Some may say that the world is becoming more progressive, others who are of minority groups may have a differing of opinion, especially those in the LGBTIQ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer). Often thought of as one of the more conservative countries of Asia, Korea’s LGBTIQ community is starting to change, year by year becoming more visible and more vocal. This week the first out openly gay male k-pop star made his debut.
A few years ago, there was a TV drama called “The Lover” that was about three different relationships, one of which highlighted a same-sex attracted couple (featuring Takuya from Cross-gene). From my known memory, this seems to be the only mainstream Korean drama to do so. On January 1st 2017, a k-pop group called Varsity made their debut. What was interesting about that was that they become very famous very quickly as one of the groups members were openly muslim! I know. Muslim. It was all over the news, locals were interested as he followed a religion that wasn’t Buddhism or Christianity. Christian values are strong still today in Korea, often making it a challenging thing for LGBTI youth, or young people of diverse religious backgrounds to be open or proud of who they are. Is this a sign of things to come.
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Holland can give thanks for his debut to alt-R&B artist MRSHLL, who came out before releasing his first music last year, you can read about the musician here. Since the videos release on Jan 21, its clocked up more than 3.3 million views and enjoyed over 70,000 comments, most of which we are thankful to say are supporting of his work and his brave venture into the industry.
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Now, to delve into his song itself, titled Neverland (hold up, its not U-kiss you old school Kpop fan you!), the song has a slower beat that puts you into a dreamy state of mind. Its cool, calm and sophisticated. Just in time for those of us in the southern hemisphere, it's the perfect song to chillax to during a long, hot summer, but we’re confident those literally chillin’ up north will be just as content. Perhaps breaking down stereotypes, his voice is deep and ‘manly,’ in a very soothing way. We love what we see so far Holland and there are plenty of reasons for you to be our new bias!
Written by: Siobhan Stollznow
Diversity is our thing at Asian Pop Radio and that’s one of the reasons why we were excited to interview Soju Love!
Soju is a Korean drag queen based in Chicago, USA, who has just released a super sweet and super juicy debut track “So Juicy”! It’s a fun and catchy bubblegum pop song that has a slight nod to the older style of K-Pop music like Girls Generation and f(x). The single is available on all digital platforms, and will be accompanied by a music video very soon!
In the podcast, Jhube talks to Soju about the highlights from her career. From (still) being a baby drag queen to being asked to fly to New York and report on one of the biggest drag events in the world RuPaul’s DragCon, she is still as humble as ever! You can tell she loves the art of drag and loves all of her fans that support her in everything she does.
You can watch Soju on her YouTube channel where she interviews many talented artists on her show “Shot With Soju”. She self describes herself as "the Connie Chung of drag" but she’s totally Oprah Winfrey! What do you guys think?