One of the biggest issues that have been raised in K-Pop is the topic of cultural appropriation among idols. 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.”
BABYMONSTER came under fire after two members’ looks during their debut music video were deemed cultural appropriation.
On November 27 (KST), BABYMONSTER finally debuted with their track “BATTER UP.”
Yet, along with the lack of impact netizens thought the song had, many netizens shared their disappointment and anger after seeing that several of the members had looks that were deemed as cultural appropriation.
In the video, netizens noticed that rapper Ruka was wearing a durag in the music video.
For many, the cultural significance of the durag is often forgotten, especially when it comes to incorporating it into popular culture. It is often described as “a cloth band worn around the forehead as a sweatband to keep hair in place.” It is a cloth with origins that date back to the 19th century when slave women used head wraps to keep their hair up and out of the way during labor.
When netizens saw Ruka, they couldn’t hide their anger that YG was once again appropriating culture for their music videos.
first day on the job and the durag is already on😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/GowLQeIUCE
— 갈로르 (@gvlores) November 26, 2023
First day at the job and she is already wearing a knock off durag oh lord… pic.twitter.com/TX68rlcf8X
— ツ (@S00YACUNT) November 26, 2023
starting to think companies do this on purpose. marketing tactic…they know people will speak ab the braids and durag, causes more engagement and conversation. no respect whatsoever and it’s sick. https://t.co/n3vWyYN5EH
— dory 💫 (@doriannamuva) November 26, 2023
If that wasn’t enough, netizens noticed that Chiquita had what seemed like box braids in bright yellow during the music video.
It also gained criticism from fans.
not chiquita wearing box braids in the debut my yikes🤦🏽♀️
— IT’s myi ! (@minjuguide) November 26, 2023
When a TikTok user shared both points, the comments were full of angry netizens calling out YG Entertainment for the continuous cultural appropriation and how they were setting the girls up on their debut.
For many netizens, the common occurrence of cultural appropriation by K-Pop idols is becoming tiring. They believe that it should be compulsory for idols to learn all about cultural appropriation so that steps can be made to ensure that these sorts of issues do not keep happening.