Cultural Appropriation: 5 Times K-Pop Idols And Korean Celebs Faced Backlash In Recent Years

#5 might surprise you.

A prominent issue in K-Pop is the topic of cultural appropriation amongst idols and various celebrities. The definition of cultural appropriation is “The unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society.” Here are 5 recent moments where Korean celebrities came under fire for cultural appropriation.

1. Hani (EXID)

Fans raised concerns when teaser images for their album X depicted Hani in what fans identified as box braids.

Fans expressed their disapproval and were pleased to see their concerns were being heard when the music video of “Fire” was released and Hani’s braids were blurred out.

As companies hear the concerns of fans and incorporate their feedback, the K-Pop industry can take steps towards eliminating these instances of cultural appropriation.

2. Chan (TO1)

During TO1’s performance at a KCON LA event, the members covered PSY and BTS Suga‘s track “That That.” However, fans were displeased when Chan removed his cowboy hat to reveal a durag.

This is also not the first time Chan has been criticized, as he has previously worn his hair in dreadlocks.

3. Jennie (BLACKPINK)

In a short clip from the trailer of the HBO series “The Idol,” Jennie is seen amongst other members of the cast as a backup dancer. Fans quickly noticed that Jennie was wearing cornrows.

Although Jennie has come under fire for the decision, many netizens believe that the blame should also be placed on the creators of the show.

4. Dancer Jo Nain

Many fans to know Jo Nain through Mnet‘s dance crew survival show Street Dance Girls Fighter. In January, Nain did a photoshoot for Vogue Korea. She wore a few different outfits while wearing box braids.

As comments began pouring into her Instagram photos, she limited those who can post comments on her photos.

5. Kim Jin Young

Single’s Inferno 2 heartthrob Kim Jin Young is receiving criticism for cultural appropriation for his Tribal tattoo sleeve.

Tribal tattoos originate from Indigenous people groups. The popular, modernized “tribal tattoo” style specifically originates from Polynesians, including Maori, Samoans, Tahitian, and Hawaiian traditions.

You can learn more about it below.


Honestly I felt uncomfortable seeing the tribal tattoo. He said the meaning behind his tatoo was being a “Warrior” like bffr #kimjinyoung #singlesinferno #singlesinfernonetflix #tribaltattoo #samoan #filipino #CODSquadUp

♬ But im not seeing my ppl – AUSTIMUS PRIME🔱