Dispatch Reports: How Singers Fought with Dust for 2020 MAMA Despite the Throat Pain and Difficulty Breathing

Credit: 2020 MAMA

“I’ve burned it all till my nostril turned black.” This is what a singer said during his live broadcast.

Credit: 2020 MAMA

In early December, K-pop singers visited CJ ENM’s Contents World to pre-record their performances. Each group visited the site at least two times four hours each and sang and danced. But this year’s recording was different for the singers. Why?

Dispatch visited the Contents World. The site was under construction. According to the Paju City Hall construction department, the construction is expected to be completed in 2023.

One idol said, “The building I filmed was new. But one staff member was yelling and his white mask had turned black.”

CJ ENM started the construction in the second half of 2019. It plans to build a total of 10 studios, and only two are completed. The entire scene was busy with large machines like forklifts and trucks. The parking lot, which was used as idols’ “dressing room,” is covered with dirt and sand.

Credit: Dispatch
Credit: Dispatch

Even the signs that read “Caution: snakes,” “Caution: fire hazards” and “Warning: drop hazards” were spotted here and there. Seeing this, we could fully understand what one idol meant by “The parking lot was covered with sand. Cars moved then dust blew everywhere. We couldn’t even lower the window.”

MAMA used two temporarily completed studios, studio 5 and studio 6. Studio 5 was used as dressing rooms and studio 6 was used as a stage. But the environment of studio 6 was horrible. Even considering that the stage has been torn down, the air was so bad that it was hard to breathe and soon, the throat started to hurt from all the dust.

Another idol added, “The dust was everywhere. My throat was hurting real bad at the time.” A staff from an agency testified, “The studio was covered with dust when idols came here for pre-recordings. My nose was itchy so I blew it, and the black dust came out together. Even the quarantine mask had turned black.”

Credit: Dispatch

Dispatch confirmed with an official from Paju City Hall that the dust particle levels at the construction site of CJ ENM Contents World have not undergone checkups since the construction first began in 2019.

As the name suggests, MAMA is an event for singers. However, the constant controversies makes us wonder what they have done for the singers. One insider said, “It felt like they were treating these idols groups as props for a stage. If they have any consideration for the singers, they shouldn’t make them pre-record in such an environment. It’s literally a construction site concert.”

MAMA is Asia’s largest music awards ceremony. At least that’s what they claim to be. But if they want to be what they claim to be, they need to pay more attention to what is now shown to the public.

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