BTS recently made headlines for selling out two massive arena shows in Newark, New Jersey during their U.S. concert tour, prompting much discussion over the group's popularity across different cultures, as well as the rise of K-pop over the past few years.
The New York Times noticed an interesting trend during the furor of BTS's U.S. concerts - a lot of their fans are African American.
Upon asking a number of fans outside the Newark BTS concert, it quickly became evident that the reason why there are many multi-cultural K-pop fans in America has got less to do with BTS (though they are helping to lead the charge), and more to do with K-pop's universal qualities and musical influences.
K-pop appealing to a diverse groups of fans is due to its heavy influences from 1990's American hip-hop, but some credit also has to go to the introduction of Korean culture that has helped bring fans together. While BTS are a group who speak and perform in Korean, fans of all cultures are able to rally around them based on the fact that while not every person is able to understand the group, everyone is there simply because of the music.
While there are instances where K-pop has been caught in hot water due to misunderstandings over cultural issues, such as MAMAMOO dressing up in blackface for a concert, these instances have managed to open up discussions over cultural differences, which has helped give a cross-cultural appeal to K-pop.
Check out the New York Times' video "Crossing Cultures: Black K-pop fans in America" right here and let us know what you think.
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