Should A Group With All Non-Korean Members Still Be Considered K-Pop? Netizens Weigh In

Should nationality matter?

With K-Pop gaining global fame, it is only natural that everyone wants a piece of the pie. As groups gain more non-Korean members, with some groups even made up of 100% foreign members, it sparked a debate of whether or not such groups can still be considered K-Pop.

Most groups have one or two foreign members, such as (G)I-DLE’s Minnie and Yuqi. On the other hand, some members could be half-Korean, such as TXT’s HueningKai, and former I.O.I’s Jeon Somi. But what about groups with 100% non-Korean members? BLACKSWAN is a fine example of one such group. They currently have four members who all don’t have a single drop of Korean blood.

L to R: Gabi, Fatou, Nvee, Sriya. The members of BLACKSWAN.

Many netizens agreed that as long as the company was Korean, and the genre they sing is K-Pop, it should be considered a K-Pop group. Another such example brought up was Alexa, although strictly speaking, Alexa is half-Korean.


What about groups such as KAACHI and EXP Edition? In EXP Edition’s case, although all the members are American, they belong to Korean company I’M A BB.

EXP Edition.

Many international fans did not consider EXP Edition K-Pop when they first debuted. On the other hand, KAACHI has a Korean member, CoCo, but the group is not even based in South Korea. They also belong to the company Front Row Records in the UK.

Members of KAACHI.

What should then be the standards of categorization for K-Pop groups? Korean netizens overall came to a consensus that BLACKSWAN for one, was most definitely K-Pop. With the members all singing in Korean, training in Korea, and promoting in Korea, they are undoubtedly a K-Pop group.

Netizen reactions. | theqoo
  • It’s K-Pop.
  • K-Pop is a genre, so they are a K-Pop group. If 50% of the members are non-Korean, would they only be a 50% K-Pop group? K-Pop is a genre, just like hip hop. For hip hop, if other hip hop singers are not black people, it’s not like people just consider them void as hip hop.
  • I also think XG is K-Pop even though they are from Japan. They trained like K-Idols and they adopted our songs and choreography, so it’s K-Pop.
  • We have to separate music by genre… It’s not like hip hop suddenly becomes Korean traditional music just because a Korean does it.
  • K-Pop~
  • They sing in Korean so it’s K-Pop.
  • BLACKSWAN is good at singing. They sing Korean lyrics and their promotions are based here.
  • It’s K-Pop if you sing in Korean and promote here.

What do you think?

Source: Theqoo