ITZY’s Lia Apologizes For Alleged Colorist Comments About Chaeryeong

She responded to fans’ criticism.

ITZY‘s Lia recently received criticism over alleged colorist comments toward fellow member Chaeryeong.

ITZY’s Chaeryeong (left) and Lia (right).

Recently, ITZY appeared on the July 19th episode of Kim Shin Young’s Noon Song of Hope. 

There, Chaeryeong revealed that she had considered getting a tan after Ryujin mentioned that she always stands out in thumbnails due to her paleness compared to the other members. Chaeryeong had actually wanted to tan since pre-debut.

Chaeryeong: Actually, I considered getting a tan.

Kim Shin Young: Really?

Yet, Chaeryeong revealed that Lia had discouraged it. And her explanation for why was a bit awkward.

Yeah, but Lia was like, ‘If you do, you’re going to be neither fair nor sexy. You’ll be kind of awkward, in the middle somewhere.’ (Laughs) That’s what she told me to my face!

— Chaeryeong

Lia attempted to explain her reasoning better. Instead, she tried to imply that she believes Chaeryeong is already very pretty.

Lia: I said that because she’s really prett– I meant that Chaeryeong is very fair-skinned, and it really maximizes the unique aura that she has as a person.

Chaeryeong: She told me that, too.

Kim Shin Young: Good that she explained that, too.

Chaeryeong: Yeah, so I appreciated that. Now [that I think about it], I’m grateful about it.

Still, netizens found Lia’s words to be problematic and allegedly colorist. “…neither fair nor sexy. You’ll be kind of awkward, in the middle somewhere” can be interpreted negatively. Some may believe that she is saying that fair and tanned are both attractive, respectively, but in-between complexions are less attractive.

For context, in Korea, tanned skin is often associated with sexiness. Idols such as MAMAMOO‘s Hwasa, Lee Hyori, GirlsGeneration‘s Yuri, and Jessi are just a few examples.

Lee Hyori | Harper’s Bazaar

Another interpretation could just be that naturally fair or pale people struggle to tan, which may result in an uneven or “awkward” tan.

So, basically, for Chaeryeong, there may be no point in an attempt of tanning, as she wouldn’t be either fair-skinned or tan-skinned.

And Lia’s additional statement on the radio show, “I said that because she’s really prett–” may imply that “fair-skinned” and “pretty” are synonymous. Yet, Lia had stopped herself before finishing this statement to clarify. Lia’s clarification may have been worded poorly. So, we can also see that she meant to say that Chaeryeong is already beautiful naturally and doesn’t need to change anything about herself.

Still, idols are also consistently whitewashed by media and some of their fansites. Let alone even social media apps automatically lighten one’s complexion.

No matter what, any form of colorism is not okay, and the only way there will be progress towards the issue is through education. So, recently, MIDZY (ITZY fans) spoke to Lia via a video fanmeeting.

| @cutiesjisu/Twitter

Lia revealed that she was unaware of the controversy surrounding her comments but was concerned when it was brought to her attention. She clarified that she had not intended for the comments to be colorist. Still, she apologized sincerely, realizing it may have negatively impacted others.

First of all, I’m not really sure about this issue at the moment, but if that’s what people understood, I’m so sorry for that, and that was my mistake. That was definitely not my intention. So, I don’t want any more people to get hurt.

— Lia

| @cutiesjisu/Twitter

Additionally, she implied that she would self-reflect and educate herself while also thanking the MIDZY for informing her regarding the issue.

And I think that’s something I need to do… take more time and kind of maybe have a chance to speak out again. Thank you for letting me know.

— Lia


This isn’t the first time an idol received criticism for allegedly colorist comments about a fellow group member.

Earlier this year, BoA and aespa‘s Karina were under fire for allegedly making colorist comments toward Girls’ Generation’s Hyoyeon.

Likewise, despite being confident in his appearance, NCT‘s Haechan has been the subject of allegedly colorist comments even from his own members.

Watch Lia’s full apology below:

Source: @cutiesjisu