The Sudden Rise and Consistent Struggle of K-Pop


K-pop’s new captivating beats and alluring dances have hit major success globally. Even with a language barrier, international fans seem to enjoy this music genre even more. K-Pop has made its way into Western media and has broken records set by American artists. Although many groups constantly hit success, it seems like these idols don’t receive proper treatment in the media.

There are so many reasons why K-pop has suddenly risen. One of the reasons is that since the music is very different from western music, it has a brand new spectrum of things that people have never seen. They create choreography that blows up on TikTok and sells merchandise for their fans that western artists have yet to think of. It is hard for these groups to become mainstream in the west and even if they do, it seems like they aren’t treated the same as western artists. Even if they sell out stadiums or outsell the “regular artist,” fans can see very clearly that these idols are still not accepted by everyone yet.

Despite being one of the fastest growing genres, one of the many reasons it is not accepted by some is possibly due to xenophobia. For a long time, there has been a negative stereotype that portrays Asian males as “less masculine.” This comes into play, when people belittle male idols’ masculinity as a reason to not listen to the genre. With that being only one of the problematic remarks, it seems like stereotyping and prejudice overpowers this genre, no matter how big it gets.

Fans seem to notice that there is some sort of inequality.

“I heard of K-Pop because of some of my friends. They introduced me to the group BTS at first. I automatically loved the group and got more into K-pop. I think K-pop has made it really big in America because of all of the international K-pop fans. Also, I think a big part of it being big in America is because of popular American singers who collaborate with some K-Pop groups; it makes K-Pop more recognized. I do think K-Pop can make a big impact in America. For example, BTS has made a huge impact in America. They have won many awards in America. This shows that other K-Pop groups also have a chance to win awards here. I think that in many cases, some K-Pop groups are even bigger than most American pop artists and should be in the line up with them. If America is as accepting as they claim to be, why was BTS only recently the first K-Pop group to be nominated for a Grammy when they have had major success globally for years now?  People are willing to try K-Pop nowadays because they see how popular it is becoming. They will want to see what the hype is about. K-Pop is growing each day and from all their new fans that were curious to see what K-Pop was all about,” said freshman Kristal Benitez.

“I first heard about K-Pop back in 2017 because of a music video that YouTube recommended. I think it’s been getting very big in America because of K-Pop idols’ fan bases. I definitely think America will have its own category in award shows in the future if America stops being xenophobic. I think it’s become very popular and people want to hear what everyone is raving about,” said freshman Valerie Guzman.

Some fans agree that these K-Pop groups are deserving of more recognition and respect.

“I heard about K-Pop from my sister. She was the one who liked it first. It’s become so big because many Americans and other people are interested in other languages, cultures, and their music. It’s a possibility that it will make its own category in American award shows because K-Pop is very popular and many people know and think K-pop idols deserve those awards. K-Pop is known worldwide and many people are interested, curious, and want to know more about K-Pop and the idols,” said freshman Katherine Cruz.

“I heard of K-Pop on different social media, mainly TikTok and Instagram. I think K-pop has made it big in America because all the international fans started recognizing how good these idols are and how it’s different than what they usually listen to. I think K-Pop can have a big impact in America because it’s becoming more and more popular now these days. I think people are willing to give K-Pop a try because they might have been recommended by a friend or just come across it and become satisfied with how interesting it is,” said freshman Emely Perez.

Nevertheless, K-Pop is still a form of entertainment and has risen for a good reason. Fans agree that it has more depth to it and that it is something new and intriguing.

“I actually first heard about the term “K-Pop” back in 2016 when my friend wanted to show me some music videos. I told her I didn’t like it because I couldn’t understand what they were saying (it was very close-minded of me). Fast forward to December 2017, BTS did a performance during New Year’s in LA. That’s when I was intrigued. I started to do my research and that’s how I fell in love with it; the choreography and all the artistic qualities made me fall the most. Their faces were just a bonus. I think K-Pop has made it big in the U.S. because people find a sense of comfort in it. Seeing your favorite groups really brings a sense of joy to you. K-Pop has a lot of elements to it so I think that’s why people like it so much,” said freshman Ava-Sol Figueroa.

“I guess I first heard students talking about K-Pop a couple of years ago. It is fun to listen to because a lot of the music has a really positive sound and great energy. Plus, many of the groups are great at making coordinated dances, which also appeals to young people today because of TikTok and similar trends. I might guess that music, in general, can more easily cross borders today than it could before the rise of YouTube. A great performer can get followers on Youtube and gain popularity without having to first overcome that barrier of getting onto American radio. That makes it easier for Americans to enjoy a lot of music that we wouldn’t otherwise have access to,” said history teacher Mr. Obrokta.

For whatever the particular reason to enjoy K-Pop is, fans agree that these idols work extremely hard and their work shouldn’t go unnoticed. These groups create new concepts that people have never seen and they do it well. Hopefully, K-Pop will evolve to be respected and appreciated as a valid music genre.