MAMAMOO has come under serious fire both from international fans and Korean fans for a video involving blackface. The group and their agency have now apologized for their actions.
Fans first discovered the four-member girl group had been involved in a racist video involving blackface after a photo spread online. The photo was a screenshot from a video that played from their recent concert, currently being held in Seoul.
In the video, the girls are seen dressed up as Bruno Mars and his backup dancers in an attempt to look like them. They are wearing blackface makeup in the video with costumes on in a misguided attempt to portray the men.
Koreaboo spoke exclusively with MAMAMOO and their agency, RBW, Inc., in order to receive an explanation for the incident.
In our conversations, both the agency and girls were extremely horrified to find out how offensive their video was. They showed clear remorse when educated on the cultural significance and origins of blackface.
“We are extremely sorry for our insensitive actions and use of blackface in our video while portraying Bruno Mars. There is no excuse for what we did and there are not enough words to explain how regretful we are. We are heartbroken to have hurt our international K-Pop fans so deeply.
We love and care so much for all people of every color, race, sexuality, religion, and gender. We love all our fans and are so sorry to have hurt our fans in the black community.
We understand now why our actions were wrong and we never meant to do harm with our video. We were extremely ignorant of blackface and did not understand the implications of our actions.
We will be taking time to understand more about our international fans to ensure this never happens again. We hope that you will help to educate us on these and other issues so that we can become better people and better artists.
Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention and allowing us to right the wrongs that we have done.”
We spoke to their CEO, management, and the members of the group to explain how extremely offensive blackface is. Throughout the conversations, not a single person from their side attempted to make excuses for their actions.
RBW, Inc. confirmed to Koreaboo that they will be immediately removing all instances of blackface from the upcoming concert shows. MAMAMOO and RBW, Inc will be personally making apologies to the public, their fans, as well as the international black community.
“We are sincerely sorry for allowing such a video to be created. It showed an extreme lack of judgement and cultural sensitivity on the part of our team. RBW, Inc. will be working with Koreaboo to educate ourselves more on cultural sensitivity and the struggles that the black community and various other POC communities have undergone and continue to go through.
We will work hard to ensure that these mistakes do not happen again and that we hold ourselves accountable to higher standards. We value the international fandom greatly and would never wish to alienate any of our fans.
We are sorry to MAMAMOO and their fans for allowing this to happen and will work harder in the future as a company that represents K-Pop internationally.”
— RBW, Inc.
While the excuse of ignorance is becoming harder for many in the black K-Pop fan community to accept, it’s extremely important to have the patience to educate those who are ignorant.
Fans should not defend their artists when incidents such as this occur, using excuses and strawman arguments to explain their behavior. Racism is wrong, intended or unintended. Blackface is wrong, regardless of the intent and agenda behind the actions. It can be more wrong with hatred and malice behind it, but wrong is still wrong.
Koreaboo will continue to educate companies and their artists on cultural and racial sensitivity if issues such as these continue to persist. We will work hard to ensure that companies understand when they are wrong, apologize, and take appropriate steps to ensure they do not happen again.
We hope our readers will continue to help us in our goals to make K-Pop more international as well.