Fact Check: Were NewJeans And IVE Given Black Oceans At The “2023 Melon Music Awards?”

Black oceans are usually done as a protest.

On December 2, the 2023 Melon Music Awards took place, honoring many K-Pop groups and allowing them to shine on stage.

| Melon

This should have been a very happy event, but something stood out to fans of certain groups. During IVE and NewJeans‘ award acceptances, some fans noticed very few lightsticks lit in the crowd, giving the appearance of the groups receiving black oceans.


But is this actually the case?

Usually, at multi-group events, a variety of fans will be present, and regardless of who they “stan,” they will usually hold up their lightsticks out of politeness when other groups are performing.

However, in the past, there have been times when audiences created a “black ocean” by turning their lightsticks off, leaving the group performing in an almost entirely dark venue. This is done as a sign of protest, like when fans protested Jisoo‘s addition to Lovelyz at the 2015 Pepsi Concert.

The most recent attempt was of Rain at KCON LA 2023, as many were upset over his treatment of groups.

Fact Check: Did Rain Really Receive A Black Ocean And Get Booed At “KCON LA 2023?”

To receive a black ocean is a very serious thing, so it is understandable why fans would be upset for this sort of thing to happen. Some blamed the fans of boy groups attending the event for not showing support, while others wondered why this would happen to such well-loved groups.

As it turns out, these girl groups did not receive black oceans technically.

From the angle of the images, it is easy to assume that the groups were being shown disrespect by fans of other groups. However, others pointed out that different idol groups, including male idols, also did not have a large showing of lightsticks at certain moments either.

It seems like during award acceptances, fans lowered their lightsticks as others opted to film groups accepting their awards. The same can be said about performances: in the fan cam of NewJeans’s Hanni below, lit lightsticks from other groups can be seen in the background as those on the floor hold up their cameras to film.

The same can be seen in this fan cam of NCT‘s Jaemin and Jeno.

Thankfully, it seems like this was just an understandable misunderstanding!