There’s no disputing that K-pop has seen a definite surge in popularity in the United States in the past couple of years. Several groups have made massive inroads and established a firm fan base. Whether it’s the storytelling of Miss A or the synchronized moves of Brown Eyed Girls, fans in the United States are embracing the Korean Wave.
Of course, there are some celebrities who are not just embracing the wave; some are trying to actually emulate it. Jaden Smith, son of movie superstar Will Smith, went on Twitter to announce his plans to release a K-pop single in the next four months.
Of course, this isn’t the first hint that Jaden has given of wanting to become a K-pop star. In December, he said that G Dragon was his inspiration. G Dragon even responded cordially, saying how great it was to meet Jaden.
G Dragon, or GD, is one of the most famous K-pop stars in recent years. Since his debut in 2009 with the group BigBang after six years training with the YG label, he has written 22 No. 1 songs in Korea. In 2016, he was named to Forbes’ 30 under 30 list for Asia.
The response must have fueled something in Jaden because, a couple of weeks later, he tweeted out his burning need to become a K-pop star.
For anyone who missed it, Jaden clarified himself just a couple of days later, reaffirming his new life direction.
It’s up in the air if a non-Korean can make K-pop, especially when they don’t speak the language. But that hasn’t stopped the four-person boy band EXP Edition. The four white youths hail from Europe and the United States. Koki Tomlinson is half-Japanese and half-German, Frankie DaPonte is Portuguese, Hunter Kohl is from New York, and Sime Kosta is from Croatia. The band has the featured tagline of “Born in NY, made in Seoul.”
EXP Edition recently debuted a video that was widely panned by K-pop fans who were insulted by the lackadaisical movements and poor choreography in the video. Other commenters spoke on how insulting it was for any group to debut as a K-pop group without putting in the years of work that K-pop artists generally do before they debut.
Fan Reaction to Jaden’s Announcement
The response to Jaden’s announcement on Twitter has spawned some mixed reactions. Fans are pointing out that any single that Jaden releases isn’t going to be K-pop, especially because he hasn’t trained in Korea and debuted there.
Other reactions didn’t use any words, they just let their chosen photos and reaction GIFs speak for themselves.
This isn’t the first time that Jaden has drawn some questioning looks for his tweets or for his decisions. The 2013 film After Earth, which co-starred Jaden’s father Will Smith, was seen as an exercise in nepotism by more than one critic.
In 2015, Jaden was tweeting gems that were repeated and reposted for their comedic content wrapped in an air of adopted philosophy. Who hasn’t heard the infamous line, “How can mirrors be real if our eyes aren’t real.”
Jaden has also teamed up with his sister Willow to form their own rock band, so this tweeted desire to drop a K-pop single may be coming from that venture. The pair joined Odessa Adlon to create this as yet unnamed trio.
Willow has already demonstrated her singing chops, stepping in to record lyrics for a song that Sean Lennon and Carrie Fisher co-wrote. She also released an unexpected EP in 2016 titled Mellifluous.
If Jaden releases a single and calls it K-pop, will you listen to it and accept it as K-pop? Or do you believe that it’s just a method of branding that is taking advantage of K-pop’s current popularity in the western world?
[Featured Image by Joel Ryan/AP Images]