload to my mp3 player.
I love everything about 80’s pop and sometimes curse my mother for not having me sooner than she did so I could’ve been alive and functioning in the 80’s to hear all this music first hand (though I doubt that would’ve happened, living in the West Indies and all…). I listen to the hits of known legends like Joan Jet and the Blackhearts, Bon Jovi and then the more obscure bands like English Beat (who’s hit ‘Tenderness’ is the end song for the movie ‘Clueless’), Whitesnake, Haircut 100, Psychedelic Furs, Kajagoogoo and the list goes on… 
The problem that lies with my great love of 80’s pop (in all its glorious aged beauty) is that I live in 2011. Music has made brilliant strides with regards to technology and sound since the 80’s and the 80’s definitely had its share of setbacks.  Most notably, the era of bad hair movements including dripping jerry curls, and super teased mountain volume. Having no color coordination was all the rage, and wearing dresses with shoulder pads, puffy shoulders and tacky bubble dresses made of a fabric that makes me cringe at the sound of it. The AIDs and crack epidemic made its break into the world and people were living in over-indulgent lifestyles.
And of course, in the year 2011, 80’s Pop isn’t relevant unless someone does a cover of it (enter Rihanna’s sampling of ‘Tainted Love’ and Flo Rida’s ‘Right Round’  cover/sample of Dead or Alive’s mega hit). 
You can imagine the stares and weird faces I get when I’m driving to the supermarket and I’m blasting Billy Ocean’s ‘Suddenly’ of DeBarge’s ‘All This Love’ with the windows down. According to society, only those who were old enough to appreciate said music should be reveling in its magic, not a 20-something like me who was still on breast-milk when these songs were in their prime. But guess what? I honestly don’t care much for music generated for my generation. Most of today’s rap songs are bragging rights and some of the pop songs of the last five years or so have become billboard ads for gregarious lifestyles that I can’t afford. It’s over-sexed and over priced and I’m not impressed. Popular music now is literally a popularity contest and I’m only interested if a beat or instrumental composition is audibly entertaining. Other than that, I can care less.
I appreciate 80’s Pop for the fun and funky lyrics. Granted, some of it didn’t make much sense, but the focus was on the music and the people it was reaching out to, without a deep-rooted agenda to push something. And as for the music videos, they all told stories…which is something dozen of artists have forgotten to do when releasing singles these days. When I watch Lionel Richie’s  ‘Hello,’ I’m not only singing along but seeing his confusion to get the girl he wants with just the simple start of the word ‘hello.’  And while people make fun of the hair, style and the (in my opinion AWESOME) music, it is all relevant. As “corny, lame and aged” the 80’s may seem, the style is definitely making a reappearance in fashion and some of the songs are coming back with new (albeit not that much better) covers in the current day. I don’t care what anyone says, 80’s pop music is le best.

Xhibit P: WHAT WOULD THEY SAY: TRUE BLOOD GALS GAB ON KARDASHIAN WEDDING

WHAT WOULD THEY SAY: TRUE BLOOD GALS GAB ON KARDASHIAN WEDDING

By 
Written By Afiya Augustine

What’s better than having a juicy conversation on the latest pop culture happenings? Listening to your favorite pop culture characters have a conversation about it! In the WWTS blog series, we re-imagine pop culture through the eyes of your favorite characters in movies, television and more.
This week, Afiya imagines what our favorite leading ladies and resident fabulous gay character from the hit HBO Show “True Blood,” thoughts were on the matter of Kim Kardashian’s recent wedding.
Sookie Stackhouse: I for one think it’s great, even amazing that people are able to find love and feel it so quickly. I just don’t agree with her making her life public like that…I mean I wouldn’t. But, I wish her the best of luck.
Tara Thorton: That shit ain’t gonna last longer than a snowball in hell.
Sookie to Tara: Tara, you shouldn’t say such things.
Lafayette Reynolds: Please Sook, you know Tara’s just jealous. If I found me a rich man who wanted to marry me after a few days and all I did for a living wasmaking a sex tape and selling my plastic body, honey I’d marry that in a heartbeat. Go on hooker!
Jessica Hamby: I think it’s sweet and all that she got married. I mean, I dreamt of getting married to get away from my daddy…but he didn’t even like me talking to boys. I don’t like my daddy…
Tara: He married her to get on that show. I hope it gets cancelled.
Pam De Beaufort: I can say that I without a doubt don’t give a fuck.
Sookie to Pam: Come on Pam. Tell us what you really think…
Pam: I don’t like weddings. But I wouldn’t mind seeing what she tastes like.
Arlene Fowler: I love weddings.
Tara: You should…you’ve been married so many times…
Arlene: Excuse me Tara?
Lafayette to Arlene: Don’t bother with Tara, she’s just jealous … but how many times have you been married Arlene?
Arlene: What does it matter! I’m married now and love my Terry Bellefleur.
Sookie: I wish them the best.
Arlene: Me too.
Tara: Whatever.
Do you have a WWTS conversation that you’d like read next? Let us know!

Xhibit P: Arrested Development: Cartoons, Modeling and Pole Dancing

WRITTEN BY AFIYA AUGUSTINE

When we were in school, we had to get our pop culture from the radio and magazines. These young whipper snappers nowadays have the darn interweb and Tweeter! The times are sure changing, but that doesn’t mean that youth and innocence need to move as quickly! With Arrested Development we bring you the worst of kids in pop…

The Parent Television Council has a new study showing that there’s “an unreasonable amount of adult-oriented content in animated programming.” The article (which you can findhere), states that the Parent Television Council has come to this conclusion after a study of “what kids today are watching most” – and by that, they really mean ‘ the highest rated primetime shows for children ages 12-17.” This basically funnels down to shows such as “Family Guy,” “American Dad,” and other such shows on the late-night programming of ‘Adult Swim’ on Cartoon Network.

Bottom-line: television has significantly changed since my youth, and I was born in the late 20th century. Shows like Gargoyles, Chip ‘n’ Dales, and Tales Spin dominated my hours afterschool. These days, cartoons have progressed into being cheeky and over-the-top however they do not come without warning labels. At the end of the day, television shows are going to be what the producers and writers make them, and they will air despite what parents think, so parents—monitor your kids.

This issue gets an XP for being an issue that we’ve heard time and time again and won’t change unless we can completely change television.

The French press has been going crazy of the “creepy and vey adult-styled” photographs of Thylane Loubry. The child’s mother, who the French media portrays as a media whore, says that it’s unfair for the public to give such negative focus on her child. The ten-year-old model has been featured in Vogue Paris wearing very adult clothing, styled like a 1980’s super-model. In addition to that, there are topless and nude photos of Thylane circulating the web, which has furthered the press’ outrage at how far fashion can go and the parents that allow it. In addition to this, it’s hit news that French lingerie brand Jours Après Lunes is the first of it’s kind with it’s new brand of clothing: lingerie for children ages four to 12. Don’t believe me? Just check the article here.

Bottom-line: while the media is going on about how disgusting it is for this little girl to be seen in nude photos, the article makes a point of the same attention not being placed on girls two or three years older than her who walk the runway in see-through chiffon blouses in five-inch heels. Is it only outrageous because this girl is pre-pubescent? What about all the young girls in shows like Tots & Tiaras who are painted and plucked and still have yet to lose their baby teeth? The real attention shouldn’t be solely on the absurdity of nude photos but the raping of innocence of these children. The parents are the only ones gaining from this and the children are losing BIG TIME. Furthermore, the notion of lingerie meant for women to feel sexy as well as create a pleasing silhouette for the one she will be intimate with, is now an option for young girls who aren’t even developed yet is preposterous. Not only is it a waste of fabric, it’s another ploy to rob parents of money and make their children feel older than they are.

This issue gets a XXXP for being too ingrained in the media without enough emphasis on the ramifications of over-sexing children, and the effects it’ll have on the welfare of these children when they become adults.

Last but not least, some parents and elected officials in northwest England are “outraged” after seeing released photos on facebook of students from a fitness club offering pole classes to girls as young as seven. While the parents of the participants aren’t upset, a spokesman for Mother’s Union was quoted that the “children are being targeted with an activity that’s part of a male club culture which objectifies women.” The fitness club states that it’s just like a gymnastic class and the children are taught nothing erotic (see original article here).

Bottom-line: Unlike the other more dire issue above, this one is pretty tame. These girls are learning how to do acrobatics on a pole, much like the way we swung around poles on streets in our innocence and youth. Pole dancing has come a LONG WAY since I first heard of it, and it’s become another fitness crave like so many other ‘non-conventional’ fitness outlets. The fact that this women’s group view this class as a way for girls to enter the “exotic dancing profession,” is kind of a stretch. No one is teaching these girls to “take it off,” bend over and shake their “money makers.” I’ve seen some professional pole dancers, not exotic dancers and these people (male and female) are exquisite, having complete control over their bodies and massive strength. I don’t see anything wrong with some of these girls learning age-appropriate core strengthening moves, especially if the class it tailored for it.

This issue gets an XP for being a little over-reaching. I didn’t think playing on a pole meant I would be a stripper and so these ladies shouldn’t think the same for these girls. I understand some of the concerns, but I wonder if the fitness center named the class “Vertical Gymnastic Fitness,” if it would be so bad. Not to mention, if you don’t like what you see your kid doing, you can pull them out the class, plain and simple.

Xhibit P: My Guilty Pop Pleasure: K-Pop

My Guilty Pop Pleasure: K-Pop

WRITTEN BY AFIYA AUGUSTINE
“My Guilty Pop Pleasure” is an ongoing effort on the XHIBIT P blog to openly address some of the internal conflicts and contradictions that we often feel towards our love for pop culture. If you’d like to be a guest contributor, please contact us.

K-Pop boy band, BIGBANG

That’s right, you read correctly. My guilty pop pleasure is Korean Pop, otherwise known as K-Pop. Now looking at me – a black girl from the West Indies, raised in the notorious rap borough of Brooklyn- you would not think that I would have a thing for music from another part of the world, in another language no less, but I do. I’ll tell you how it all started: one night while watching a mini-marathon of Degrassi (another guilty pleasure for another time) on the N, I stumbled upon the music video for K-Pop Princess BoA. The name of the song was “Eat You Up,” and I was immediately intrigued. She could sing, dance and had style. After a while, however, she disappeared and I have yet to see the video on T.V. again.
BoA “Eat You Up” video:
Months later I stumbled on a copy of The Village Voice, with Jin Young Park, a mega mogul in the Korean entertainment industry on the cover. I have to tell you, I was excited to see this, as I was intrigued by BoA and I wanted to learn more about the culture of K-Pop. The article talked about him trying to launch some of his artists in the states and hoping that he could get them to cross-over into the American music industry. I found his intentions commendable, but I wasn’t too happy with some of the training methods that were going down. It seemed to me that these artists were being manufactured as Asian Hip-Hop knock offs, trained by hip-hop choreographers and enduring singing lessons requiring them to learn English and listen to nothing but Beyonce, Usher, Mariah, Alicia Keys and Keisha Cole. When I told my friends about this, some of them were not pleased.
“Can’t we have something that is genuinely ours?” They demanded. One girl said that she detested the fact that artists feel the need to use hip-hop and R&B culture as a means to break into the industry, using “I can’t stand when [non-blacks] use what is typified as ‘black music,’ to get ahead. These Asians are doing the same thing.” While I tried to tell her that music knows no boundaries, I had to admit that she had a point. I watched videos of some boy bands singing Boys II Men, wearing baggy pants with backward caps, rapping Jay-Z and it left a jarring taste in the mouth.
Years later while mindlessly going through my tumblr dashboard, a girl I knew had a video of a Korean guy dancing. I asked who it was and she (being the K-Pop junkie that she is) pointed me in the right direction, full on with band names, music videos, and some of her favorite songs. And I must admit that while I felt like I was looking at hip-hop through an altered mirror, I found that I couldn’t help but enjoy it. The lyrics (mostly in Korean) are tamer than anything that’s being produced in Hip-hop and R&R at the moment and the beats are infectious. When I walk home from work listening to it on my MP3 player, all I hear and feel is the music. And while they do “borrow” a lot of Hip-Hop and R&B to draw in audience and influence listeners, one thing I HAVE to stress is that they’ve embraced something outside of their own (as I’ve been told) rigid culture and made it their own. I now find it a compliment that Koreans look to ‘black’ music culture and want to be a part of it. Groups like 2NE1 and BigBang have taken elements of hip-hop culture along with other pop culture elements and have dominated the pop charts in Korea and quite a few slots in my MP3 player.