BoA, aespa fans say colorist remark was mistranslation, K-pop Twitter doesn't buy it

Fans say that BoA was using a Korean idiom that refers to an active kid who gets tanned while playing under the sun


                            BoA, aespa fans say colorist remark was mistranslation, K-pop Twitter doesn't buy it
BoA and aespa's Karina are embroiled in a colorist controversy (@GirlsOnTop_SM/Twitter)
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It looks like GOT the beat (Girls On Top) is off to a rocky start. The project group first turned heads for their iconic lineup as it consisted of BoA, Girls’ Generation, Red Velvet, and aespa members. After the success of SuperM, SM wanted to create a female version of the ‘Avengers of K-pop’. Unfortunately, they were first slammed for their childish lyrics as the girls fight over a man in their debut single ‘Step Back’. The internet was then shocked that the girl group full of talented vocalists were lip-syncing instead of singing live. And now, two of the members are being criticized for allegedly being colorists.

On February 12, a behind-the-scenes clip of Girls’ Generation’s Hyoyeon, BoA, and aespa’s Karina started making the rounds on K-pop Twitter. While talking about the first impressions of each other in just five syllables, BoA’s words about Hyoyeon shocked many as she allegedly said, “She was very tanned.” Hyoyeon laughs and asks, “Why was I so tanned?” while Karina claps while laughing. POC (people of color) fans were offended as they called out BoA for being a colorist and Karina for laughing at the joke. Well, since the past two days, BoA and aespa fans have been trying to protect their idols with the latest defense being that there was a mistranslation.

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Was it a mistranslation?

BoA and aespa fans tried to clear the misunderstandings. One fan shared that there was a tanning craze in the 90s and Koreans used the words which BoA used, “까맣게 탔다” to refer to that trend that Hyoyeon had partaken in. Another Korean fan claimed that it was also an idiom for an active kid who has so much fun under the sun that they get tanned. However, K-pop Twitter isn’t buying these explanations. Many users shared that even if it was a mistranslation, BoA was joking about having a darker skin color which was still colorist.

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While fans are using ‘Korean culture’ to support their argument, international users have pointed out how, unfortunately, a majority of South Korea has a colorist mindset as visible from the Netflix Korean dating show ‘Single’s Inferno’ where the contestants focused on their ideal type being someone with fair or pale skin. Several K-pop idols and celebrities in the past have also often commented on skin color. When international fans showed their indignation, a Korean YouTuber asked passers-by who shared that Koreans did not think colorist remarks were problematic and realized the gravity only after they were educated about it.

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'Apologize to BoA and Karina'

We first had BoA and aespa fans making tweets like, “I keep defending BoA from antis since the video of mistranslating her words came out & now you guys are gonna come out and apologize. Before making this kind of issue again think before you speak!” Another added, “Three reasons why you should apologize to boa and karina!” One user complied, “To the fans of aespa and boa abroad We are really sorry about what happened. We just want to apologize because we don't want them to be criticized any more. I want them to keep it as a lesson in things they shouldn't do. Now we know that we were wrong.” 

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Another fan said, “Am sorry Karina and Boa 😭  I was wrong, I was wrong for not thinking carefully before judging. I'm sorry.” One user simply said, “Asians don't mind being judged by their skin color. Mind your own business.” Another fan tried to explain why the girls were laughing, “I don’t think the laughter was aimed at the statement. The way the syllable fits into the statement was what made them laugh. The video used on tiktok/Twitter was cut out and zoomed out so it didn’t show the context and premise of the game.”

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'Stop defending them'

However, a majority of K-pop Twitter aren’t having it, “Calling someone dark/tan and then laugh. It’s not culture. Stop defending them by saying it’s culture. It make you look disgusting.” Another user addressed the mistranslation argument, “It seems like she didn’t mean it in a negative or insulting way, but she should not have said that. be more careful about how they speak on skin tones bc obviously to everyone who isn’t korean it seems like they were laughing at ppl with darker skin. getting tanned isn’t humorous.” One hurt fan shared, “Like i’m someone who experiences colorism on a DAILY. you not gon call me narrowminded for holding boa and karina accountable.” 

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Another pointed out how Karina being anti-bullying had nothing to do with laughing about colorism, “Stan twitter needs to stop putting idols on pedestals for being decent human beings.” One user said, “Understand korean and Korean culture literally stfu 😭 i know that Korean culture loves to make fun of folks skin color that’s for sure. You don’t have to accept every little thing BoA does, to be a real fan.” Another user commented, “Yea nah this isn’t it. Y’all are equating holding idols accountable with being an anti/sending hate. Stop coming up with excuses and jumping through loopholes trying to justify her behavior, and instead just recognize that she said something she shouldn’t have.”

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This article contains remarks made on the Internet by individual people and organizations. MEAWW cannot confirm them independently and does not support claims or opinions being made online.

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