Last year, I cut ties with a college friend who had spent months finding different ways to diss my favorite K-pop group BLACKPINK — the same one who couldn’t figure out why Lisa was my bias when, according to him, Jennie and Jisoo were “objectively” more beautiful.
The first time he said this, I told him that I found Lisa more beautiful, and that while all four BLACKPINK members were visuals, I preferred her Thai beauty. That’s how I first heard about Korean beauty standards, since he got into K-pop a few years before I did. He insisted that there’s an “objective” standard of beauty based on criteria that the “mainstream” agrees upon, and that it’s only because Lisa was more popular that people like me insist she’s more beautiful.
Now, obviously I like Lisa for a lot more than just her physical appearance, and there were other reasons I finally decided to cut off this person from my life. But as I’ve come to realize over all these months of being into K-pop, and especially now that Lisa has made her solo debut with her first single album “LALISA”, this person had embraced the prejudices of some South Koreans, echoing racist K-pop fans.
Toxic fans and solo stans
The ones who look down upon Lisa because she’s Thai. Who dismiss her global popularity, sneering that her fanbase is mainly in China and Southeast Asia. Who always gleefully rub it in that Koreans don’t love her, and that she’s the least popular BLACKPINK member in South Korea. The haters who keep insisting her solo debut album is flopping when it’s breaking records left and right — including sales on the Hanteo Chart.
BLACKPINK means a lot to me, helping me get through a lot of hard times during this pandemic, including the death of my father last year. They’ve been good for my mental health, though the flipside is being their fan and falling down into the rabbit hole of K-pop also made me realize how racist, misogynistic, and homophobic some fans are. Maybe even worse than the “antis” or haters of BLACKPINK are the akgaes — the solo stans who only like one BLACKPINK member and hate the other three. Something I can’t understand, because while Lisa is definitely my bias, I like Jisoo, Jennie, and Rosé. BLACKPINK is all four of them, as they’ve said time and time again over the years, including in the Netflix documentary “BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky“.
One thing that every member said throughout the documentary is that they survived because the four of them met, clicked as a group, and stayed strong because and for each other.
Recounting their first night at the dorm when she joined, Rosé said: “It was us four. I don’t even know why, but it was us four. We covered songs ’til morning. All four of us, we were singing. Somebody was harmonizing. I think Jisoo was harmonizing. It was so funny. Can you believe it?”
So if you’re really a BLACKPINK fan, how can you wish for any member to fail, just so you could say your favorite is the best?
It’s like the BLACKPINK haters. How can hating BLACKPINK and trying to sabotage them make your favorites more successful?
Haters aren’t more successful than the people they hate.
Which is why in a weird way I guess I should thank all the haters of BLACKPINK. The more and more they hate, the more and more successful BLACKPINK becomes.
Take a look at Lisa’s first single album, which haters said would flop, but instead surpassed 700,000 stock pre-orders worldwide, setting a new record for a female K-pop soloist.
Then, the music video of BLACKPINK Lisa generated 73.6 million views in the first 24 hours when it debuted on Sept. 10. This broke the previous record for a solo artist held by Taylor Swift for “ME! (feat. Brandon Urie of Panic! At The Disco)” of 65 million views in 24 hours. Not only that, but also Lisa has scored the sixth biggest YouTube music debut of all time, overtaking BTS’ “Permission to Dance”, which racked up 72.3 million views in 24 hours.
But haters will hate. It doesn’t matter what Lisa achieves. They’ll just move the goal post and keep on hating.
Haters will hate
Haters: Wahaha! Lisa’s album is flopping.
Today, Lisa became the first female solo artist to surpass 500,000 copies sold in the first week on South Korea’s Hanteo Chart, and only the second female act to achieve this after her own group, BLACKPINK. And the first week isn’t over yet.
It’s not easy for even boy groups and male soloists to surpass 500,000 copies sold in the first week on Hanteo, as you can see from this list of artists in this exclusive club.
Oh, and today the “LALISA” MV also surpassed 150M views.
Haters: Wahaha! Lisa’s album is still flopping because her songs aren’t doing well on our precious Korean music platforms like Melon and Watermelon and Cantaloupe and Durian ???
Whatever. We can’t hear you over the sound of Lisa’s money.
Thai and proud of it
The unfortunate truth is that some Knetz (Korean netizens) and K-pop fans are racist and misogynistic. Hell, feminism is a dirty word in South Korea. Imagine, then, how much they hate the fact that a female Thai K-pop idol is wildly popular and successful.
While it honestly hurts to see all the hate that Lisa gets, I keep reminding myself to just ignore them, and to focus on the joy that Lisa brings to me and millions worldwide. How proud she is of Thailand, and how she made sure to add Thai elements to her solo debut album and the “Lalisa” music video, including her Thai silk ensemble.
“A sight to behold, Lisa is seen wearing a customised Thai silk ensemble, designed by Thailand’s very own Polpat ‘Moo’ Asavaprapha of ASAVA.
“Designed exclusively for the international K-pop star, Lisa dons a hand-embroidered costume made with brocade golden silk. It features traditional patterns from Lamphun province, and is adorned with Swarovski crystal embellishments.”
Thai fans were shocked and delighted when they saw the part in the MV where Lisa is wearing traditional Thai attire, including the golden headdress.
In fact, it has spurred sales of the traditional headdress and other Thai accessories.
“Chalita Thongdeetae, a shop owner in Pahurat, said she started receiving orders for chada soon after the MV was released. She said the fad helped revive businesses in the Pahurat neighborhood, which has been suffering under the coronavirus pandemic.
“‘The lively atmosphere returned here. Many vendors get to sell their goods once again,’ Chalita said. ‘I’d like to thank Lisa very much for bringing back this atmosphere.’”
Lisa and K-pop for good
Not only that, but also the popularity of the MV has encouraged people to visit the Khmer-influenced Phanom Rung temple that she featured in her “Lalisa” music video. This temple is in her original hometown of Buriram (which I learned means “city of happiness”). She was born in Buriram and then her family moved to Bangkok.
More importantly, Lisa is using K-pop for good to help improve children’s education in her hometown.
“’I would like (children) to be able to play freely in a better educational environment and follow their dreams without constraints,’ she was quoted as saying. ‘I want to encourage and support the precious dreams of many children.’
“The program, which is a partnership between the foundation and BLACKPINK’s label YG Entertainment, will this year seek to build a 160 square meter cultural compound at Non Suwan Phitthayakhom School in Buriram, among other things.”
Despite all the hate she has received over the years, Lisa chooses to focus on what she loves. To spread joy and help others. She gives so much love, and that’s why the world loves her.
So I tell myself to just ignore the haters. Let karma be the bitch.