Back in August of 2015, DR Music made history by signing the first African-American to be a part of a K-pop idol girl group. Alexandra Reid officially became the sixth member of Regeneration Idol of Asia, better known as RaNia. Since then, Alex’s inclusion in RaNia has caused quite a spike in chatter for the idol group established back in 2011. Either it be praise or criticism, most of it is usually centered on the topic of race. However, there were some who had honest criticisms that do not touch on something as superficial as race. Instead, they questioned if Alex was being properly implemented into RaNia in the first place.
It seems as if answers to those honest criticisms were somewhat answered recently, as Alex made her first appearance on a Korean variety show on the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) known as My Neighbor, Charles. According to AllKpop, Alex discussed much about herself and her career during the January 12, 2016 broadcast. Such included her choice to pursue a career in the Korean entertainment industry and stories of her experiences during promotions. One such story Alex divulged during the show was needing help from her manager on a daily basis. Due to not being fluent in Korean, buying daily necessities and adjusting her schedule were somewhat challenging. Also, Alex compared and contrasted major differences in promoting in Korea to America.
“I feel a lot of differences in promoting in Korea’s entertainment industry compared to America.”
To be frank, it is amazing Alex is the first African-American to be signed on to a K-pop idol girl group, but from what she said during her appearance on My Neighbor, Charles, it seems DR Music dropped the ball with bringing her in. For starters, a lot of Alex’s issues wouldn’t have been such a problem if she went through the same training regime that many other K-pop idol goes through. In the industry prior to debuts, K-pop idol hopefuls go through training as trainees. The time span for training varies but the minimum is usually one year. Within that time, trainees not only learn how to be part of a K-pop idol group, they also learn about each other by living together, and learn about the country by studying its basics. This is especially vital for foreigners with little or no affinity to Korea.
Probably the biggest example of DR Music did handling the incorporation of Alex into RaNia well was before the release of their mini-album, Demonstrate. Alex, along with Hyeme and Seulji, joined RaNia as replacements for Saem, Jooyi, and Riko when they departed. However, DR Music held back on announcing the departures even though they stopped attending public events and deactivated their social media accounts. For about a year, RaNia was constantly speculated, something that hurt them.
When DR Music finally announced Saem, Jooyi, and Riko’s departure, they started to find their replacements. Hyemi and Seulji were revealed in a respectable amount of time prior to the release of Demonstrate, but Alex was revealed literally days before. As a matter of fact, Alex wasn’t even featured in the music video of the mini-album’s self-titled premiere track. DR Music blames visa issues for why Alex did not arrive in Korea in time to film the MV, but that would be understandable for a rookie label. DR Music has been around since 1997 managing popular K-pop acts like Baby V.O.X.
Ultimately, the damage caused by being unorganized is done. All Alex, RaNia, and DR Music can do now is move forward. They will have their chance with upcoming mini-album rumored to release sometime in the next few months, Sexy Heroine. It was fully-funded by K-pop fans in which RaNia got more than double of what they were hoping to raise. Ergo, we expect Alex’s first time being featured in a K-pop music video to be amazing. Not only that, we will also see how much Alex has assimilated into RaNia since her reveal back in August.
[Image via Alex Reid’s Official Facebook]