Jungkook is in Los Angeles right now and while it’s not known why he’s there, some fans thought that he may have been heading to the VMAs when he left Korea earlier this week. Maybe it’s a pitstop before he goes east as the VMAs are happening next Tuesday in New Jersey.
Whatever he’s doing, he’s travelling with a big group. According to the photographers, three SUVs and two minibuses were required to transport his entourage – BTS’s golden maknae rolls deep!
They were eating at Matsuhisa, which is a pretty standard paparazzi hang, considering how regularly celebrities show up there. Hailey Bieber was seen there recently, as was Lori Harvey, and even Hunter Biden – the point is, JK and his team probably went there for the food and the Nobu reputation but I’m not sure they were aware that Matsuhisa is a heatscore.
And this is relevant because, well, as you can see, in some of the shots, JK is smoking. Which, by western celebrity gossip standards, is pretty pedestrian. Ben Affleck getting papped with a cigarette in his mouth is any given Tuesday. Korean celebrities though are much more protective about their reputations and their public image; like on some television shows, JK actually has to cover up his tattoos, because social standards are much more conservative. So with the smoking, it’s not a crime, but K-pop idols are encouraged to keep squeaky clean images and smoking doesn’t usually fall into that category even though, just as it is in the west, so many celebrities smoke in the east. Still, there have been idols of adult age who’ve been seen smoking in the past and who have been compelled to apologise.
Even in the west, here in North America, in some circles, smoking is considered a character flaw. I smoked for a long time and then I switched to vaping, which I still do, and it’s not like I’m proud of it but I’m also not ashamed of it. Smoking and vaping, to be clear, are NOT healthy – I’m not condoning it, but it’s also not something to be shamed over or be judged over. That’s not to say that I think stars should be free to flaunt it and smoke in photos they post on Instagram or whatever, but if they’re inadvertently seen smoking after a meal, there doesn’t need to be an overreaction.
Jungkook and BTS have broken so many barriers, both in the entertainment ecosystem at home in Korea and overseas. I wonder if he will be breaking another one. Like it’s one thing to be all like, hey JK, smoking is bad for you, please care for your body, and another to turn it into some kind of scandal. Here, simply, is one of the biggest pop stars in the world having a cigarette after dinner in LA…
Ahead, possibly, of an upcoming performance? Is it possible that JK and his big entourage is in LA to prep for a potential performance of his song “Seven”, which has been nominated for the VMA for Song of the Summer? Maybe he’s there to rehearse with Latto? When he was smoking outside Matsuhisa he can be seen playing around with some dance moves with a member of his crew – so, clearly, performance was on his mind. And then he’ll head to New Jersey next week for the show?
I can’t imagine that MTV wouldn’t want JK to be part of the show. They’ve yet to announce the full slate of performers but if JK was up for it, of course MTV would give him a stage.