Indigenous ARMY slam cultural appropriation over tepee in BTS Jungkook's merch promo

HYBE is promoting Jungkook's merch by using a tepee as an aesthetic prop

                            Indigenous ARMY slam cultural appropriation over tepee in BTS Jungkook's merch promo
Jungkook's self-designed merch consists of a mood lamp with a Bluetooth speaker (@bts.bighitofficial/Instagram, @HYBE_MERCH/Twitter)

ARMY have been excited since the beginning of the new year when HYBE shared that not only would we be getting new merch from BTS, they would be self-designed by the members themselves. We have gotten the likes of Jimin’s purple hoodie and Jin’s adorable pajama set. They also seem to be in high demand that even when restocked they get sold out in seconds. The ‘Artist-Made Collection’ is being released individually with Jungkook being the last member to drop his self-designed merch.

Jungkook is set to release his merch line on January 24. But before that, we have been getting a lot of promotional content like teasers, clips and product images. ARMY loved his ‘ARMYST zip-up hoodie’ which comes in four colors and the ‘Mikrokosmos mood lamp’ which creates a holographic space on the ceiling. The lamp is also a Bluetooth speaker voiced by Jungkook himself. The name also comes from BTS’ 2019 song ‘Mikrokosmos’. However, HYBE is being slammed by Indigenous ARMY for the way they have promoted the mood lamp.

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HYBE uses a tepee to promote Jungkook's merch

BTS fans claim that the way HYBE has promoted Jungkook’s mood lamp is cultural appropriation. They have placed the mood lamp under a tent to give a camping vibe. But Native Americans have shared that it is not just a tent but a tepee aka tipi. It has been invented by some Indigenous tribes of North America and is still used by many to this day as living accommodation. However, it also has a stereotypical negative connotation as colonizers deemed it as one of the factors for labeling Native Americans as barbaric and uncivilized.


'Stop ignoring Native American fans'

While some international fans don’t understand why HYBE is being slammed for using a tepee, one Native American fan shared, “I love BTS.. but all I’m saying is they knocked our tipi’s down at Standing Rock and set them a-flame while we were forced to watch..” Another ARMY added, “Stop using teepees and things from other indigenous cultures as props. tipis are not tents and they're not decoration. stop ignoring native american fans and stop culturally appropriating.” One fan tweeted, “This merch product looks amazing but it’s so disappointing to see the cultural appropriation of plains Indigenous Cultures with the inclusion of a tipi. Tipis are sacred and not to be used by Non-Indigenous peoples, especially not for an ad.”

Another commented, “Um- why are you using Tipis for aesthetic purposes? could you please listen to the upset indigenous ARMY and learn about why this isn’t okay?” One fan felt that fans should educate instead of bashing HYBE, “… It makes it seemed that instead of being happy, and I’m not saying to be happy that teepees are being used on a promotional advertisement, should contact them and let them know what a better use they can do pointing out the meaningful side & importance of these. Not just bash.”