New K-Pop Girl Group: Black Swan
By Rachael Lovette
A new K-pop group, originally known as Rania was rebranded as Black Swan on June 26. Taking the music industry by storm this group released their first full album, Goodbye Rania on October 16. With the rebranding of the group also came a replacement for Yijo, the new member, Fatou. Fatou is the second black member of a K-pop group. While taking big strides to include diversity within the K-pop music world many have questioned the motives behind assigning Fatou to the new K-pop position. Yes, Fatou is more than qualified for the position within the group. She adds her insane rapping skills to the group’s new album and she has no problems keeping up with the group’s choreography. But many are taking offense to the new name for the K-pop group.
The name change for the group has brought forth a very concerning issue. It is no coincidence that the new name for the group is called Black Swan. To me, it seems as though they are using Fatou’s ethnicity to help promote the new group and increase sales by capitalizing on her blackness. This is a problem because by capitalizing on the color of Fatou’s skin Black Swan is exoticizing her. Instead of recognizing her for the skills that she has to offer, they are focusing on her skin color using her as more of an accessory to the group than an actual member. In the performance of their new song, “tonight”, Fatou is seen dancing at the back of the group’s formation for the majority of the song. Also, she is given solo parts in the song that are essentially just talking parts, and a small rapping part. This is further proof that her talent and skills are not being noticed.
Black Swan is just another example of how far our society still has to go in achieving equality for everyone. The fact that the K-pop group is allowed to exoticize a black woman, and capitalize on her is nauseating. Yes, it is awesome that the K-pop world is involving different ethnicities, but it is also very sad that something that should be normal is celebrated to such a great extent that they chose to name an entire group after the black member’s blackness. Our world should not have to celebrate diversity, it should just be a given. These small celebrations over diversity have been going on for way too long and it seems as though companies take advantage of diversifying by publicizing it. It’s almost like if you were to pat yourself on the back for waking up in the morning and then share your success with everyone you encounter. If you were to share with others that you woke up that morning they would roll their eyes and walk away. Perhaps they might even question your sanity for expecting praise for doing such a simple task. If this is the way that people would respond to your accomplishment of a simple task, why should they behave any differently for diversifying a small niche in our world?
In addition to Black Swan’s questionable name change, one of the other new members of the group, Hyeme was recently involved in a scandal. A man who remains unnamed claims that Hyeme scammed him out of roughly fifty million KRW. He loaned Hyeme money along with paying her rent, living expenses, and credit card bills believing that she would pay him back after she became successful. However, Hyeme did not pay him back, and now he threatens to charge her with fraud if she does not pay up. Black Swan’s agency responded by filing a counter lawsuit claiming that the man’s allegations are false. This is yet another questionable act performed by Black Swan. Regardless of the side that you take, the fact that Black Swan chose to involve themselves in the scandal does not say much for them. They got involved in something that could have been easily solved by Hyeme independently, but instead, they are choosing to accuse a man of lying. Because of the way that Black Swan chose to handle this scandal and the way that they are using Fatou for selfish means, I will not be supporting them or listening to their music.