In July 2017 Paste Magazine published an article written by Martin Tsai about the “shunning of Asian pop stars in America”. It was a few weeks after BTS won Top Social Artist at the Billboard Music Awards which prompted a suck attack from some people who didn’t understand why a group that didn’t sing in English was getting so much shine. They must have missed the reaction from fans in the audience. And the audience was not all Korean. But they knew every word.
It has been a year. And in that time, the band has released three more chart-topping albums and performed at the American Music Awards, again the Billboard Awards, on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, on Ellen, on Kimmel, on James Corden, earlier this week at The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and yesterday on Good Morning America, their first morning show appearance ever in the US. They sold out Citi Field in New York City in minutes. Recently they played three straight sold out shows in Hamilton, just outside Toronto. They can fill stadiums. And they’re filling stadiums without heavy mainstream radio play or promotion. Which means, as I wrote yesterday, that BTS has made themselves impossible to ignore. Or, rather, the BTS Army, and many of them are not Korean, not Asian, has made it impossible for the media to ignore BTS. They’re the ones who have said that they don’t give a sh-t if the band sings in a language that is foreign to them. They’re the ones who are learning the lyrics, sounding them out phonetically, memorising the sounds, looking up the meaning online. They’re putting in the work to understand the art. They are actively challenging the fallacy that the North American music market has no space for non-English speaking acts. Just like audiences this year have shown up to the movies to disprove the excuse from Hollywood executives that films with diverse casts aren’t profitable. So why is it that The f-cking Chainsmokers get played more often on the radio than BTS?
If you missed it, click here to watch BTS on GMA.
Yours in gossip,