Many of you have probably heard of it by now: EXP, the all non-Asian group trying to break into the kpop industry. But are they kpop? What makes something kpop?
EXP are not Korean, they’re not even Asian. To some people that’s enough to say that they’re not kpop. But they are singing in (admittedly pretty bad) Korean. To some, that’s enough to say that they are kpop, and anyone saying that they aren’t are just racist.
Personally, I definitely think singing in Korean is required if you wanna be taken seriously as a kpop act, otherwise you are nothing but a gimmick, and they are doing that, sort of, which I applaud them for. But I am having a hard time accepting that you have to be Asian to be allowed to take part in the kpop industry.
People are saying that this is offensive, that white people just can’t leave anything alone, that Asians can’t make it in the US and therefore it’s only right that non-Asians stay the hell out of the Asian music industry, and I can understand where they’re coming from. But is that the path to progress? Those arguments kind of make it sound like they’ve given up on the very idea that Asians could ever make it in the Western music sphere, which I don’t see as very productive.
I am not completely against the idea of a non-Asian kpop act, if it really did it well. This is apparently a university project, so maybe that’s why this came across as so sloppy. The video is not good, nor the song, and the guys clearly can’t speak Korean well nor dance. So EXP is not the non-Asian act that will change people’s minds, but I’m not closing the door on the possibility that there could be such an act in the future. Mixed-race idols are popping up here and there without it being seen as anything weird, so taking it one more step away from the originally Koreans-only kpop industry shouldn’t be impossible. Clearly though, the fans are not ready. If EXP has showed us anything it’s that kpop fans are NOT ready for a Non-Asian group. But maybe some day.