Eric Nam CNN Interview
K-Pop and The Fight to End Asian Hate
It’s been well over a year since the COVID-19 Pandemic began, and because of the pandemic it has fueled even more hate toward the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community all because the virus originated in China. It is not talked about a lot up until now when in Atlanta a young white male decided he was having a bad day and chose violence by shooting up three different spas and killing eight innocent people, six of which are Asian. It sparked outrage among the AAPI community, and that outrage grew the call to address the problem that is racism. Among those speaking out were a few K-Pop artists who were shaken by the news and also felt the same sentiment, whether they grew up in this very country or not.
One of the most outspoken K-Pop artists on this particular topic was Eric Nam, who is a native to Atlanta. He put out an article for TIME sharing his frustrations with the current situation and why it’s important that we continue to speak out on the subject of racism and the need to stop all hate. He explains in his article about the AAPI experience and how it “is one fraught with anxiety, trauma and identity crises”. In short, AAPI were used as prime examples to the American population who achieve a higher degree of socioeconomic success. He then goes on to explain that AAPI’s have been through a lot from being fetishized to being murdered. He even adds in his own experience when he was living in Atlanta, and how he didn’t understand what was going on back then to fully understanding what is going on now. He was also interview on CNN about the crimes and he shared his thoughts about the hate crimes toward Asians, once again sharing his frustrations on the topic.
Eric points out in his interview that since last year this is the loudest the AAPI community has ever been and we've all been asking for allies to stand beside us, however, the call was never answered and we've went unnoticed. He then adds "I think it comes from a place of ignorance, from a lack of education, and a lack of discourse, but absolutely myself, as I alluded to in my op-ed piece, there are so many moments where I felt targeted or discriminated against or things that can be casually racist… ‘Is this racist? I’m not sure it is, but I’m not quite sure how to identify it,’ and we’ve never really had that kind of conversation".
He wasn’t the only one to speak out; in fact, several K-Pop artists have answered the call to stop Asian hate. Amber Liu, soloist and former member of f(x), tweeted out how shaken she was by the news and she was "speechless and disgusted". It even prompted her to call her mom out of worry for her safety, especially since Amber is overseas for work. GOT7 members Jay B, Mark, and Jackson have also spoken out on the tragedy and expressed their frustrations toward it on their socials. It doesn’t stop there: CL, Tablo, BM of KARD, Ashley of Ladies’ Code, AleXa, Jay Park, P1Harmony, BTS, and Fatou of Black Swan have also taken to social media to speak out and have even shared a GoFundMe link to a campaign that will donate all donations to many AAPI organizations. All of these artists have spoken out on their platforms to reach their fans to create awareness of the issue at hand because this is part of their life’s work as well as being a huge influence on their fanbase.
It's amazing to see these artists use their platforms to make their voice heard and show that they care. This isn't the first time these artists have spoken out on a social issue before; last year with the uprising of the Black Lives Matter movement with the death of George Floyd, the same artists have also expressed their support toward the movement. In fact, BTS has become such a huge influence on social issues today that they even came forward and spoke at the United Nations. We see each and every artist taking part in charities and helping out in their communities, from coal brick runs to teaming up with UNICEF for a campaign. Joining the fight to end all hate is just another thing worth fighting for.