Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hey, K-POP: WTF??

Too beautiful for K-Pop

This is a story that should piss off any person who cares even remotely about developing healthy self-esteem in teenagers:
Australian-born Sri Lankan singer Shimali De Silva entered a reality show contest in Hong Kong to have a chance at a K-Pop career in Korea. She won. The show organizers flew her to Seoul together with other finalists from around Asia. However, once there, she was told the following: “You’re 14 but you look 30”, she was too dark, she did not have the right curvature of forehead or a good ratio of nose to chin.  She was given a catalogue binder with pictures of alternative eyes, noses and boobs, with a suggestion that she could avail herself to surgical procedures that could alter her appearance. Some of the contestants opted to have work done during the contest. Shimali, however, was emotionally devastated and flew home shortly thereafter. Incidentally, she was the youngest of the contestants.
K-Pop has been a great asset to help Korea and Asia build a hip brand. But the darkest aspect of the industry is the cost that it extracts from its young talent. Likening the K-Pop farm system to a prison camp network is probably going too far (even though I just did it), but turning young, talented and diverse people into the homogenized milk equivalent of popular musicians is a deplorable practice. As the industry matures and grows, one fervently hopes that it expands out beyond the Belieber-esque and Miley Cyrus-esque style to welcome all shapes, sights and sounds. Maybe then, K-Pop might unearth the next Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin or Mick Jagger.
Sample Shimali on YouTube here. And listen to what K-Pop is missing.

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