BTS is not your usual boy band like One Direction or Backstreet Boys. BTS is a K-pop group that sings most of their songs in Korean. This expansive genre trails back to the mid-20th century.
K-pop first started in the 1950s with a girl group called The Kim Sisters. They achieved their fame in America by singing American songs. The Kim Sisters became the first South Korean music group to achieve success in the U.S. Through generations, K-pop has evolved into a genre that encompasses a collection of sounds that is more complex than typical western pop.
From the 1970s to the early 2000s, K-pop was really popular. Throughout the 1970s, political activism was very important and K-pop artists would add topics ranging from anti-bullying to social consciousness to their lyrics. Then, the 1990s had the creation of the first group similar to the music scene today, Seo Taiji and the Boys, using American-style music and Hip-Hop choreography. With that, the first generation of K-pop stardom was founded, with genre-bending music, attractive performers, flawless appearances, and intricate choreography.
The second generation took place from 2005 to 2011 with the groups' Wonder Girls and Girls Generation. Subsequently, the third generation consisting of Twice, BTS, Blackpink, EXO, etc., has taken over the world. Because of social media many third-generation groups have gained global fame, especially BTS which is presently the most famous boy group in the world. Now, the fourth generation is on the rise, with groups like Stray Kids, Oneus, New Jeans, and Itzy.
K-pop is an amazing genre with caring idols, however, the evils of the music industry and celebrity culture can cultivate a negative experience. Before K-pop idols get debuted, they are trainees that take singing and dancing lessons. While training they get criticized, body shamed, forced to undergo extremely restricting diets, and face overwhelming stress, even after they have debuted. “Netizens” or fans harass them daily by sending them hate comments, and yet they still have to handle the pressures of being “perfect” for the industries. Additionally, K-pop idols seem to not know the effects of racism and cultural appropriation. Many idols have appropriated or mocked Indians, Native Americans, Black people, and Muslims, as well as having made colorist remarks and saying slurs.
K-pop includes many genres that came before it, including Hip-Hop, Rock, R&B, and much more. It has something for everyone to enjoy. Hopefully, over the generations, industries will try to educate idols about different cultures, so they will not make the same mistakes as what idols did in the past or present.
[Source: afilm.edu; npr.org]