There is no doubt that BTS became the global superstar. Their latest Korean song “Life Goes On” blasted into No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in history, and the group recently won their first-ever Grammy nomination.
“I think the power and influence BTS has is about 3,000 times more than mine. Koreans are emotionally dynamic people and I think that’s why we produce such amazing artists.”
This is what Parasite director Bong Joon Ho said after taking home 3 awards at the Oscar. Clearly, he knew what this mega Korean act had accomplished in the global market.
However, some started to point out that the Korean media and the entertainment industry are trying to devalue their performances. And one of them is the music critic Kim Young Dae, who wrote BTS The Review last year.
This is what he said.
“To reporters, it was the birth of a group that has no use for them. They want those they can kill and save with their words, but I think they got into a state of mind where they want to ignore or treat them (BTS) as trivial things.”
“Michael Jackson, Prince, George Michael… These people are pop. Genres don’t matter. There is a style called ‘pop,’ but pop refers to the most common American pop music. BTS is being treated as pop artists in the US, and they have broken into that category.”
However, the treatment that BTS is receiving from Korean media makes you frown. BTS’s success is reported to some extent. However, there is a clear difference in the amount of media coverage compared to idols from K-pop powerhouses.
Critic Kim added, “When Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ struck the world in 2012, these media cheered him. This proves that there is this ‘belittling’ of idols. I heard a funny story. A high-ranking official from a media outlet said something like this. ‘It’s ‘Dynamite’ that won the award, not BTS.’ These people are saying that BTS is not the one who made these achievements.”
When we just look at all the history that BTS alone made in recent years, there should be several documentaries that shed light on the group by now. But what’s the reality?
Here are some of the titles that foreign media use to introduce BTS: “How BTS became the world’s biggest boyband (Guardian),” “They’re the Beatles for the 21st Century (BBC),” and “BTS is the K-pop band taking over the world (CNN).” But are we, the Korean media, giving even the similar praises?