Korea is known for being a homogenous society (where the population shares similar cultural, ethnic, linguistic, or religious characteristics). K-Pop is finding a way to break down the culture as more foreign idols from different backgrounds debut, including BLACKSWAN made up of all foreign members.
Yet, with many Koreans not being exposed to other cultures that often, it can sometimes create controversy from lack of education.
Recently, an episode of I Live Alone saw SHINee‘s Key go to visit his friend, famous French-Senegalese choreographer Kany. She has worked on so many of Key’s solo songs and SHINee’s songs. The bond between the two was undeniable from the minute Kany opened the door.
At one point, Key goes into Kany’s room, and she shows him some of her wigs.
Kany shocks Key and the panel by showing off her most expensive wig, explaining that it costs so much because it is made of real hair.
Key then tried it on.
Yet, one part of the video caught the attention of netizens. Before Key tried on the wig and was shown them, host Jun Hyun Moo described Kany’s hairstyle as “reggae,” which Key then repeated.
When a video was posted about it, it gained attention.
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♬ original sound – Shanibella
While it was seemingly not said in a malicious way, it wasn’t surprising that many netizens called the hosts out for being “ignorant.” In particular, many pointed out that it seems like Koreans see anything from Black culture and just associate it with stereotypes like reggae or hip hop.
Yet, others tried to defend the hosts by explaining that it wasn’t meant offensively, citing different reasons. Some included the fact that for many Koreans, reggae was their introduction to the kind of hair, and others added that there might not be a Korean word to describe it in any other way.
For many fans, it’s the lack of education and generalizing stereotypes that are a cause for concern, as it just comes across as being ignorant and being unable to learn about a culture.