K-Pop, or Korean Idol pop music, is a 5 billion dollar industry whose music, fashion, stars and lifestyle have taken the world by storm. But while K-Pop’s fanbase has diversified, most K-Pop idols haven’t – so what happens when white people try and become K-Pop idols themselves?
On this episode of ‘MINORITY REPORTS,’ VICE sent Lee Adams to Seoul, South Korea to meet EXP Edition, the world’s first non-Korean K-Pop group. The group’s 4 members – Koki Tomlinson, Frankie DaPonte, Hunter Kohl and Šime Košta – believe you don’t need to be Korean in order to do K-Pop. When they debuted, EXP Edition faced a lot of criticism from mostly non-Korean K-Pop fans, who claimed the group was misappropriating Korean culture. EXP Edition maintains this pushback happens to anyone trying to break into a new genre of music – but is the group going too far in their attempt to be K-Pop idols?
We explore the wildly popular world of K-Pop and raise questions of where the line is drawn between cultural appreciation vs cultural appropriation and who should actually draw it.