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Donny — Art and Symbolism in BTS's Blood Sweat & Tears

In elke klas zitten tegenwoordig wel een of twee liefhebbers van de in de jaren 90 in Zuid-Korea ontstane K-pop (Korea Pop). De meeste liedjes zijn in het Koreaans, maar steeds meer artiesten (zoals BTS) brengen ook Engelstalige nummers uit. K-pop kwam in 2018 in Nederland bij het grote publiek iets meer in het vizier toen de Ziggo Dome in een mum van tijd was uitverkocht voor het concert van de jongens van BTS (Bangstan boys). De lange rijen van veel jonge meiden verraste de journalisten, maar ook meidengroepen als RedVelvet en Blackpink zijn mateloos populair.

Blood, Sweat & Tears
De K-Pop komt op mij teveel over als een zorgvuldig uitgedachte commerciële hitmachine waarin de diepgang ver te zoeken is. Maar het de moeite waard om net iets verder te kijken of wat langer te luisteren. Fans wezen mij in het afgelopen jaar op diverse songs van de BTS idols die wel degelijk een tandje dieper gaan. Neem het nummer ‘Blood, sweat & tears‘ van BTS, waarin het boek ‘Demian’ uit 1919 van auteur Herman Hess, bijbelfragmenten (check voor Bijbelverwijzingen trouwens ook de song ‘On‘) en de gedachten van de filosoof Nietzsche bij elkaar komen in een song over identiteitsvorming. Check deze video met een uitgebreide uitleg over de verwijzingen in de videoclip.

Fans stuurden me verder songs door over vrouwenemancipatie (21 Century Girl), mentale gezondheid (The Last) en de rechten van het kind (Love myself campaign). Inmiddels hebben de heren van BTS al twee keer gesproken tijdens een meeting van de Verenigde Naties (2018 en 2021).

The Army
Alleen BTS heeft via Instagram al 40 miljoen volgers, deze fans gaan door het leven als the army. DIt leger mobiliseert zich regelmatig via de socials, zo heeft de K-pop scene de Black Lives Matters beweging online echt een ‘boost’ gegeven. K-pop fans weten wat het is om gediscrimineerd te worden. Veel liefhebbers zijn onderdeel van de LHBTQI+ community, daarnaast hebben veel Aziatische jongeren (ook in Nederland) te maken met racisme en dan zijn er nog de vooroordelen richting de K-pop muziek zelf.


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