It was a casual Sunday morning in my small Minneapolis apartment, and I was desperately looking for something to watch. I opened my Youtube to watch literally anything interesting, and settled on the skits from SNL the night before. Little did I know I was in for a pleasant surprise, because the night before the K-Pop juggernauts BTS took to the stage as the musical act.
I will be the first to admit that I knew what K-Pop was and who BTS was, but was never remotely interested in finding out what they were about. I can admit now that it was just a personal bias because I knew a lot of BTS fanatics in real life, and I didn’t want to feed into the hype, but their two perfect SNL performances had me eating my words. I felt like I was let in on the world’s biggest secret. After watching both performances more times than I’d like to admit, I said aloud, “Ah, I get it now.”
I know I’m not the only person who felt standoffish toward K-Pop, and a lot of it just has to do with living in a western state of mind. I remember reading an article called “Can We Stop Pretending K-Pop is Popular?” completely disregarding K-Pop as an international phenomenon, pointing out how quickly the charts drop for these artists. Written in June of 2018, this article already sounds bitter and outdated.
BTS was the first K-Pop artist to be featured as a musical guest, debuting their new song “Boy With Luv” which features Halsey, an up and coming heavy hitter in the music industry. This goes along with their music video debut, which broke Youtube records by receiving the most views on a video in 24 hours, and also the fastest video to get 100 million views.
The Boys of BTS are not the only K-Pop stars breaking into the United States. The previous record for most Youtube views in 24 hours was held by BLACKPINK, an all girl K-Pop group that was recently featured in the 2019 Coachella line-up.
With all the attention on K-Pop groups, and an overall acceptance of the K-Pop genre into the US mainstream, the end is not in sight. BTS won two Billboard Awards, one for “Top Duo/Group” (a first for the group), and another for “Top Social Artist” for the 3rd year in a row. They shared the Social Artist category alongside two more well known K-Pop band nominees, EXO and GOT7.
As someone who just entered the K-Pop atmosphere, I feel like I have been let out of a small box, and I can now finally breathe. I’m excited to give these young talented artists a chance, simply because Pop music doesn’t always fit into a certain mold, and I hope others realize this.
The other day my boyfriend texted me to say he heard “Boy With Luv” by BTS on the radio, and I couldn’t help but smile.