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BTS, Dynamite Dance Culture, and Asians in America

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Photo sources: Yonhap News Agency, Bergen Record

It was at a convenience shop when I first heard Dynamite. On reflex, my foot began to lightly tap the floor while it plays as I checked the product label I was holding. I got distracted. I realized that it was the much-talked-about Dynamite song everyone was raving about worldwide. Back then I came to know why. It was catchy that I got into its net!

After that, I saw BTS’s appearances on my favorite program, The Tonight Show Starring JimmyFallon. I am not yet a K-pop fan. I’m only a big K-drama follower. But I must admit that Dynamite is a possible gateway towards that direction. I keep playing Dynamite every day. If only Alexa could complain, it would hate me for asking to play the song many times a day. Dynamite has become a staple in my dance workouts, too. I’ve discovered there are too many YouTube instructional videos of Dynamite choreography; not to mention TikTok’s overwhelming content about Dynamite created by different users.

With the group’s meteoric rise, assets in billion dollars, international accolades, and achievements, BTS has truly paved the way for an overhauled dance culture in an otherwise Western-dominated industry. (I’m not even speaking of Blackpink yet.) Google BTS and you will be led to tons of information on the success attached to their name.

But with this uplifting progress for Asian talents, we’ve seen and heard racist commentaries connecting BTS and blaming other Asians in general for the emergence and rise of COVID-19 cases. Worst of all, an incident, too serious to be ignored, happened when a group of Asians was killed in an outrageous attack recently in Georgia. Not all Asians are Chinese. And even if every Asian in the U.S. is Chinese, nobody deserved that.

It was not long ago that black people were the target. Now it is Asians. What is happening in the world? Is hate truly more empowering than kindness? I am not even saying “love” because you can be kind without love. Kindness is basic. I will not go to etymologies and euphemisms. Let’s admit that prejudice is everywhere. Even your people can be biased. Apart from skin color, others gauge us by money, accent, profession, and many other standards. But our biases should not lead us to hate that would eventually lead us to kill. Our biases should be overpowered by our humanness the basic components of which are logic, and civility, if not respect. Now I can honestly say that it’s not just black lives, but Asian lives matter as well, most especially in America.

On a positive note, proving that not all whites are biased against Asians, some personalities and influencers in the U.S. expressed support for the anti-Asian sentiments and love for BTS. I strongly agree that the majority of white Americans have not become insecure that the music scene has been overtaken, temporarily or otherwise, by extraordinary talented Asians from the East. I pity those whose worldview has been poisoned by their self-centered supremacist ideals. It’s just sad that BTS had to be that icon to bear the brunt. They’re supposed to only entertain the world through their excellent musicology. But they’ve become the dartboard of this anti-Asian virus that’s plaguing the U.S. Apart from redefining dance culture, if disentangling from this hate culture means singing, dancing, and speaking with Asian pride, then so be it, BTS. Continue to mobilize your ARMY!

#StopAsianHate #StopTheHate #AsianLivesMatter

(My article is quite serious. So here's a light video to add to your YouTube "likes": The Roots and BTS performing Dynamite. Tell me what you think of the issue by commenting below.)

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PinoySeoul.com: BTS, Dynamite Dance Culture, and Asians in America
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