Everyone has been talking about NCT Hollywood and why it is such a bad idea. Again, I am in the minority for many reasons. I think the main reason is because I am in the U.S. and I understand the impact it will have on Kpop as a whole but I will go through the reasons that so many people are against it and my response to their ire at something that, again, should be something beautiful.
I Guess I Should Tell You WHAT NCT Hollywood Is
Basically, SM has partnered with MGM to do a reality show (kind of like Korean survivor shows for trainees to fight to become an “idol”) that would have people from the U.S. from the age of about 14 to come to Korea and train as other SM artists had to train before they debuted.
People are extremely mad about this even though this is the only description we really have. We don’t know what role the existing SM artists will have on the show (more exposure), if U.S. artists will be there to mentor the trainees, IF the trainees will only be Asian Americans, etc. We know NOTHING! YET, people are already mad about it. Many of the reasons are based on ignorance and others are just based on delusion. I will go down a few. Oh, I got called a “bigot”. I know the meaning of the word but I literally had to go ahead and look it up in the dictionary because I was (and still am) sure that they used it incorrectly. That child was promptly blocked. I know not to argue with little kids. They know everything and I’ve just been on this earth for 41 years.
“They Don’t Promote the Artists They Have”
I have a question: Where do you think they get all their money from? Merchandising. You don’t have to OVERTLY promote a group to promote a group.
Promoting comes in many forms. Have you looked at YouTube lately? Since COVID, NCT especially, has been ALL over YouTube acting complete fools. They have done vlogs, relay cams, their own little series for each member, etc. But people don’t think this is promotion, why?
They complain that SM doesn’t promote their artists but who is constantly doing photo shoots, walking in fashion shows in Fashion Week, sitting front row at Fashion Week, doing interviews with international magazines, collaborating with fashion/beauty designers, acting in movies, doing variety shows, singing in commercials? These things that you don’t think are promotion ARE forms of promotion.
And the sales soar internationally because people see these men and are like “Wait, who is that?” This is just ONE way that sends many newcomers down a rabbit hole that benefits Kpop PERIODT!
“They’re WESTERNIZING Kpop”
I’m sorry, do you know what Kpop came from? Last I checked, Rap and R&B are from the U.S. What are you doing? Do I really have to explain this? I mean, I can but I really shouldn’t have to explain this.
If you don’t know some of the U.S. groups (I am using U.S. as some people are offended if you say American because we are North American) that Kpop artists emulate, go ahead and look up groups such as Guy, New Edition, Intro, Silk, BoyzIIMen, N*Sync, Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block, Destiny’s Child, EnVogue, SWV, XScape, TLC, Jodeci, Bel Biv DeVoe, Mint Condition, Troop, LeVert, Dru Hill, etc. I mean, we can go even further back to the very people that paved the way for them, shall we?
Well, let’s go back to my era: Hmmmm, Earth, Wind, and Fire, The Whispers, Prince and the Revolution, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, The Isley Brothers, Frankie Beverly and Maze, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The O’Jays, Slave, The Commodores, Cameo, The Supremes, Gladys Knight and the Pips, I can go on and on.
However, Kpop is being Westernized? Are you serious? We MADE those dances your folks are doing. We GAVE you those beats you are dancing to. The AUDACITY! Many of the Kpop artists refer to our artists when they talk about who influenced them. So why exactly are you being selfish and acting like this was ALL Kpop? The only difference is that you’re rapping and singing in a different language. But we been doing this. Don’t disrespect the culture that you took from. RUDE! Do a little bit of research before you literally try to sh*t on a whole country that you gladly used to make your music popular.
Someone who HAD to be a child said that we need to get more groups and emulate Beyonce. I guess they don’t know WHERE Beyonce came from and where her genre came from. Do you know what GROUP she even came from? Oh yeah, Destiny’s Child. What is wrong with you folks?
I’m sorry for my tone here but this is the one that really irks me as an African American woman that GREW UP on R&B, Rap, and Soul. It’s an insult to us to act like this. And the last I checked, our money is money. We spend GOOD money on merchandise for people that rarely even come to our country but we love them anyway. And we will love whoever they choose for their next subunit because….. loyalty and the fact that good music is good music. And I am a whole EXO-L but a MULTI because of SuperM (another SM group that would have been VERY successful had it not been for COVID. I literally saw them in concert 11/2019 and this is HOW I learned about all members and subsequently their groups. This is HOW you get exposure and HOW you promote ALL groups and members).
So many people became fans of each group in SuperM because of SuperM. Many people that were fans of solo artists that were a PART of SuperM became fans of NCT, WayV, EXO, and SHINee. This move benefitted EVERYONE.
“There Are Already 23 Members, Shotaro Doesn’t Get Lines”
SM is very smart. Smarter than people give them credit for. I get that many are mad about there being 23 members already and that their people don’t get “lines”. But guess what: You don’t NEED lines to be popular in a group. I hate the popularity aspect of Kpop but I digress. I also (again) have to remember that these are teenagers and this is their world. They’re likely not even paying to see concerts, buy CDs, etc but they sure do have a lot to say.
Now, again, if you look at the content for NCT, you will easily see that they don’t need lines in a song to become “popular”. They have a “center”. That center is there for a reason. Lucas doesn’t have a ton of lines but I’ll tell you what, that man is beautiful and your eye will be drawn to him. He was also the one I mentioned that walked in Fashion Week.
Johnny is from Chicago. We know who he is. Look at the man. And he has a series on YouTube through NCT’s channel where they pretty much do America’s Next Top Model. Their variety shows also show us who they are as people.
The best thing I think that NCT did (and that no other groups can really do) is the Relay Cam. Relay Cam was when they gave each member the camera to vlog for one hour in one day.
This was how you got to know these men one on one (well, Ten got two hours this year and it was him and the cats and we ate it up). I learned about Xiaojun who actually got his own little NCT show on the channel called The Lonely Master Chef based off his Relay Cam when he made a dang on Oreo cake that tasted nasty according to Ten (they add a new video every Thursday). This is actually how I learned 19 of the 23 members (because some of them still look alike to me, sorry. I am trying).
Before the groups come out with their comebacks, SM is known for doing a variety show for them. NCT Dream did one before their new HIT album just came out called Hot Sauce. This was a chance for the fans to get to know the members more. I am NOT a DreamZen HOWEVER, Jisung and Jaemin are my favorites and that’s just literally from seeing Jisung (he hurt his knee and was doing his little PT) and Jaemin randomly in a video. You don’t need lines when people have eyes.
I will use EXO as an example here. Kai didn’t have a bunch of lines. I mean, he rapped a little in the beginning, but he wasn’t singing. He became known for his DANCING and the mere fact that he is beautiful. I mean, do I have to post Call Me Baby again? Because I will and I have NO problem doing it. He went on to do modeling, acting, and many collabs in the fashion world (and um… I can’t purchase the Gucci line that was launched in frickin Korea but it’s cool. I can’t afford Gucci anyway), and came out with an album that I purchased even though the ONLY CD player I have is in my car.
A child (had to be) was like “Why did they become an ‘idol’ if they can’t get lines?” Had to be a child. Lines don’t get you the money, hun. Ask Teddy Riley from Guy. Shoot, ask R Kelly (he is cancelled but still). You get your MONEY from writing. The guys in the group sometimes have a hand in WRITING the very song that they will then get royalties from. But people don’t see that for some reason. You get paid more for behind the scenes things than actually being the one carrying things out.
Kun is out here writing songs and making whole beats (saw it in Relay Cam). Jisung, Mark, and someone else wrote a few songs on Hot Sauce. But you want to put them in the box of “singer”. Don’t put them in a box. This is just a stepping stone to SO much more for these young men and everyone deserves a chance to show what they have. That isn’t all they are but that’s what you want them to be which isn’t fair. So when you focus on “lines”, you miss who these men are as PEOPLE. And that’s where you mess up.
In the End…..
Before jumping to conclusions, try to look at this objectively. You don’t have to like the U.S. (and I really think that this is where a lot of the ire is coming from but they’re just not SAYING it) but at least give the venture a try. People hated SuperM. HATED it! But they missed what it did for all of the members involved in that group and it did a TON. If you are a fan of one, you’re going to patronize the whole group. So, although I am an EXO-L, guess who got shirts, a lightstick, the whole album, etc.
If you think that SM is greedy, sorry. This is how business works. And if you think that SM doesn’t know how to promote, come to the U.S. Some of this is a bit of a cultural issue as well and I see that. I see that in how so many international fans were SURPRISED that BTS didn’t get a Grammy. Welcome to the U.S. where the only way your music is going to get an award is if a bunch of out of touch people vote that way. We have been complaining about this for many years. LOL I have to laugh. I like BTS but that’s not how it works here.
The only awards you can really win in the U.S. are actually fan picked ones like MTV and Billboard which is based on sales. But that’s a whole different post.
I had to bump my post about enlistment and how rumors can ruin a group because of all the mess about NCT Hollywood.
In the end, just kind of look outside of yourself and give it a chance. If you are a real fan of NCT (NCTzen), then you would support the group as a whole and all their endeavors. That exposure that they will get from airing NCT Hollywood in Korea AND the U.S. is HUGE. HUGE! Just give it a chance.
Again, I am sorry for the tone of this post but people really chewed me out and acted like I was some kind of dummy when I tried to explain how this wasn’t all bad. I get it that SM has a kind of bad reputation when it comes to their groups (yes, I have read about f(x) and I know how people are still mad about Tao, Luhan, and Kris (they lost their lawsuits and are still under SM, let it go)) but sometimes things are learning experiences for all. And the U.S. has a lot of horror stories when it comes to people taking money from artists. Look at TLC and New Edition, so we get it. But these groups still go on to flourish.
This sounds kind of off but just give dang on SM a chance. If they mess this up, then I’ll be wrong. But I would rather be proven wrong than be ignorant in my stance about something that didn’t even happen yet.
Also, watch this video with some other concerns that a YouTuber discussed. I think she understands also as a person of color. Here’s her vid. I love her vids, very well edited, and she’s objective. I like that. And follow her.