This will be a rather quick review, but links for more information have been provided.
For those familiar with K-pop, you know that even the tiniest things can be blown into a full blown controversy. In this instance, I put controversy in quotations simply because I can not believe that this was made into the big deal that it was. A simple interview done in Thailand by Block B lead to craziness. In short form: Block B does interview after floods -> Video is spread -> Chaos ensues.
Block B: A seven-member hip-hop group from Stardom Entertainment. They are known for their trollish behavior and care-free attitudes (Evidence in the photo below). Partakes in an interview while in Thailand performing.
Thailand: Country in Southeast Asia. It was experiencing severe flooding during the interview.
The Media: They spur on the chaos and misreport the situation. They also wrongly translate the interview.
Netizens: Simply put, a bunch of idiots. From here on out, called “Nitizens” since they are NITwit Internet citiZENS.
Back in January of this year, Block B was in Thailand performing and the performance would benefit those affected by the flood. While there, they were interviewed by a local news outlet. In February, during Block B’s “Welcome to the Block” promotions, the video of the interview is released. In the video, you can see Block B acting rather foolishly, particularly P.O and U-Kwon. Zico also jokes with the translator about them knowing the origins of Block B’s name. During the interview, Block B was asked if they knew about the the concert being for flood relief. They responded that they knew about the flood, and that it was good that they were helping. Zico comments that all Block B has to give is money. When fellow member Kyung asks him how much, Zico jokingly says about $6.
Important Translated Section
In layman’s terms (if translations are correct, which they appear to be, and what I infer is being said): Block B doesn’t have much money, but they are happy to be able to help anyway they can, even if it’s only being able to give $6.
- Thais aren’t very happy with the situation, to say the least. I’m honestly not sure if it’s due to the mistranslations or perceived rudeness. Either way, YouTube videos and articles in relation to Block B begin to see a lot of negative comments from Thais, and BBCs, alike.
- 2PM’s Nichkhun, Chansung, Junho get involved by tweeting rather harsh responses to the interview. This spurs tension between Hottests and BBCs. *Author’s Note: Glass houses, man, glass houses*. U-KISS’s Dongho also tweets a sarcastic tweet in regards to the controversy (I still have no idea why).
- BBCs are quick to denounce the bad behavior, but still defend Block B against the unnecessary attacks. They also continue to show support (Good for them!).
- Block B is restricted from KBS, SBS, and MBC music shows for the week of February 20th. Their promotions are effectively cut short.
- Block B apologizes through hand-written letters, a video, and Zico shaves his head in repentance. Among some cultures, your hair is a sign of dignity and pride. When you remove it, you humble yourself and it is a sign of true repentance from wrong doing.
- Maknae P.O is hospitalized during “Nanrina” promotions. This was reportedly caused by the stress the controversy had put P.O. and the group under.
- The media inflates the problem by poor reporting. Some media outlets even report that Block B’s behavior led to the breaking of contracts and poor economic relations between Korea and Thailand.
- Nitizens fuel the fire and engage in typical douchebaggery. They encourage the group to disband and even promote suicide. Also, death threats are made. In usual fashion, the hypocrisy of some fans is completely lost on them (see Author’s note above). Some state that Block B are also bad representatives, should not be supported, and bring shame to Korea.
Were Block B’s actions rude? Absolutely. They should have behaved better than what they did. At least they could have seemed interested during the interview and not acted like children.
Were Block B’s words rude? Absolutely NOT. They did not make light of the flooding and what they said was a joke to lighten the mood and show what they were willing to do.
Block B’s apologies should be accepted wholeheartedly, just as they were given. The media and nitizens were completely out-of-line. This should not have become what it did.
Lessons to be Learned
Block B: When traveling internationally, as k-pop representatives, sometimes you can’t be yourself. While some appreciate your unidol-like behavior (like myself and BBCs) , not everyone is as receptive. It’s best to basically behave in a way that fits the country you are visiting. Also, act uptight and you’ll be fine. (That was sarcasm)
The Media: As news sources, you should probably actually get your news from reliable sources, and not nitizens. Don’t make assumptions or report things without at least verifying what you are saying has an ounce of truth. Also, get things translated PROPERLY.
Nitizens: Get a hobby that contributes to the well-being of others. Or even a hobby that gives you something to do other than create chaos. Spreading lies and rumors is gambling with the lives of others, and that’s not cool. Also, stop being such hate-mongers. You only make yourself look like a scumbag when you talk about disbandment and suicide. Oh, and “Judge Not, Least Ye Be Judge.” Just saying.
Others: Lighten up and enjoy life a little more. We really shouldn’t be so serious in situations where no real insult was made. Also, make your own decisions and wait till all the information is in front of you to form an opinion.
In closing, the scope of this situation was ridiculous. Sometimes laughter is the best medicine. At the end of the day, we must remember that “idols” are not idols: they are humans. They are not gold statues, icons, or gods/goddesses. They will make mistakes, they will behave according to their age, and they will be like the rest of us. While I understand the need for them to behave a certain way as representatives, k-pop artists are not perfect, and to expect them to be is incredibly unfair and ridiculous. As fans, we should point out when they are doing something wrong, but we should not throw them under then bus. I believe Block B grew stronger due to the situation and will come out better in the long run (can’t say the same for nitizens). BLOCK B (and Thailand) FIGHTING!!