K-Pop Catch-Up: November 2016

It’s been a while since I did one of these, huh?

I didn’t expect to write a K-pop Catch-Up for November, but so many things have happened this month that hit so close to home for me that I just had to post this. Honestly, I could have written entire posts on each of the different stories I will share today, but I figured I would save us all some time and put it all together in one post.

Conclusion of VIXX’s Conception Series *rant*

Let me start by saying this: VIXX is my second favorite group. Ken is one of my ultimate biases. I love them, okay?

I was so excited to hear that they would be doing a trilogy concept this year. Their concept video teased a really epic storyline revolving around Greek gods and loyalty and betrayal. Dynamite had one scene of a storyline, which was disappointing, but Fantasy quickly repaired that by having a deep and complex story that hinted at some of the themes shown in the original concept video. Then they released another concept video throwing back to the original video, indicating that the final release of the Conception trilogy would finally give us answers to all of the questions set up from the concept videos and emphasized in Hades, and it would maybe even put Dynamite in context.

Did we get a plot? Yes.

Did the plot offer any explanations? Not really.

Did the plot at all relate to the story set up by the other videos from 2016? Barely.

I’m sorry, but The Closer just was not worth the anticipation. None of the different worlds and characters were ever given life. The actual storyline of The Closer wasn’t even apparent until a minute into the video.

It truly hurts me to say this, because the members always talked about how they put so much effort into this project and they were so excited to share each part with us, but I can’t hold it in anymore. This isn’t something I would ever want the members of VIXX to read, but it is something I think their creative team and other Starlights should read. It was a moment of imperfection from them, and we should all acknowledge those moments because none of us can ever point to our favorite artists and call them perfect.

MAMAMOO’s Décalcomanie Music Video (Source 1) (Source 2)

Mamamoo came back with a new music video in which the members all play hard to get but end up with the guy in the end of the video. It all was somewhat typical of a girl group storyline, but the elevator scene raised many eyebrows, mine included. In the scene, Solar is in the elevator with a guy, and they seem interested in each other but neither one is making a move. When they reach Solar’s floor and she is about to exit the elevator, the guy grabs her arm, stopping her from leaving, pushes her up against the wall of the elevator, and starts kissing her. While this happens, the camera focuses on her hand, which initially struggles against his grip, but eventually relaxes.

It was assault, plain and simple. She clearly didn’t want to kiss him by how she struggled to get away from him, but he used his strength over her to force himself upon her. As a woman, I was very disturbed watching this and then reading that Solar felt proud of that scene.

However, Mamamoo’s company has since reuploaded the video with the scene edited out, which I think is pretty amazing! I am pretty impressed that they actually took feedback and did something about it. I hope this served as a lesson for anyone who was a proponent of that kind of romanticized scene. Strength and boldness can be desirable, but using physical force against someone struggling to fight back is never okay.

B.A.P’s Yongguk Takes Hiatus (Source 1) (Source 2) (Source 3)

Before their recent comeback with Skydive, B.A.P announced that Yongguk would be taking a hiatus from promotions due to health issues. That is understandable and I am glad TS took his health into consideration and gave him a break.

Then I read about the actual “issues” Yongguk was dealing with and… my heart broke. His brother, Yongnam, explained on instagram that Yongguk was suffering from depression earlier in the year and eventually showed symptoms of panic disorder. I just… I don’t know what to say except that I am so sad thinking that he was suffering like this while hiding it from the fans on camera. Literally the week before Yongnam’s post, I had a lecture in class all about panic disorder and the experience of a panic attack. I’ve never had a panic attack myself, but from the stories I’ve read of people who have, and what I have learned in my psych classes, it is so scary and traumatic. Panic disorder is when the fear and anxiety of having another panic attack becomes so severe that it disrupts the person’s life and functioning. And while going through all of that, Yongguk wrote and produced multiple albums, went on a four-month long world tour, and appeared happy and enthusiastic as B.A.P’s leader on tv programs and online. I’m sure all Babyz and even the other members can agree that Yongguk works harder than anyone in the group. He puts so much into his work, and on top of that tries to use his fame and music to encourage peace and positive change in the world. I have had so much respect for him for years, and it kills me to know how much he has been suffering while already doing so much. My disappointment about not being able to see him promote with the rest of the group is so minuscule compared to my desire for him to just be okay and get proper treatment so that he doesn’t have to suffer anymore.

V’s Grandmother Passes Away (Source)

At a recent concert, BTS’s V revealed that his grandmother recently passed away. 😥 At the time of his announcement, she had been gone for a couple of weeks.

It’s just sad, especially considering this is Taehyung, one of the most happy-go-lucky people in the industry. He is always so smiley and silly, and it is really sad to see him so upset and serious. It is such a stark contrast from his usual persona. Taehyung has mentioned multiple times how special his grandmother is to him and how supportive she was of his career. Hearing about the loss of a celebrity’s relative is always sad, but it hits us fans even more when it is someone we have heard the celebrity often talk about.

Peniel Removes His Hat (Source)

Here is my happy story amidst all of this sadness. Peniel of BTOB recently revealed why he has kept his head covered for nearly the past two years. It turns out he has been losing hair for the past five years, and so when it got to be really bad he kept a hat on to cover it. It sounds like it was a joint decision between him and his company, but recently he has kept it covered solely for his company’s sake. Now, finally, he was given permission to reveal his head.

And it’s beautiful. He’s beautiful. The effect that this whole situation had is beautiful. First of all, it’s a relief to know that it was stress-related hair loss and not something more serious. It’s not fun to have your hair fall out, but I am just glad it wasn’t anything worse. I figured he must have been losing hair if he kept shaving his head and covering it, but my mind immediately jumped to cancer, which scared the heck out of me. I am so happy it isn’t something affecting his overall health.

Second, I am just so utterly happy that he doesn’t feel the need to hide his bald head from anyone. Many people are so attached to their hair, and as a celebrity he must have been very self-conscious about losing something so integral to his visual appearance. Having a bald head is uncommon, but it isn’t ugly. I am so happy that he feels comfortable enough to wear his head proudly in an industry so focused on looks, and that everyone around him seems to have positively embraced the change.

Leeteuk Talks Dad and Depression (Source)

It’s hard for me to read this story without crying. At a recent speech Leeteuk gave, he mentioned his father’s suicide and how at the time of the incident, Leeteuk had been suffering from depression. His father, in addition to his own suicide and the murder of both his parents, left Leeteuk with millions of dollars of debt and a suicide note mocking Leeteuk’s success. The original story was tragic, but the addition of the debt and note just makes this even worse.

I have such a soft spot for Leeteuk. He is the leader of my favorite group. He was Super Junior’s leader in an era where people were hesitant about a group having so many members, when K-pop was not known in very many places outside of South Korea. He underwent working at SM before they were under all this scrutiny for treating their artists right, had to continue to lead the group despite members leaving. He was their leader when they became one of the first groups to have members go on hiatus to join the military, then went to join the military himself while developing depression. He has gone through so much, and is still known for spreading laughter and smiles to those around him. He mentioned a couple months ago when he left Sukira that there is not a single part of his body that is not in pain, and now we have part of an understanding of why. He doesn’t MC every event to become more famous or because SM is trying to keep Super Junior relevant. He is doing it because constantly being in the public eye despite all of his struggles is the only way he knows how to pay off this debt given to him.

I don’t know what to say except that I hope he pulls though. I hope others hear this and try to help him out, and give him the benefit of the doubt when he isn’t at his best. I hope he’s okay and can learn to really enjoy life the way he has helped others do so.

Taehyun leaves WINNER and YG (Source)

Unexpectedly, YG dropped the news that Taehyun would formally be leaving YG Entertainment and WINNER. This was after a few weeks of him being on indefinite hiatus from the group. His reason for departure was because of his mental health issues.

It’s sad, yes, but what I am here to talk about is YG’s statement and their attitude toward Taehyun. I don’t know Taehyun. I’m not really a fan of WINNER. So I don’t know as much as a fan would about what exactly went down. However, speaking from the perspective of someone studying to work in the mental health field, I take some issue with YG’s stance on Taehyun’s issues. “It would be difficult for him to continue activities through WINNER.” Okay, that’s fair enough and probably appropriate. If promoting in a K-pop group was too demanding for him, it’s fine for them to agree that he leave the group. The statement goes on, “it’s difficult to say when he will recover and return because it’s a psychological issue he has dealt with since he was young.” I don’t like this. It sounds like they are blaming him for something he was born with. To me this sounds like “he has too many issues for us to deal with, and he’s not getting better any time soon, so we’re kicking him out.”

Then the final part of the message: “We hope that they [Taehyun and WINNER] will be colleagues who support each other’s future individual music activities.” Give me a break. This is not a well wish for Taehyun’s health or career. This is YG politely telling Taehyun that they expect him to continue to support the group he was just kicked out of.

It’s just insensitive. It was an insensitive and unapologetic way of blaming someone for something out of their control. They could have said they realized how much of a burden celebrity life would be for him. They could have wished him luck on his future endeavors. I’m not saying YG should have kept him in WINNER – that’s not my call because I simply don’t know enough about the situation – but rather they should have taken more responsibility and not simply put the blame on Taehyun for being born with an illness. After going through the grilling trainee period, the emotionally draining and ultimately pointless survival show, then membership to a group who debuted for 15 seconds and then disappeared for years, I feel bad for Taehyun for being part of a company that clearly didn’t care much about him as a person.

2NE1 Disbanding (Source)

We all knew this was happening, but it is definitely sad to see it in words. 2NE1 is over. Disbanded. CL and Dara are the only two who renewed their contracts with YG. Honestly, after virtually all of YG’s attention was put on CL and her forever upcoming “US Debut,” and then following Minzy’s departure, I knew it was only a matter of time before we got the official announcement that the group disbanded. It’s still a sad moment in K-pop history. 2NE1 was not just a group; they were an entire era. I may not have been the biggest fan, for reasons I still can’t fully explain, but I cannot deny that they were important. Of all the older groups who have been disbanding these past couple of years, none were as important as 2NE1. If you were a K-pop fan, you knew their name and at least one of their songs. 2NE1 gave us so much, and they will definitely never be forgotten.

It’s just been an all around emotional month for me. All of these things happening in the K-pop world plus my school demands increasing, along with everything going on my country. The entire week following the election, literally the only thing that cheered me up was watching Ken doing PPAP. (No joke though, that really was the highlight of the month for me. I’ve been waiting for him to jump on this trend.)


Question of the Day:

What is your take on the Taehyun issue?


#NowPlaying: Once Again by Mad Clown & Kim Na Young. I’m in the middle of watching Descendents of the Sun, and the moment I heard this song I had to search it up and listen to it fully. The chorus is so pretty, and it’s very different from the other songs in the drama. Ironically, it plays during a lot of the sad scenes, but the song makes me so happy because of how pretty it is.


Wanna talk K-pop? Follow me on Twitter @mystification86!

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