It was a major new development yesterday – BLACKPINK’s Jennie and V of BTS (also known as Taehyung) were photographed holding hands while walking along the Seine in Paris after a year of speculation over whether or not they’re dating.
Despite some fans refusing to believe it’s true, and bending over backwards insisting that the photos were either fake or not actually of Jennie, the fact that both their managers were also seen in the pictures, and that both were seen in the same outfits earlier that night, this is legit.
OKAY SO WHAT NOW????????! #TAENNIE #taehyung #jennie pic.twitter.com/I56OrnoPr8— ðŸ’œ (@4myfavesx) May 17, 2023
Jennie and Tae’s agencies, YG and HYBE have been asked for comment. They’ve commented by not commenting – according to Soompi:
“When reached out for a response by media outlet Sports Seoul, HYBE and YG Entertainment both commented, “It is difficult to check [regarding this matter].”
I mean, it’s 2023. We’re almost to the point of telekinesis, how difficult can it be to check?
Their agencies also said that, “We do not know due to it being regarding the artists’ private lives”. Which is not a denial. In the Korean entertainment system, when there is something to deny, they come quick with the denial, even if it relates to idols and their romances. When there were rumours – and the rumours weren’t even that loud – back in 2021 that V was dating an heiress, HYBE was quick to shut that sh-t down.
It would seem then, and I hope, that Jennie and V aren’t super bothered and won’t be giving this more energy than it needs with statements and denials and confirmations or whatever. They’re two young, super successful, super attractive megastars working in the same industry. It happens all the time – look at Hollywood and the western entertainment ecosystem, stars have been falling in love with each other since the beginning of show business.
What’s different in this case, though, is the silence. The silence from western media.
The comparison I’ve been using, because Jennie and V are both bandmembers of the two biggest bands in the world, both with huge followings on social media, with record-setting numbers in sales and engagement and activity, is that this is the equivalent of Baby Spice Emma Bunton and JC Chasez hooking up … never mind back in the day, if those two were dating now it would be a top story at PEOPLE.com. Kathleen this morning over text with me took it even a step further and likened Jennie and V to Britney Spears and Justin Bieber!
So why is it then that PEOPLE.com hasn’t covered it? Same goes for TMZ, Daily Mail, E! News, Page Six, Us Weekly, Entertainment Weekly. Nothing at the time of this writing (11am ET, 18May23). ELLE has a story about it and Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, but my point is I shouldn’t have to go looking for this coverage. It should be slapping me in the face, the way the Vanderpump is slapping me in the face. But it’s not. Because people aren’t pitching it. Because there aren’t people on these editorial teams being all like… hey, this photo agency has exclusives of Jennie and V and this story is going to blow up.
We posted this on ETALK’s TikTok yesterday and we got 1.8 million views – at a time when everyone is thirsty for views and social media engagement, here we have two stars who consistently deliver on views and engagement and yet no one is taking the opportunity when it’s right there for them. Am I encouraging people to clout chase? Look, the fact of the matter is that everyone in the digital landscape is desperado for engagement. Everyone is looking at analytics and crunching the stats on what works and who traffics. BTS fans for years have been trying to prove to western media outlets with hard stats and facts that this band consistently brings in the numbers. They know by now that the numbers are there. But this comes back to the personal interests of the people who make decisions on which stories to cover and also on the business end. Because the numbers are related to the sales. The numbers drive the ad buys. And numbers don’t lie, numbers are objective, right? Well, not really.
Where representation is concerned, even numbers have their own shades. If the numbers happen to be related to Asian performers, in movies and music or whatever, they come with an asterisk, like somehow the numbers aren’t legitimate, that millions of tweets and follows and views aren’t sellable because those aren’t the numbers they want to attract. Like money isn’t just f-cking money, no matter who’s spending it.
And of course this isn’t unique to Asians. The Black community has been raising this issue forever, for years backing up their position, with data, that Black consumers consistently show up. But the gatekeepers have just as consistently come up with excuse after excuse for not actually capitalising on those figures. Which explains, in part, why two of the biggest pop stars on the planet dating each other isn’t front page news.