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  • - On June 20th, 2020 in Tulsa, Oklahoma,

  • at his very first campaign rally in almost four months,

  • Donald Trump and his staff stared out,

  • into a half empty arena in shock and horror.

  • While there were a variety of valid factors,

  • that could account for the humiliating rows of empty seats,

  • most commentators attributed the abysmal rally turnout,

  • to an unlikely culprit,

  • K-pop stans.

  • Some have been baffled by yet another plot was to 2020,

  • in which an army of fans have become anonymous 2.0.

  • But if you've been paying attention,

  • the rise of K-pop fandoms,

  • as an unstoppable force for social activism,

  • is less surprising than it may seem.

  • (air whooshing)

  • Many attribute K-pop's origin to the three person group,

  • Seo-Taiji and Boys,

  • who performed on live TV as part of a talent competition,

  • in 1992.

  • After their appearance,

  • they became a sensation in South Korea.

  • Propelling forward a commercial agenda,

  • of homegrown Korean talent.

  • In the early 2000s,

  • K-pop artists gained popularity in countries like,

  • Japan, China, and Taiwan.

  • And by 2009 Wonder Girls became the first K-pop artists,

  • to make it on the billboard hot 100.

  • However, most credit size 2012 novelty hit "Gangnam Style",

  • as the first actual break into the American mainstream.

  • That same year, Kye Kyoungbon Koo,

  • director of the Korea Creative Content Agency,

  • described the growing phenomenon saying,

  • "YouTube has really changed the awareness of K-pop.

  • "Both American kids,

  • "and second generation Korean-American kids,

  • "are discovering it."

  • By nature,

  • the global community of K-pop fans,

  • was created by the internet, to exist on the internet,

  • and it's still their best tool to connect.

  • Despite the fact that,

  • K-pop artists don't get much radio playing,

  • their popularity in the US,

  • has continued to grow due to social media and streaming.

  • Eventually, the music industry,

  • could not ignore the viral potential,

  • of including K-pop acts, in events like award shows.

  • BTS became the first Korean group,

  • to perform at the American Music Award show in 2017.

  • By 2018, they returned to the show,

  • winning the favorite social artists,

  • on top of also winning the top social artist award,

  • at the Billboard Music Awards that year.

  • By 2019, BTS won three AMAs,

  • and came home with the second most awards of the night.

  • Today, the K-pop industry is estimated,

  • to be worth over $5 billion globally,

  • and bands sell arenas around the world, in minutes.

  • And the industry only continues to grow,

  • as K-pop artists collaborate,

  • with even more popular US musicians,

  • creating crossover amongst fan bases.

  • And while fandom is nothing new,

  • K-pop fans have perhaps surpassed

  • the devotion of any other in the past.

  • Many experts attribute the first modern fandom,

  • to the popularity of Arthur Conan Doyle's character,

  • Sherlock Holmes.

  • When Holmes was killed off,

  • in a short story in December, 1893,

  • as many as 20,000 readers canceled their subscriptions,

  • even more wrote letters to the publisher,

  • voicing their outrage.

  • Eight years later,

  • after continued pressure from the public and his publishers,

  • Doyle brought Holmes back,

  • in the form of his infamous prequel,

  • "The Hound of the Baskervilles".

  • He followed that up with a new series of short stories,

  • called the return of Sherlock Holmes,

  • which brought the character back to life, for good.

  • K-pop fans have since evolved,

  • to become the greatest marketing force,

  • behind their favorite bands.

  • Not only organizing promotion across social media,

  • but they even buyout billboards themselves,

  • taking over,

  • some of the most expensive advertising real estate,

  • Times Square.

  • However,

  • fandoms don't just work together to promote their idols.

  • They also do charity work,

  • funding many projects around the world.

  • Dating back to at least 20 years ago,

  • Korean idols have encouraged fans to not send gifts,

  • and instead give their money and energy to charities.

  • Their loyal fans follow perfect orders,

  • sparking the community's involvement,

  • with social activism.

  • 20 years later, that spirit remains, but it has evolved,

  • into a deft force of community organizing.

  • They overpower award shows,

  • especially those that require fan participation like voting,

  • and sharing wins for their beloved artists.

  • With scientific precision,

  • they learn to use algorithms to their advantage,

  • and pump social media with hashtags,

  • to make sure their favorites are always trending.

  • Typically, K-pop fandoms deliberately make hashtags trend,

  • to hype new music releases.

  • In 2019, Blackpink,

  • were the female K-pop group to perform at Coachella,

  • and the band has a huge following.

  • On May 28th, 2020,

  • just three days after George Floyd was killed,

  • Lady Gaga released her newest album, Chromatica,

  • featuring a most anticipated collaboration with Blackpink,

  • called sour candy.

  • While many were excited for the release,

  • increasing the group's mainstream exposure,

  • instead Blackpink fans,

  • united to stop #sourcandy from trending,

  • helping #blacklivesmatter to remain centered and trending.

  • This would give way to a series of hashtag takeovers.

  • K-pop fans also infiltrated hashtags like,

  • #whitelivesmatter, #bluelivesmatter and #whiteoutwednesday,

  • in an effort to make it more difficult,

  • for white supremacists and sympathizers,

  • to promote their agenda and find one another.

  • Just a few days later,

  • K-pop activists struck again.

  • On May 30th,

  • the Dallas Police Department announced on Twitter,

  • that people would report illegal activity,

  • from the protest, using their iWatch Dallas app.

  • In response, K-pop stans organized to spam the app,

  • with fan cams or short clips of K-pop performances,

  • which historically, K-pop fans used to spam Twitter.

  • Calls to action included tweets like,

  • "Download the app and (beep) flood that (beep),

  • "with fan cams, make it so hard for them,

  • "to find anything besides our faves dancing."

  • And May 31st, the app was temporarily shut down.

  • Though the police department did not comment,

  • on what caused the app to shut down.

  • Which brings us to June 4th, 2020,

  • the day BTS tweeted out their solidarity,

  • with the Black Lives Matter Movement, stating,

  • "We stand against racial discrimination.

  • "We condemn violence.

  • "You, I, and we, all have the right to be respected.

  • "We will stand together,"

  • adding at the end, #blacklivesmatter.

  • Later this week,

  • BTS and the record label donated $1 million,

  • directly to the organization.

  • Kailee Scales, BLM's managing director,

  • said on their contribution,

  • "Black people all over the world are in pain at this moment,

  • "from the trauma of centuries of oppression.

  • "We are moved by the generosity of BTS and allies,

  • "all over the world who stand in solidarity,

  • "in the fight for black lives."

  • Moreover, in response, K-pop devotees,

  • announced that they had raised an additional $1 million,

  • to the organization to match BTS' donation.

  • We told you the BTS Army does not play.

  • Emboldened then by the momentum of activism,

  • and their favorite idol standing in solidarity,

  • K-pop stans decided to take on, Donald Trump.

  • When Trump's presidential campaign posted a tweet,

  • inviting supporters to register for free tickets,

  • to the Tulsa rally,

  • K-pop stans co-opted the link,

  • realizing that you could reserve seats and not show up.

  • Spreading the word through social media,

  • their message ultimately went viral on several platforms,

  • including tiktok.

  • Mary Jo Laupp, from Fort Dodge, Iowa,

  • posted a tiktok on the subject,

  • receiving 700,000 likes and over 2 million views,

  • and she believes that at least 17,000 tickets were reserved,

  • based on the comments she received.

  • Many users deleted their posts within 24 to 48 hours,

  • hoping to keep the Trump campaign in the dark.

  • And obviously it worked,

  • as the campaign was astounded that,

  • their anticipated crowd of a hundred thousand supporters,

  • couldn't even fill the 19,000 seat arena.

  • YouTuber Elijah Daniel who participated in the prank,

  • said of the social media activism,

  • "These kids are smart and they thought of everything."

  • And when he calls them kids, he isn't hyperbolizing.

  • Tiktok's largest demographic are 13 to 17 year olds,

  • a group that can't vote,

  • but are making their civic voices heard regardless.

  • But the K-pop community is far from perfect,

  • and as a group, there's still learning, growing,

  • and coming to terms with their own inherent racism.

  • In 2018, racism within the BTS Army came to light,

  • as black members spoke out about their harassment,

  • and erasure, they experienced.

  • Using hashtags like #BlackARMYsEquality,

  • and #BlackARMYsMatter.

  • Moreover, K-pop idols are often critiqued for appropriation,

  • and even more insidious examples of racism like black face.

  • Though, often cultural commentators,

  • say there's a learning curve,

  • when it comes to handling race,

  • outside of Korea's largely homogenous culture.

  • However, in an increasingly globalized world,

  • excuses of ignorance are increasingly weak.

  • Profiting from black culture without honoring the history,

  • or giving due credit to black artists,

  • is no longer excusable.

  • K-pop star CL,

  • wrote on Instagram of the black lives matter movement.

  • "Artists, directors, writers, dancers,

  • "designers, producers, stylists, and the K-pop industry,

  • "are all inspired by black culture,

  • "whether they acknowledge it or not.

  • "I would like to encourage K-pop fans to give back,

  • "and show love and support for all that we've received,

  • "from black artists.

  • "I want to explain to K-pop fans, fellow Asians,

  • "and non Americans,

  • "who feel like they have no connection to what's happening,

  • "that we are all connected."

  • And if the K-pop community has anything to say about it,

  • they're taking the re-education and activism,

  • into their own hands.

  • The power of their passion is already undeniable.

  • The communication, our organization already unparalleled.

  • It seems like endless possibilities,

  • for what they might achieve on the horizon.

  • (upbeat music)

- On June 20th, 2020 in Tulsa, Oklahoma,

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How K-Pop Stans Outsmarted Donald Trump

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/24
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