In light of recent Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests instituted in the USA following the gruesome killing of George Floyd, K-pop (Korean pop) fans across the world have joined forces on social media to protect protestors. The popular, internet-dominating K-pop fans, who have a global outreach and meticulous organizing capabilities, flooded racist hashtags and police websites with fancams in vast numbers.
Image Via Unsplash
Fancams are short closeup clips filmed by the fans during a live performance of a K-pop artist, or any fan-made edits from pre-existing K-pop footage. Prior to this political involvement, fancams often swamped every viral thread or popular topics by fervent fans, making it a bane for other Twitter users.
After George Floyd, an African-American man was mercilessly killed in police custody by an officer of the Minneapolis Police Department, a worldwide protest broke out against the police brutality on black people. Thousands of people took to the streets every day since then, to condemn this racist act of violence.
— Dallas Police Dept (@DallasPD) May 31, 2020
The Dallas Police Department requested their Twitter followers to submit a “video of illegal activity from the protests” on their app – iWatch. K-pop fans inundated the app immediately with fancams to make the sifting of submissions laborious. Within twenty-four hours, the Dallas PD reported the app as temporarily defunct, believably due to the influx of fancams. A similar strategy was used to effectively bring down hashtags and online portals of Grand Rapids, Michigan Police Force, and the FBI, by submitting fancams, along with footage of officers physically assaulting the demonstrators, shooting rubber bullets, and firing tear gas during the protest.
Fans hijacked racist hashtags such as #WhiteLivesMatter, #BlueLivesMatter, #AllLivesMatter, #MAGA (Make America Great Again), #WhiteOutWednesday started by white supremacists to derail from Black Lives Matter protests. They took over the hashtags with fancams, memes, photos of their favorite K-pop artists to drown any racial slurs posted on the tag, in an attempt to prevent it from reaching the bigots.
우리는 인종차별에 반대합니다.
우리는 폭력에 반대합니다.
나, 당신, 우리 모두는 존중받을 권리가 있습니다. 함께 하겠습니다.
We stand against racial discrimination.
We condemn violence.
You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.#BlackLivesMatter
— 방탄소년단 (@BTS_twt) June 4, 2020
The power of the K-pop fandom was not limited to the fancams alone. World-famous boy-band BTS tweeted their condemnation of racial discrimination in the US and reportedly donated USD 1 million to fund the bail amount for arrested protestors. In a few days, BTS fans – popularly known as ARMYs – created a campaign called MatchAMillion, raised more than USD 2 million, and split the fund to different organizations or allocate to a specific organization. Kailee Scales, managing director for Black Lives Matter said, “Black people all over the world are in pain at this moment from the trauma of centuries of oppression. We are moved by the generosity of BTS and allies all over the world who stand in solidarity in the fight for Black lives.”
In 2019, more than 6 billion tweets were about K-pop. The worldwide fan-base has the ability to digitally organize, untie, and popularize their favorite K-pop artists. Their service to support the BLM protests proves that their platform is also used for social and political activism.
Featured Image Via Canva